Beer Revisited: Anchor Christmas Ale 2016

I’ve been dealing with a painful pelvic issue all month. I’m pretty sure it’s the same problem I dealt with last year: a rotated pelvis and related SI joint dysfunction (or vice versa; I can’t remember which causes which). Though I can walk, lying down for long periods becomes irritating, and sitting has been impossible at times, especially on soft, cushiony chairs and couches.

I’m dealing with it and will work it out with the help of a physical therapist. Anyway, what I want to say is a trip to Linn County to buy a sixer of Anchor Christmas Ale 2017 is not a high priority right now. In fact, sitting in a car for the hour-long roundtrip sounds like a nightmare.

Thankfully, I still have a few bottles of the 2016 edition chilling in my fridge. I’m saving one bottle for next year and drinking the other right now.

The color is deep brown with a ruby tint. It reminds me of Coke or Pepsi. A finger of tan, bubble-spotted, buttery head settles evenly and leaves a frothy ring around the edge.

The aroma is a rich and inviting mélange of all the usual suspects. It is subdued, though. There are scents of toasted malt, chocolate, arbor (pine?), ginger, cherry licorice, and a little bit of cinnamon.

The flavor, on the other hand, is quite strong and very festive! It’s spicy and tastes like a chocolate-coated candy cane that grew on an evergreen tree. Flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, toasted malt, chocolate, caramel, cherry, maybe plum, and arbor (pine?) are evident. The bitterness is also spicy and lingers on the taste buds and tonsils after each sip.

Comparison to 2016 tasting
I mentioned “that flat Coke aroma” last year, which is not evident this year. I also mentioned toffee as a scent and flavor. Hmm . . . yeah, I do taste it now. I don’t drink many toffee-flavored or -scented beers nowadays so that character is starting to elude me. I mentioned that this is the most complex Christmas Ale is a long time, and I still think that is true.

Just for perpetuity, I want to mention that the bottling code on the back label is 6O1. I assume that means it was bottled on October 1, 2016. God, I hate Anchor’s bottling code!

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