Description:"The brewers of Anchor Steam® Beer are proud to announce the release of our thirty-sixth annual Christmas Ale. Every year since 1975 the brewers at Anchor have brewed a distinctive and unique Christmas Ale, which is available from early November to mid-January. The Ale's recipe is different every year—as is the tree on the label—but the intent with which we offer it remains the same: joy and celebration of the newness of life. Since ancient times, trees have symbolized the winter solstice when the earth, with its seasons, appears born anew. Our tree for 2010 is the Ginkgo biloba tree." — Anchor Brewing Co.
Random thoughts: 'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring...except me drinking and reviewing a beer. This is the fifteenth of my winter seasonal reviews. I like that Anchor actually uses the word "Christmas" in this beer's name, rather than just calling it "Holiday" Ale. Good for them.
The tasting: Very dark brownish red in color with a tan head that dissipated fairly quickly. No lacing on the glass. Aroma is sweet malts, spices, and a bit of pine. Flavor is mainly roasted malts with some chocolate. Not a lot of hop flavor. Medium bodied and medium carbonation. It has a lingering sweet finish that just borders on sour.
Rating: 3 star. Good. I would drink this if someone gave it to me. I didn't rate this higher because I wasn't crazy about the sweet and ever so slightly sour finish. This is the first time I have tasted an Anchor's Christmas Ale, so I don't know if they make subtle tweaks from year to year, or if they do major overhauls. Either way, I look forward to tasting Anchor's 2011 vintage of Christmas Ale.
Have you tried Christmas Ale 2010 or any of the past vintages? How did you like them? Merry Christmas to you and yours!