Anchor Our Special Ale 2016

Reviewed by on December 20, 2016 in Holiday Guide

The Details

  • Brewery: Anchor Brewing Company

  • Origin: San Francisco, CA, US

  • Rated On: December 20, 2016

  • Best Before: October 2018

  • ABV: 6.5%

  • Ideal Temperature: cool to cellar temperature

  • Style: Winter Warmer

  • Rating: GOOD !

The Review

San Fran’s Anchor Brewing tweak the recipe (and the label greenery) every year for their annual Christmas Ale – this year’s tree is the Pinus Solitarius, also known as the 1,000 Mile Tree.

This 355ml bottle pours a clear, very dark orange-cola highlighted brown colour, with a teeming tower of puffy, rocky, and chunky tan head, which leaves some gnarled tree branch lace around the glass as it quickly recedes.

It smells of roasted caramel malt, some bready toffee, a ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon spice contingent, muddled dark orchard fruit, earthy yeast, bittersweet chocolate, and some very tame leafy, musty, and floral green hop bitters. The taste is bready and doughy caramel malt, a gently phenolic yeastiness, metallic cinnamon and candied ginger spice, subtle chalky cocoa, wan vanilla, some mild earthy nuttiness, and more plain leafy, weedy, and floral hoppiness.  The carbonation is obviously quite active in its swirling frothiness, the body a decent medium weight, and generally smooth, with a nice aerosol creaminess evolving as things warm up a bit out of the ol’ basement fridge.  It finishes off-dry, with the gingerbread association never that far from my consciousness.

Overall, Anchor has once again produced a winter/holiday ale that pushes all the right buttons, but doesn’t overdo anything by the same metric.  Malty, spicy, and fairly easy to drink, as those 6 and a half points of booze are superbly integrated.  The sort of seasonal offering that will (always) have broad spectrum appeal.

Brady White

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