Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Anchor Brewing Company Christmas Ale 2012

Hello beer lovers and welcome to another edition of the NorCal Beer Blog's brew review.

Tonight’s featured beer is Anchor Brewing Company Christmas Ale 2012.  It has been a long holiday tradition to purchase a few six packs of Anchor Christmas Ale.  Since 1996 I’ve purchased some for enjoying now and some for cellaring.  I have vintages going back over many years and each year I sip on the new and old.  This beer never disappoints.

From the Anchor Brewing Company website:” Each year since 1975, Anchor Brewing creates a distinctive Christmas Ale, available from early November to mid-January. A rich, dark spiced ale, our secret recipe is different every year—as is the tree on the label—but the intent remains the same: joy and celebration of the newness of life.
Since ancient times, trees have symbolized the winter solstice when the earth, with its seasons, appears born anew. Our tree for 2012 is the Norfolk Island pine. Captain Cook discovered this South Seas isle and its native tree in 1774. These tropical-looking conifers, which thrive in sandy soil and coastal climes, were first planted in California in the 1850s. The Norfolk Island pine on this year’s label, hand drawn from life, resides in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.
Each year our Christmas Ale gets a unique label and a unique recipe. Although our recipes must remain a secret, many save a few bottles from year to year. Properly refrigerated, the beer remains intriguing and drinkable for years. Different nuances emerge as the flavor mellows slightly, much like the memories of great holiday seasons past. Celebrate the holidays with Anchor Christmas Ale, an Anchor tradition since 1975.”
Let’s get started!
Appearance: Pours a rich mahogany red with a large khaki head and sticky lacing.
Aroma: Dark fruits (figs, cherries, dates, raisins, plums, and dried cranberries), nutmeg, roasted malts, allspice, burnt sugar and a slight citrus hop scent.
Taste: Flavors follow the nose, roasted malts, dark fruits, nutmeg and an almost almond nuttiness.  Balanced well, perfect sweetness to hop bitterness level.
Overall: Not as much “tree” as in years past, Anchor Brewing Company’s Christmas Ale (2012 edition) is a fantastic seasonal.  The malty goodness is perfect for this time of year.  The holiday season just doesn’t start without an Anchor Christmas Ale.  Pick some up to enjoy now and save some for years to come.  These age VERY well.


Mark Harvey

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