San Francisco’s Anchor Brewing can trace its roots back to 1849, making it one of the oldest breweries in America. They have been leaders in the craft brewing movement long before the term “craft brewing” was coined. So it should not be surprising that they have been producing a Christmas seasonal beer for 37 years. Since it is available in a 1.5 litre size and clearly states a happy New Year greeting on the label, guess what this beer geek is substituting for Champagne this New Year’s Eve?
Dark chestnut in color, this beer carries a tall, persistent rocky tan head. You can smell lots of sweet malt and caramel in the aroma, as well as raisins, cinnamon and allspice. The taste is full of dark chocolate, cocoa, cloves and dried fruits. Essentially, a glass full of Christmas. Things dry up a bit on the finish with a pine/spruce hop bitterness showing up, but there is still a caramel sweetness in the back of the mouth to balance that. All things considered, the perfect beer to welcome in a new year with.