Anchor Brewing Company Merry Christmas & Happy New Year (Our Special Ale) (2018) – Christmas / Winter Specialty Spiced Beer at 6.9% ABV

Anchor Brewing Company Merry Christmas & Happy New Year (Our Special Ale) (2018) Christmas / Winter Specialty Spiced Beer at 6.9% ABV (C$2.50 at Okotoks Co-Op, 355 ml, best before 1-Jul-2021, acquired 7-Jan-2019, reviewed 8-Jan-2019)

Appearance: clear brown with ruby highlights, one finger of rocky tan head, good retention and moderate clingy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: resiny pine, dark chocolate, banana bread, spices. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, lingering mildly spicy finish. (4/5)

Best vintage I’ve had to date, I think, by a fair margin. Unlike previous years, there’s a pungent resiny pine at the forefront, and it’s both less sweet and crisper than previous recipes. I deliberately started this one a bit on the cold side, sipping as it warmed up to explore the full gamut, and it’s pretty well-behaved through the full temperature range. Definitely more about pine and hops than previous incarnations, and much less an old-fashioned fruitcake in a glass. Given the amount hop character here (though, don’t get me wrong, it’s still malt forward) I wonder how well this one will age. Guess we’ll find out in a year or two… (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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