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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. (more…)

Beer Review #107 Copperhook

Another spring seasonal from Redhook Ale Brewery for today. This beer is actually a year round beer on the west coast, but here on the east coast it is only an option for April and May. It came bottled in Redhook’s new bottles. They are partially a marketing stunt, but I really dig how they look and feel. One note about them, they pour very differently compared to a traditional beer bottle. The neck is much shorter so the angle of the pour needs to be altered a bit or maybe I had a few too many on tap for review.

Copperhook pours a light copper color and comes with a thin white head. The nose had a slight sweetness followed by some herbal notes. The taste was a strange mix of flavors. There was some caramel and toasted malt in there, but then that herbal flavor kicked in. It was reminded me of a cross between mint and spruce. Their other spring beer had similar flavors, but had a better malt backbone to stand on.

The bottle says “things gold and silver are way overrated.” If I am basing that saying off of this beer I wholeheartedly disagree. It does come in at 5.8% so it is sessionable, but this one just wasn’t for me. I did get a cool bottle out of it though. (more…)