Anchor Merry Christmas Happy New Year 2015

Reviewed by on December 8, 2015 in Holiday Guide

The Details

  • Brewery: Anchor Brewing Company

  • Origin: San Franscisco, CA, US

  • Rated On: December 8, 2015

  • Best Before: October 2017

  • ABV: 5.5%

  • Ideal Temperature: cool to cellar temperature

  • Style: Winter Warmer

  • Rating: GOOD !

The Review

In the interest of continuing with yesterday’s idea of annually tweaked seasonal offerings, we look once again at Anchor Brewing, who have been releasing their Christmas ale since 1975.  Each year, they adjust the recipe, and the Christmas tree on the label, with this year’s pine tree being of the Cedrus deodora species.

This 12oz bottle pours a clear, very dark ruddy brown colour, with three fingers of puffy, loosely foamy, and well-bubbly tan head, which leaves some decent horizontal lightning bolt lace around the glass as it slowly seeps away.

It smells of gritty, grainy caramel malt, more bitter than sweet chocolate, a weird sour black orchard fruitiness, brown sugar, muddled seasonal spices (maybe a hint of nutmeg struggles to be seen), metallic anise root, and a faint earthy, weedy hoppiness. The taste is bready, lightly doughy caramel malt, dry cocoa powder, a more tactile cinnamon, nutmeg, and neutered ginger spiciness, reduced, and not so testy dark orchard fruit, an ethereal fleshy nuttiness, and more well under the radar earthy, leafy hop bitters. The carbonation is fairly low-key in its plain and hard to really notice frothiness, the body a decent medium weight, and mostly smooth, the aforementioned astringencies apparently taking a breather of sorts. It finishes off-dry, the spice, caramel, and black licorice holding on for dear life.

Once again, Anchor turns out an easy enough to drink, if not particularly challenging seasonal ‘warmer’. Muted spice, and not so muted licorice, are what I’m taking away from this, other than the fact that the Canadian dollar’s current performance vis-a-vis the US greenback makes this one pricey fireside sessional sipper this time around.

Brady White

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