Friday, November 22, 2013

Our Special Ale 2013

For the past 39 years, Anchor Brewing has brewed a winter warmer called Our Special Ale. Each year, the recipe is different as is the tree on the label. The trees symbolize rebirth of the earth and its seasons. This year's tree is a kick-ass evergreen named Abies concolor var. Lowiana, aka Sierra Nevada white fir. The label wishes the beer's drinkers Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Apparently I missed the 2012 version, but you can see 2011 here, which also links back to several prior years. 5.5% alcohol.

Rich, malty caramel and prune aroma, lightly spicy with nutmeg, a little roast, and I can't help but think of new leather shoes. Pruney dark fruit flavors dominate the beginning, and the beer is a little sweeter than I was expecting. Nutmeg and cinnamon spices are present but not overdone. A good dose of hops controls the rich caramel and fruit backbone--good balance.

A little roast and light smoke. Dry finish with spices remaining on the palate. Pretty good!

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