Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.

Anchor "2011 Christmas Ale"

Top Winter Beers

The 2011 edition of Anchor's annual Christmas Ale is sure to please with hints of holiday spice and toffee malt

AMERICAN CRAFT BREWS

Anchor "2011 Christmas Ale"
Winter Warmer - California / Seasonal
5.4 per cent ABV

Anchor Brewing Company — known for its flagship Anchor Steam — has been brewing a distinctive, unique Christmas Ale since 1975. Available from early November to mid-January, the beer is a collector's item for many beer aficionados. The recipe is different every year, along with the tree on each year’s label. Since ancient times, trees have symbolized the winter solstice and the earth’s rebirth, and this year’s label shows the Bristlecone Pine, which can be found atop California’s White Mountains. (To view all 37 versions of the Christmas tree label, visit anchorbrewing.com.) The brewery diligently guards its top secret recipe, and while each year’s version boasts several similarities, namely spices and floral characteristics, it also features subtle differences. The 2011 vintage features a dark ruby appearance, an aroma of cinnamon, nutmeg and juniper, and a malt profile coming through with caramel, toffee and an overall Christmas-spiced sweetness, balanced with some bitter chocolate flavors. It’s fun to sip some now and to save some to taste later, to compare with older vintages! At only 5.5 per cent ABV, this once-a-year treasure can be enjoyed as a session beer.

Price: $10 for a six-pack of 12 oz.


More Beer Reviews
All Top 10 Lists

 

PJM111111
(Updated: 11/19/13 AD)

Craft breweries are a trend on the rise, with thousands opening worldwide. To help, we've compiled a list of our ten favorite brews you need to try.

Whether straight up or mixed into an Admiral Schley Punch, share a cheers to the American spirit by trying one of our top ten bourbons.