Historic 7 Mile House Meets San Francisco’s Anchor Brewing

Times have changed quite a bit since the historic 7 Mile House opened in 1853. During the Gold Rush, 49ers were prospectors seeking their fortune panning for gold, which they often spent having a good time in San Francisco. This was long before Joe Montana and Jerry Rice, and even John Brodie and Bob St. Clair.
One thing hasn’t changed, however: people still like to eat good food and drink good beer in San Francisco. Owner Vanessa Garcia Villacarlos is determined to bring the 160-year old stagecoach stop on Bayshore Boulevard up to date by transforming the former brothel, biker
and trucker hangout, and gambling den into a colorful sports bar, with live music and karaoke. Not to mention some pretty tasty food. Along with familiar pub fare like nachos, buffalo wings and burgers, 7 Mile House features authentic Filipino dishes like lumpia, salpicao and adobo.
During last week’s dinner with Anchor Brewing, we discovered that beer pairs just as well with these classic Filipino dishes as it does with burgers and fries—maybe better.
The dinner began with a nod to the Gold Rush days with a 19th century brew: Anchor’s California Lager. Anchor says that this lager, now available year-round, is made with two-row California barley; Cluster hops, which were the premier hop in 19th century California; and Anchor’s own lager yeast. It’s a refreshing yet flavorful beer that could easily become a summertime lawnmower favorite.
For the first course, sauteed tender New York steak in a la pobre sauce, called Salpicao, paired nicely with Anchor’s seminal Liberty Ale, arguably America’s first IPA. It’s hard to believe that this excellent single-hopped, dry-hopped ale dates all the way back to the pre-craft brew days of 1975. Brewed to celebrate Paul Revere’s historic ride, Liberty Ale ignited the craft brew revolution and continues to hold its own even in our very hoppy beer times.
Next, a Pacific Rim Salad with pineapple, mandarin oranges, cashews, Asian fried noodles and orange-ginger dressing was paired with Anchor’s seasonal Summer Beer, a light wheat ale that brought out the citrusy elements of the salad. Goldings and Glacier hops offset the sweetness of the fruit.
My personal favorite was The Famous Pork Adobo with Rice: tender marinated pork slowly simmered and served with Jasmine rice. It was served with Anchor’s classic Steam Beer, which for many of us was our introduction into the world of craft beer long before anyone knew what craft beer was. The Northern Brewer hops proved a nice counterpoint to the somewhat salty pork, and every bite and sip was delightful.
San Francisco tradition literally blended with new San Francisco in a beer float that combined Anchor  Porter (first brewed in 1972) with Bi-rite Caramel Ice Cream. Beer pairing generally suggests two flavor approaches, complementary or contrasting. With a beer float you get both. Before the ice cream melts, the bitterness of the beer is in stark contrast to the sweetness of the vanilla ice cream. As the ice cream melts and blends into the beer, however, the contrasting flavors meld, with the roasty Pale, Caramel, Black and Chocolate malts complementing the sweet and salty caramel vanilla ice cream. Try it at home some time.
The ambitious Garcia Villacarlos has lofty plans for the historic 7 Mile House, with special events and activities almost every night of the week. She is currently working on building a new outdoor patio that could make this out-of-the way historic landmark a popular destination for people who love food and drink and having a good time. Just like in the Gold Rush days.

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