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Beer Review #172 Anchor Christmas Ale 2011

Happy Christmas Eve everyone. Last year I reviewed Anchor Brewing Company’s 2010 Christmas Ale and since they change the recipe every year, I just had to get it again this year. The brewery, located in San Francisco, California releases a new version of their Christmas Ale every year with the intention of spreading some holiday cheer. A new beer always brings cheer to my life.

Christmas Ale 2011 pours a deep copper to ruby color with a thin off-white head. The nose is strongly herbal with some notes of malt sweetness. There is a slight “twinge” at the end of the nose, but I honestly couldn’t decide what it tasted like.

On the first taste I got some sourness, but as I continued drinking I found that the original sour flavor that I tasted was actually a bit of smoke. The herbal notes are in the beer as well. There wasn’t much in the way of forward malt flavor by I did find some bready notes in there. The slight smoke and herbal notes really dominate the flavor in this beer. The best word that I could use to describe the flavor is earthy as it has a very primal taste to it.

I enjoyed this year’s offering of Anchor Christmas Ale. There are a ton of flavors going on and I really do enjoy trying to pinpoint them all. While this beer has earthy qualities, it is “refined earthy.” Anchor’s beer comes in at 5.5% so you could enjoy a few of these, although I found one at a sitting to be enjoyable.