Christmas Suds: Baseball & Beer #19 – Anchor Christmas Ale

25 12 2012

Merry Christmas everyone!  In honor of Christmas I decided to postpone last Saturday’s Suds post and do this one on Christmas.  It’s hard to get a Winter Ale linked up to baseball – but I’ll go with one I can sort of relate to the World Series Champs.

The last post I did for Anchor Steam was right before game 5 of the NLCS.  The Giants were down 3 games to 1.  But they had a re-energized Barry Zito in the wings, and the rest is history.

DSC00372

Brewery: Anchor Brewing Company in San Francisco, CA

Beer:  Anchor Steam Christmas Ale

Description:  I really liked the Anchor Steam Ale, and their Christmas Ale is no different.

Here’s what the website has to describe it:

“Each year since 1975, Anchor Brewing creates a distinctive Christmas Ale, available from early November to mid-January. A rich, dark spiced ale, our secret recipe is different every year—as is the tree on the label—but the intent 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 2012 is the Norfolk Island pine. Captain Cook discovered this South Seas isle and its native tree in 1774. These tropical-looking conifers, which thrive in sandy soil and coastal climes, were first planted in California in the 1850s. The Norfolk Island pine on this year’s label, hand drawn from life, resides in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.

Each year our Christmas Ale gets a unique label and a unique recipe. Although our recipes must remain a secret, many save a few bottles from year to year. Properly refrigerated, the beer remains intriguing and drinkable for years. Different nuances emerge as the flavor mellows slightly, much like the memories of great holiday seasons past. Celebrate the holidays with Anchor Christmas Ale, an Anchor tradition since 1975.”

There’s similar write-up on the bottle.  This is a great holiday-style drink.  Like most Christmas or winter ales, it’s got an darker color – almost like black with a hint of red in there.  It’s not super heavy, and just a little bitter.  Also like many Christmas ales, it has a bit of spice in the taste.  Maybe cinnamon or nutmeg, hard for me to tell, but I do like it!  A good beer to drink on a warm winter night.

DSC00373Medium:  I bought a 6-pack of 12 ounce bottles.  You can find this on draft at times, probably in a number of places in San Francisco.  The bottles are kind of different shape – they are shorter with a thicker “neck”.

How it’s related to baseball:  Anchor Beer is a sponsor of the San Francisco Giants.  A pretty new development started in 2012 – they opened a tap-room or biergarten behind Center Field on the promenade level of AT&T park.  There you can get a few different Anchor beers on tap (but probably not this beer since it’s only available from November to January).  the biergarten at AT&T Park is a replica of their tap-room in Portero Hill, the neighborhood where the Brewery is located.

Someday I will go to AT&T Park someday, and I’ll definitely hit up this plaza when I do!

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