Sunday, January 9, 2011

Beer of the Week: Anchor Brewing Company Christmas Ale 2008

A new feature of the BostonFound blog in 2011 will be a Beer of the Week. I will be checking in to different liquor stores around the city to try to find unique and interesting beers to highlight. I will tell you up front that this will not necessarily be a 'review' of the beer. I am not going to pretend to taste all the subtleties of every beer that I post and there won't be a rating. Think of it more like an introduction to something you maybe have never heard of or seen. Or, if you have seen it, it may be a reminder that you should pick it up again. With that disclaimer out of the way, I bring you the first Beer of the Week!

Anchor Brewing Company Christmas Ale 2008
Beer of the Week 1/1/11 - 1/7/11

On New Year's Day, the girl and I decided to stop into the Blanchard's Liquor store in Allston. This place has everything a classic Allston hipster casual beer drinker could want. They have also have a ridiculous selection of liquor and wine as well. We were only there to look, but with such a large selection, I couldn't go home empty-handed.

Normally, I'm not a big fan of Christmas or "winter warmer" beers because I find that they usually have way too much spice. I've tried a few over the years but have never really found anything that I've completely enjoyed. I can now gladly say my search is over...maybe: Anchor Brewing Company puts out a new Christmas Ale each year. The recipes are different (and top secret) for each one.

The beer pours very dark brown with a light head. Since this is an ale, the head is not as thick as you might see in a porter or stout.
It's a medium bodied beer, with mild carbonation. The smell is that of roasted malts with a little bit of spice - think ginger or nutmeg. Taking a sip, you immediately get a raisin-y flavor with more spice (but not "spicy"), and a little vanilla. While the beer is only 5.5% ABV, you still need to drink this slowly as the finish is very dry.

Anchor says that with proper refrigeration, the beer will stay good for years. I picked up the 2008 vintage at Blanchard's and, I have to say, it is still good. I wish I had tried it when it originally came out for comparison.

All in all, this is a good beer and I am definitely making a note to try this every year (and maybe even pick up an extra to let age for a year or two). Whether you are a fan of Christmas/"winter warmer" beers or not, I would recommend giving this a shot!

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