Beer Revisited: Anchor Christmas Ale 2013

When I began this beer-per-day effort at the beginning of the month, I said I would “review or revisit” one beer each day. I have reviewed many, so it is now time to deliver on my pledge to revisit.

This weekend, instead of buying something new, I am going to revisit the previous two editions of Anchor’s Christmas Ale. Tonight I am revisiting BotW #541: Christmas Ale 2013, brewed by the Anchor Brewing Company of San Francisco, California.

Serving type: 12-ounce bottle. The bottling code on the back is “3OX,” which translates to October 24, 2013.

Appearance: Pours a deep, ruddy mahogany into my 2009 Christmas Ale pint glass. Two fingers of fluffy, dense, reddish-tan head dissipates slowly, leaving lacing stuck to the glass.

Smell: The nose is greeted with a pleasing, festive bouquet of ginger, pine, nutmeg, cocoa, peppermint, caramel, cinnamon, and dark fruit.

Taste: The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. Much like the initial whiff, the first sip is a pleasing blend of festive spice and malt: cinnamon, ginger, pine, peppermint, nutmeg, cocoa, caramel, and dark fruit. Toasted malt emerges late, but is noticeable.

Comparison to 2013 tasting: My experience tonight mirrors the one I had on Christmas Eve 2013. It seems the spice and arboreal favor have mellowed with age, though, as they are not overpowering. They are still play leading roles, though. It seems that both the flavor and aroma have become much more balanced and complementary; it is no longer a “Christmas tree in a bottle.” Nothing really stands out or dominates. Overall, this is a pleasing and tasty brew.

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