While its surrounding countryside may be internationally known for winemaking, the city of San Francisco is renowned for its craft beers. The best-known local product is so-called steam beer, a lager-bitter hybrid invented when early local brewers, finding the ice needed for lager production too expensive, instead fermented their yeast at room temperature like
an ale. The result was a beer with the lower ABV of lager but the hearty flavour of bitter. (The precise origin of the odd name, unfortunately, has never been established.) To find out more, take one of the engaging, free one-hour-thirty-minute tours at Anchor Brewing, 1705 Mariposa St at Carolina, Potrero Hill (weekday afternoons only; reservations essential), whose namesake product is a local treasure and universally available at bars and stores.

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