Anchor Brewing Christmas Ale 2015

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Anchor Brewing Christmas Ale 2015. 5.5% abv. Black in color. Two fingers of foamy beige head. Outstanding retention and lacing. Nose of pine, caramel, sweet bread, tropical fruit, bright spice. Front taste of warm brown sugar, roasted chocolate malt, nutty on the back end. Aftertaste is botanical herbal, bready, malty, mild bitter herbal hops, dark chocolate on the sustain. Medium-full body. Mouthfeel is warm, rich, creamy, sweet finish.

Anchor completely changes the secret recipe of their annual Christmas beer, which offers an exciting time for lovers of winter warmers. When you're about to taste the latest Anchor Christmas Ale, chances are you will either love it or hate it. Regardless of what goes in it, it's always a big beer that swings for the fences, for better or worse. I'm pleased to tell you that I absolutely loved this year's offering. I found myself muttering "This is damnnnn good" as I was carefully tasting I for this review.

Simply put, this is an extraordinary beer, one of the better years of this always-changing series. The aroma is complex with a myriad of malty, bready, spicy, and herbal tones. The taste offers chocolate, notes of evergreen, tall malt and bright spice such as cloves and nutmeg. The mouthfeel is rich and creamy, largely from a lacey head that accompanies you to the end. A world class brew, and another winner in this legendary series. Strongly recommended.

From the brewery:

"This is the forty-first annual Christmas Ale from the brewers at Anchor. It is sold only from early November to mid–January. The Ale's recipe is different every year—as is the tree on the label—but the intent with which we offer it remains the same: joy and celebration of the newness of life. Since ancient times, trees have symbolized the winter solstice when the earth, with its seasons, appears born anew. Our tree for 2015 is the Deodar Cedar (Cedrus deodara), better known as the California Christmas Tree. Native of the Himalayas, it takes its name from the ancient Sanskrit devadaru, meaning timber of the gods. This coniferous evergreen, with its gracefully droopy branches and blue-green needles, has been a San Francisco favorite for over 150 years."

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