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Beer #6 – January 6, 2010: Anchor “Our Special Ale” 2009 (a.k.a. Anchor Christmas Ale)

January 6, 2010

Beer: Anchor “Our Special Ale” 2009 (a.k.a. Anchor Christmas Ale)

Brewery: Anchor Brewing Company, San Francisco, CA

Style: Winter Warmer

Serving Type: Bottle

Price: $11.99 / 6-pack

Availability: Winter Seasonal

Glassware: Mug

Strength: 5.5% ABV (alcohol by volume)

Drinkability: Rich and full, but very palatable.

Tasting Notes

Appearance: Pours a deep, rich, dark brown with a thick billowy cream-colored head.

Aroma: Sweet caramel, molasses, and maybe a little touch of pine (Christmas Tree?)

Mouthfeel: This one has substance.

Taste: This is a true malty, chewy beer.  Flavors of toffee and Dutch chocolate give way to a gooey molasses cookie dunked in coffee, while subtle notes of vanilla bean, ginger and pine sap come through.  Butterscotch becomes more pronounced the more I drink, all ending in a warm roasted and toasted finish.  This beer does not follow the rules of any particular style, but in flavor, mouthfeel and interest, certainly fits the bill of something I’d call a “Winter Warmer”.

Pairing: I could try to come up with something, but really this is best enjoyed all by itself, or better yet, with someone special on a cold winter’s night.

Trivia: This is the 35th year Anchor Brewing is releasing their Christmas Ale.  It’s always different each year – from the recipe of the brew to the drawing of a tree depicted on the label.  Anchor is a revolutionary brewery in the history of American Craft Beer for many reasons, their Christmas Ale being just one.  Today, almost every brewery has seasonal beers, but back in 1975 when Anchor released their first Christmas Ale, the concept was essentially unheard of in the U.S.  A page on the Anchor website tells a little more of the story, but states the ingredients are “Top Secret”, leaving only your palate to decipher what malts, hops and spices may have been used this year.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. January 11, 2010 1:16 pm

    I’m a big fan of this one. Of all the California area seasonals, this one was my fave. Even liked it over Sam Winter, and that’s a Boston guy saying that.

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