Anchor Brewing’s new Baykeeper’s IPA helps to support a cleaner San Francisco Bay

The day on the bay was also an opportunity to showcase the new Baykeeper IPA

Anchor Brewing Co. created the Baykeeper IPA to draw attention to Baykeeper San Francisco and the work it does to help keep the San Francisco Bay clean. (Erin Conger/Special to S.F. Examiner)

On a cool, overcast morning at Pier 1.5, we joined San Francisco Baykeeper Executive Director Sejal Choksi-Chugh and volunteer skipper Matt Stromberg aboard a Baykeeper patrol boat to get an up-close look at the work that the non-profit does to help keep the San Francisco Bay clean.

The group has worked diligently for the past 30 years to keep the San Francisco Bay as pristine as possible. “We’re the eyes and ears on the water,” is how Choksi-Chugh put it.

The day on the bay was also an opportunity to showcase the new Baykeeper IPA, a collaborative brew produced by Anchor Brewing Company to support efforts for a cleaner bay.

Baykeeper Executive Director Sejal Choksi-Chugh with volunteer skipper aboard the San Francisco Baykeeper patrol boat. (Erin Conger/Special to S.F. Examiner)

The San Francisco Bay is one of the most defining features of our region. Aside from being one of California’s most important ecosystems, we rely upon it for commerce, recreation and its alluring beauty that makes the Bay Area a desirable place to live and visit. An artist friend once described the shades of blue that exist on the SF Bay as unique to anywhere else in the world.

But it faces, on a daily basis, human-created pollution.

We cruised to the Point Richmond area where San Francisco Baykeeper worked through the courts to regulate companies that were violating the law and observed abandoned boats in Richardson Bay near Sausalito that become havens for garbage and other pollutants that eventually end up in the water.

Baykeeper Executive Director Sejal Choksi-Chugh with can of Baykeeper IPA. (Erin Conger/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Since joining San Francisco Baykeeper 18 years ago as a legal fellow, Choksi-Chugh has directed her passion and dedicated a career for a cleaner and safer San Francisco Bay. Her role at Baykeeper gives her a permanent seat on the Waterkeeper Council of the growing Waterkeeper Alliance, a global organization that “works to ensure that every community worldwide has the right to drinkable, fishable and swimmable water.”

In a stronger position, San Francisco Baykeeper continues to provide successful legal challenges and advocacy for policy development to enforce the Federal Clean Water Act.

Touting a “Drink beer, help the local waterways!” motto, Anchor Brewing Company, producers of the legendary Anchor Steam, is celebrating the 30th Anniversary of San Francisco Baykeeper with the release of Baykeeper IPA, which recently debuted in 12 oz cans with an exclusive hand-painted label by watercolor artist Jenna Rainey.

Anchor Brewing’s Baykeeper IPA goes for a ride aboard the Baykeeper patrol boat (Erin Conger/Special to S.F. Examiner)

The beauty of this collaboration is that it becomes one San Francisco icon supporting another. “Anchor earned its name in the late 1800s because of the historical maritime influence on the city. We have the San Francisco Bay to thank for many things,” said Scott Ungermann, Brewmaster at Anchor Brewing Company. “We put a strong ABV to Baykeeper IPA while still maintaining its crisp drinkability, making it the perfect drink for celebrating this fierce nonprofit while having a good time enjoying the Bay.”

A first glance at the beer in the glass reveals a brilliant golden color, but the San Francisco- style IPA also has a sweetness on the palate that complements and balances the traditional bitterness. Four different hops were dry-hopped during the brewing process which amplifies the fruity, spice elements and aroma.

While good hops are essential, experts agree that the key to a great beer is finding the right malt and yeast combination that releases the hop’s best character. In this case, Anchor turned to one of the best, Admiral Maltings, based in Alameda and known for using top-grade organic, family farmed barley from the Sacramento Valley. For those who follow such things, Anchor created a special malt profile for Baykeeper with the addition of 2-row pale, acidulated malt, golden naked oats and toasted rice.

I enjoyed the beer and, without hesitation, would recommend its accessible flavors even if it was not supporting San Francisco Baykeeper efforts. However, after what I learned during our brief excursion on the patrol boat, it becomes my go-to brew to share with others.

The Golden Gate Bridge from the Baykeeper patrol boat. (Erin Conger/Special to S.F. Examiner)

San Francisco Baykeeper enjoys corporate and foundation support, but nearly half of its operating funds comes from individuals. There are many ways to support San Francisco Baykeeper, the IPA just adds a delightful component.

Baykeeper IPA is available now nationwide in six-packs of 12 oz. cans and on draught at select bars, restaurants and stores as well as at Anchor Public Taps and the Anchor Brewing Taproom. A portion of the proceeds from the sales goes to San Francisco Baykeeper.

Guest columnist Lyle W. Norton is a wine enthusiast and blogger in Santa Rosa who has written a wine column for 15 years. Visit his blog at or email

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