For 40 years Anchor Brewing of San Fransisco has been making a Christmas beer that they call “Our Special Ale.” Everyone else calls it Anchor Christmas beer. Each year the recipe changes. The 2014 version is a step up from the past several years in terms of more body and lively spices.
The 2014 Anchor Christmas ale pours reddish brown with a thin wisp of lacy foam on top. It is loaded with spice aromas: cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, candied fruit, and well, Christmas tree pine. It tastes thinner than it’s abundant smell would prepare you for. There is caramel, sweet malts, figs, dried plums, and lots of spices. It finishes with tangy spice on the back of your throat. This beer is very moderate in alcohol at 5.5%, which makes the flavors and body all the more remarkable.
Each year the tree on the label changes. Take a look at all 40 years of their labels at this page. For 2014, it’s the Giant Sequoia in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Yosemite Act. Signed into law by President Lincoln during the Civil War, it granted the Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Big Tree Grove to the State of California “for public use, resort, and recreation.” The first such land grant in American history, it marked the beginning of the California State Parks.
Magnums (1.5 liter bottles) are common, popular, and inexpensive (less than $15) and are well-received at meals and parties throughout the season. Despite the low alcohol, I put on in the cellar each year and serve it the following year.
With the cheery message on the label, “Merry Christmas, Happy New Year 2014,” it’s a wonderful gift to give to any host.
Question: What do you think of the 2014 Anchor Christmas ale? You can leave a comment by clicking here.