Ah yes, the most wonderful time of the year. As you may know from last year, for four decades now, Anchor Brewing releases a new version of their Christmas Ale every year. Each time, the brew is made with a new, original recipe, along with a new image on the label. The recipe is new every year and will not be reused. As you can imagine, I was pretty excited when I received a bottle of this at my doorstep. The brew will be available until mid-January.
Anchor seems to aim for the same feeling of a winter warmer each year. Typical flavor profile of this delish beer includes notes of spices, sweetness of the malt, and a bit of a boozey taste to it. However, you never know what the current year is going to taste like. The anticipation (for us beer dweebs at least) to opening the brew is similar to opening a gift—you know it’s going to be good, but you don’t know exactly what will be inside. Turns out this year’s is one of my favorites. PLUS my sister got me the 2011 brew, so I was able to compare to even another year! Get them while they last and save a few for years to come.
Appearance: Dark brown, nearly black with a thick light brown head.
Aroma: Smells like…Christmas. Sweet and spicy—scents of cinnamon and even pines and spruces. Deeper scents included a malty smell similar to that of a brown ale.
Taste: The brew begins with sweet and malty flavors, immediately followed by some spice flavors like nutmeg, cinnamon, and even ginger. A little bit of brown sugar taste as it ends.
Mouthfeel: Creamy and smooth. Goes down easy and has good carbonation that complements the spices.
Overall: I’ve had the 2011, 2012, and 2013 of these brews now. I think the 2013 is my favorite so far. The flavors really stand out without taking over the brew. It’s a great drink to have while sitting around the fire with family and friends, or after dinner.