It’s the most wonderful time of the year: our 2017 Christmas Ale officially hits shelves today! For our 43rd annual release of this Anchor tradition, our brewers created a smooth and creamy winter warmer with rich flavors of cacao, toffee, and roasted nuts, plus subtle hints of honey and herbal spice.
In 1975 Anchor released the first holiday beer in America since Prohibition. Every year, Anchor creates a new, secret recipe with a completely unique label for their Christmas Ale, but the intent with each brew remains the same: joy and celebration of the newness of life. With a heavily guarded, secret recipe, Christmas Ale is sold only from early November to mid-January. This highly anticipated seasonal delight is complex and full in flavor, with a velvety texture and an alluring aroma of coffee and roasted wood.
“This year’s Christmas Ale has a strong malt profile that is enhanced with wintry spices,” said Anchor Brewmaster Scott Ungermann. “The beer pours a deep, dark, mahogany brown with a creamy, tan head. It has flavors of creamy bittersweet chocolate, coffee, roasted malts and toasted nuts, with a rich, smooth, velvety mouthfeel. This is the third year in a row that we peeled back the layers of spices, taking some ingredients out and making those remaining stand out even more. In the meantime, we added more specialty malts, some that we’re using for the first time. The combination of malts, spices, and hops add layers of complexity to the beer and bring this year’s ale to a new level.”
Along with an evolving recipe, Christmas Ale portrays a new label every year. Since ancient times, trees have symbolized the winter solstice when the earth, with its seasons, appears born anew. This year’s tree is the Santa Lucia fir. Extremely rare, it is native and limited to California’s Santa Lucia Range along the central coast of California. The tree on this year’s label was hand-drawn by Bay Area artist James Stitt, who has been creating Anchor’s Christmas Ale labels since 1975.
Anchor Christmas Ale is perfect for cozy nights by the fire, and it pairs well with holiday fare, whether it is a roasted turkey dinner, sweet potato pie, or roasted chestnuts. A beloved tradition for many Anchor fans is to collect multiple years of Christmas Ale. The beer’s wintry spiced flavors evolve over time, making vertical tastings an interesting and tasty holiday activity. Christmas Ale should be stored in a dark and cool place for the best results.
Christmas Ale is available in 6-packs and gold-foiled 50.7 oz. magnum bottles, as well as on draught in select stores, bars, and restaurants including Anchor Public Taps (beginning Friday, November 3) and the Anchor Brewing Taproom in San Francisco. Find it near you with our Beer Finder.