Anchor Brewing Company in San Francisco, California. Each year the recipe is different, so this should be their 36th recipe according to the bottle. Again, there is a beautiful tree presentation on the front, symbolizing "joy and celebration of the newness of life". I am happy they stuck with tradition and say "Merry Christmas & Happy New Year" right on the front of the label. None of this watered-down-PC Happy Holidays or Feliz Festivus nonsense. I reviewed their 2009 version last year if you'd like a comparison. However, remember, different year, different recipe. If for nothing else, go back to the 2009 post and watch the video I embedded of Jimmy V's Espy award speech from the early 1990's. Very emotional and inspirational!
Malty sweet aroma, caramel and toffee with plenty of Christmas spices too. Some dark fruity flavors start things off, mainly cherries and raisins. The 5.5% alcohol immediately jumps on those fruits and makes them stand out. A hint of caramel sweetness then works to grab your attention while a hoppy bitter balance is always there to keep this balanced. Toasted bread, ginger, candy, and oak tree all add additional little nuances. Nice carbonation and creamy smooth texture. The finish is dry with a little more roasted malt but also a little medicinal flavor, my least favorite part of the experience. Good beer, but I'll only be drinking one this year.
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