Your insane neighbors are putting up their holiday decorations already, your local Halloween megastore is sweeping the floors to make way for your local Christmas megastore and now it’s time for another telltale sign that the holidays are creeping up: the latest Anchor Christmas Ale has arrived!
The OG brewery who straight-up legally owns the trademark on “Steam Beer” and proudly boasts the claim “America’s first craft brewery” has been producing these annual San Francisco treats since 1975 with top secret tweaks to the spicy yet subtle winter warmer recipe each year to keep things interesting. And boy, oh boy - do they ever keep it interesting.
In addition to altering the beer’s build each holiday season, the brewery has made the super smart choice again and again to work with the same bay-area artist, Jason Stitt, on the label design. This is the 42nd different meticulous hand drawn green tree and easily one of the best.
This year’s tree is his take of the “1,000 Mile Tree” and includes a little bro at the very top knocking back a brew and giving a tiny little cheers. Hi Bro! The 1,000 Mile Tree was a lone, gargantuan pine found back in 1896 during the westbound construction of the transcontinental railroad in the middle of a desolate landscape (it was a mere 90 foot tall and not hundreds and hundreds of miles high as the name initially implies) The tree eventually died and was re-planted by the Union Pacific in 1982 where it’s grown to over 30 feet tall today.
Wait a second- that’s enough information about a random tree. Let’s get back to the new beer!
“This year’s Christmas Ale has a strong malt profile enhanced with wintry spices,” said Anchor Brewmaster Scott Ungermann. “The beer is a deep mahogany brown with a creamy, tan head and boasts aromas of fruitcake, molasses, and fresh cut wood. The beer tastes of a roasted caramel malt, with notes of spiced chocolate and nuts. And it has a rich, smooth, and velvety mouthfeel.”
Personally - I’ve been an enormous fan of this beer since first having it in 2006 and do my best to lay down a few year’s worth of vintages to break out on special occasions. I encourage you to keep an eye on the shelves and pick up a big bottle of pine needle smelling goodness so you can start spreading some holly jolly holiday cheer.
Take a stroll down memory lane and see ALL of the Christmas Ale trees in this online gallery: http://www.anchorbrewing.com/beer/christmas_ale/labels