Anchor Our Special Ale 2017 (Christmas Ale)

Reviewed by on November 24, 2017 in Holiday Guide

The Details

  • Brewery: Anchor Brewing Company

  • Origin: San Francisco, CA, US

  • Rated On: November 24, 2017

  • Best Before: October 2019

  • ABV: 6.7%

  • Ideal Temperature: cool to cellar temperature

  • Style: Winter Warmer

  • Rating: GOOD !

The Review

Black Friday is upon us, which means the kickoff to the holiday season, and so another year, another Christmas beer from Anchor, and now, the fine folks at Sapporo – how did I miss that announcement?

This 355ml bottle pours a clear, very dark orange-brick highlighted brown colour, with a near teeming tower of puffy, rocky, and chunky beige head, which leaves some splendid densely webbed lace around the glass as it slowly but surely abates.

It smells of gritty and grainy caramel malt, some blended seasonal spice (maybe cinnamon and nutmeg standing out), a bit of woodsy char, some fig and prune fruitiness, a bit of musty yeast, faint cocoa powder, and some understated earthy, leafy, and floral green hop bitters.  The taste is bready and doughy caramel malt, medium chocolate, more now obfuscated Christmas spice, a bit of well-steeped black tea, mild fruity cough medicine notes, some free-range roastiness, faint estery yeast, and more weak leafy, weedy, and musky floral hoppiness.  The carbonation is adequate in its palate-caressing frothiness, the body a decent middleweight, and mostly smooth, with just a soupcon of edgy spice making a fuss as things warm up a tad around here.  It finishes off-dry, the robust malt, spice, cold cocoa, and gentle smoke making for a warm lingering experience.

Overall – this seems to be one of the better recent iterations of this annual offering, much fuller-feeling, and lacking that usual overbearing musty yeast character. Kind of a mix between winter warmer and American-style stout, which still obviously works, as the snow, she’s a flyin’!

Brady White

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