Thursday, December 1, 2011

Anchor Brewing Company - Our Special Ale 2011 (Anchor Christmas Ale)

It's hard to believe, but December is already upon us. But rather than sit and sulk, wondering where the year went, let's celebrate the return of winter beers! And what better way to kick the winter beer season off than with the return on one of my favorites: Anchor's Christmas Ale. Similar to the Trader Joes Vintage Ales, Anchor's Our Special Ale series is released near the end of November every year and is slightly different from year to year. However, unlike the Trader Joes Vintage Ale series, every Our Special Ale I've had to date has been remarkably tasty. Let's see how this year's turned out.

Anchor's Our Special Ale pours a deep brownish red color with a creamy caramel colored head. The nose started a little faint, but as the beer warmed, I picked up some nice malt toastiness, pine, raisin, caramel and some faint chocolate.

At only 5.50% ABV, this Winter Warmer won't warm you up too quickly, but the taste more than makes up for the modest ABV. There's a great spiciness throughout the taste along with notes of pine, dark fruit, raisin, roasted malt and a bit of charred malt on the finish. The flavors aren't huge, but they blend really well together and only get more complex as the beer warms. This is another great Christmas beer from Anchor and definitely worth seeking out.

Final Grade: A-

Top 100 Beers Tasted: 34

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