The rich history of Anchor Brewing can be traced all the way back to the California gold rush, when German brewer Gottlieb Brekle arrived in San Francisco with his family. Gottlieb Brekle bought an old beer-and-billiards saloon, transforming it into the brewery that, twenty-five years later, would be renamed Anchor. Each year since 1975, Anchor Brewing creates a distinctive Christmas Ale. The 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.
This year’s Anchor Christmas Ale poured a dark, almost black, color with dark and rich black cherry hues. The head is brown and thick, similar to Guinness with impressive staying power. This beer shows good density and is very viscous.
On the nose the first aroma that hits you is a note of sweet, roasted caramel malts intermingled with black cherry. On the second sniff you pick up a hint of piney hops that fades quickly and return you to roasted malt notes. Only this time there is a hint of chocolate in there!
On the palate it explodes with notes of roasted nuts and chocolate. The midpalate displays a bitterness that carries a tradition piney hop note. The finish lingers slightly bitter but is perfectly balanced by the sweetness of the roasted caramel malt notes. This beer has great body and a super creamy mouthfeel that is extenuated by its thick carbonation.
This beer has been a seasonal standard for at least the past 12 years. NEVER have they tasted the same and NEVER was there any disappointment. A great seasonal selection that is heavy and satisfying, yet not overdone. Already looking forward to what next year has to offer!
The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4.0 Pints out of 5
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