Endless Beers: Anchor Big Leaf Maple


Fall beer season isn”t over. Remember – fall really isn”t over until Thanksgiving is over. So pack up the winter decorations, don”t you DARE say the “C word” or anything related to peppermints, candy canes, or mistletoe. Now, open your mind to even more fall beers! We looked at Anchor Big Leaf Maple last year and enjoyed the taste of a balanced sweetness of malts and spices.This year, we”ll give you the handy tasting profile, but we also have some suggested pairings and FALL concoctions made of the Big Leaf Maple. As always, the tasting notes:

Appearance: Copper, but lighter than last years – more translucent but still with a red hue.

Aroma: Sweet scent with slight hints of maple and caramel. A bit of a floral scent follows (mostly from the hops combination during the boil and dry hopping).

Taste: Malty with caramel undertones (maybe a little maple syrup flavor too), followed by spices and the slight bitterness of the hops.

Mouthfeel: A dry, crisp brew at the finish.

Overall: Definitely a warming brew, but without the strong alcohol flavor. Sat out on my porch on a cool casino evening for this drink and enjoyed it. The Big Leaf Maple fits the fall season and is a satisfying drink. It has good balance if you aren’t up for the sweetness of most Oktoberfests and Pumpkin brews.  I also appreciated the hops that came through the beer. Still a refreshing brew – and pretty much sticks with the same flavors as last year”s vintage.

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Endless Beers: Anchor Christmas Ale



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 pokies online 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.

Tasting Notes:

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.

Endless Beers: Anchor Brewing’s Big Leaf Maple

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Like it or not, the fall season is upon us. Football season started, nights are cool enough to open the windows, and pumpkin is taking over the world. But wait– there’s another seasonal beer available to us aside from all those pumpkins! Anchor Brewing presents the “Big Leaf Maple.”

Anchor explains: The Big Leaf Maple is a quaffable, well-balanced red ale with character.  Its malty complexity and coppery color come from a combination of two caramel malts, pale malt, and a hint of maple syrup. 

Here we go!

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Top 10 Beers for Christmas

Put down the eggnog. I know you”re only drinking it because of some ridiculous tradition that started before you were even a thought. Okay, now that you”ve come to your senses, perhaps this is the year you drink and offer beer to your guests instead (not the kind that looks like piss). Even though I”m still having a hard time letting go of the fall seasonal beers, the winter has plenty to offer. I tried to pick a variety of winter seasonals ranging from dark stouts to spicy ales and lagers. There”s something for everyone! Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

*DISCLAIMER: This list is in no order. Try all ten, then decide what your favorite is!*

10. Sam Adams Winter Lager

(PHOTO: Sam Adams)

The Sam Adams Winter Lager is a tried-and-true brew that will not leave you disappointed. Sam Adams does lager well. They added a mix of winter spices and made the brew a bit darker (which makes it a tad bit sweeter in this case). The spices and the slight caramel flavor makes it an enjoyable fire to chug sip next to the yule log.

9. Troegs Mad Elf

(PHOTO: Troegs Brewing Company)

Just the name is enticing. Troegs Brewing Company has established themselves as one of the best craft breweries in the country. The Mad Elf and their Nugget Nectar have been my favorites for a while. Mad Elf packs a punch (11% ABV) and offers all the flavors I think of about Christmas: sweet, fruity, spicy. All packed into one swig that tastes great and gets you buzzed quick while dealing with that crazy family of yours.

8. Anchor Brewing Christmas Ale

We all know how I feel about this brew. Get a couple of six packs of this and put a couple bottles in the basement to compare to the next couple years” versions. The rest—drink with your friends and impress them with your knowledge of the brew!

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