I was looking through my Twitter feed yesterday and came across the news that Anchor Brewing had joined the Twitter world (@AnchorBeer) and had totally redone their website, to rave reviews. So, when I was out and about at Old Town Wine & Spirits yesterday looking for my next few week's beer reviews and came across a bottle of Anchor 2011 Christmas Ale, I promptly scooped it up. I hate to admit it, but I had not tried any of their previous year's Christmas Ales and didn't know much about the style, etc. Upon visiting their new website (www.anchorbrewing.com) I was pleasantly surprised to find out that they change the recipe every year along with the tree that appears on the front label. Most people look forward to certain seasonal beers all year long; to me I feel Anchor does a great job of taking that anticipation up a notch by giving their fans not only something to look forward to, but also the intrigue of different flavors, aromas, and even a new look.
I took off the cap and poured what turned out to be a beautiful, dark ruby colored beer with a creamy, rich head that left nice lacing along the glass as I began to drink. The aroma is of dark fruits, caramel, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and the flavor does not disappoint bringing those aromas to fruition. It is a very drinkable beer that is sweet, but not overly done in that area, and at around 5.5% ABV is extremely sessionable. This is another one of those beers, as I have mentioned in previous articles, that can take you to another place mentally if you allow it. Anchor's 2011 Christmas Ale is a living room with dark leather couches and chairs, stone and wood, dimly lit by only the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree and the warm fireplace.
Some of the things that I have read on this beer suggest saving one, allowing it to age until the next year to compare to the newest version; I have to say that this is something that I'm very intrigued to do now. Kudos to Anchor Brewing for not only delivering a delicious seasonal brew, but also with their marketing. They understand that every year, with Christmas, part of the excitement of gift giving is giving the people you love something new, wrapped in new wrapping, that signals them to start looking forward to the beginning of a new year and new experiences. By changing not only their wrapping, but also the gift inside every year, Anchor Brewing has truly captured the season in a bottle.
You can give me an early Christmas present by following Lville Beer on Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare. Don't be a Scrooge, I'd hate for the ghosts of beer past, present, and future to have to pay you a visit.
P.S. I also accept cash.