The Lost Brews—San Francisco Beer of Yesteryear
Beer in San Francisco is becoming serious business, but do these breweries know their superiors? We have compiled a vintage-y list of brews that were made right here in San Francisco—once upon a time.
Swan Brewery Beer
Swan was serving suds around 1874, later declaring bankruptcy in 1881. The brewery was located at 527 Valencia Street, and brewed Pale Ale, XXX Ale, Brown Stout, and Porter. Swan Brewery is one of the first beer producers to bottle their brew in company-embossed bottles (in 1887).
Lucky Lager is a creation of the General Brewing Corporation, which opened in 1933 and was located on 2601 Newhall Street, with a business office at 369 Pine Street. The beer debuted in 1934, and the brewery grew, branched out to other cities and became the sales leader of the West in the 1960s. Although the San Francisco locale closed in 1978, you can actually get Lucky Lager today, in some parts of Canada, and in some places in the U.S. such as Michigan. Best catchphrase ever? Lucky’s 1950s slogan, “It’s Lucky When You Live in California.”
Red Lion Ale
Red Lion Brewery was opened in 1888 by Jacob Stuber and Albert Weikert as the San Francisco Weiss Beer Company. Located on the corner of Baker and Geary Streets, it brewed German weiss beer, before moving to stout, porter, and ale. The brewery appears to have closed in 1912.
Regal Pale Ale
The Regal-Amber Brewing Company first opened as Pacific Brewing & Malting in 1916, at 675/677 Treat Avenue. During the 1930s, it brewed three kinds of beer: Regal Amber Beer, Regal Amber Ale, and Blue Boar Ale, and 1936, it was the 7th largest brewer in California. The brewery was renamed Regal Pale in 1954, and stayed in businesses until the early 1960s.
// Feature photo by Yuri Catalano.