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12 Beers of Christmas | Day 2: Anchor Brewing Christmas Ale

Anchor Brewing - Christmas Ale
Lindsay Krumel

ABV: 5.5%

Anchor Brewing’s “Christmas Ale,” also known as “Our Special Ale,” is in its thirty-eighth year. I only wish I had heard of this brewery out of San Francisco before this summer; the recipe is different every year, and it would have been nice to have something to compare it to. The tree used on the label is also different each time around. This year it’s Araucaria heterophylla, or a Norfolk Island pine. Seems appropriate for Christmastime, though I’m interested to know what other trees they’ve used in the past. Is it always something wintery? They say trees symbolize the winter solstice, so I suppose any would do.

I like this beer because it’s not as saccharine as other holiday beverages. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the hints of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger that other Christmas ales contain, and while this one presumably does as well (their recipe is secret), the flavors are much more muted. It even has a somewhat smoky finish, which is a really nice change of pace. I mean, I’m happy to have found a Christmas beer I can drink several of without feeling like I want to puke. For those of you out there who aren’t typically into winter beers, this is definitely one you should try.

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