It’s that time of year when Anchor Brewing releases their classic Christmas Ale. Now in it’s 45th year, the 2019 Christmas Ale basically inspired all other spiced winter ales and each year it’s slightly different. The 2019 Anchor Christmas Ale has a dark, smooth and secret velvety spiced flavor profile.
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Forty-five years ago, Anchor Brewing Company released the first holiday beer in America since Prohibition and has continued this annual tradition ever since. Year after year, Christmas Ale is crafted with a heavily guarded recipe and designed with a unique hand drawn label, but the inspiration behind each brew remains the same: joy for the changing seasons and celebration of the newness of life. The 2019 Anchor Christmas Ale (6.9% ABV) is sold only from early November to mid-January. It is rich with robust malt flavor, yet balanced and drinkable, making Christmas Ale the perfect drink for holiday gatherings near and far.
“We are committed to preserving Anchor Christmas Ale’s signature style while adding new ingredients to enhance this annual delicacy. Slightly darker than last year’s Christmas Ale, the 2019 edition is layered with toasted caramel and coffee flavors with subtle hints of Mexican chocolate, rounded out with herbaceous spices. Crack open a bottle for a spiced whiff of western evergreens, roasted malts and coastal flowers,” shared Anchor Brewmaster, Scott Ungermann. “It’s a rich, round and full bodied-treat with a silky, smooth finish. Christmas Ale is best served in a big open glass at a table full of family and friends.”
A beloved tradition for many Anchor fans is to collect multiple iterations of Christmas Ale over the years. The beer’s wintry spiced flavors evolve over time, making vertical tastings an interesting and decadent holiday activity. For the second year in a row, Anchor kept Christmas Ale’s ABV at 6.9%, a level fitting for long term storage. “People love to align past Christmas Ale styles in vertical tastings,” said Ungermann. “An added bonus of this holiday tradition is that the beer can age gracefully for years to come.” Christmas Ale should be stored in a dark and cool place for the best results.
As each Christmas Ale recipe evolves, so does its hand drawn packaging, created by long-time Anchor Illustrator Jim Stitt, who has created Anchor’s Christmas Ale labels every year since 1975. Since ancient times, trees have symbolized the winter solstice when the earth, with its seasons, appears born anew. This year, Stitt illustrated the Western Arborvitae – the “tree of life” – across the label. It is an evergreen conifer native to Northern California, the same region that Anchor has called home for over 123 years. Before modern medicine, properties of Western Arborvitae leaves were believed to have healing properties – hence, the moniker “tree of life.” 2019 Anchor Christmas Ale proudly wears this tree and symbolizes the start of a strong, healthy beginning.
Anchor Christmas Ale makes a special holiday gift for the brewing expert, beer beginner, party host and everyone in between. Available in a gold-foiled, 50.7oz magnum format as well as regular 12oz bottles, it is both the perfect centerpiece at a festive gathering and the ideal brew to enjoy on a cozy night by the fire. “One of the best parts about Christmas Ale is that it can be enjoyed from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. As long as the holiday season has commenced, one can enjoy this very special tradition in hand,” Ungermann shared. Suggested food pairings are roasted meats, pecan pie and any chocolate-based dessert.
Anchor’s 2019 Christmas Ale is available in 6-packs and gold-foiled 50.7 oz. magnum bottles, as well as on draught in select stores, bars, and restaurants including Anchor Public Taps and the Anchor Brewing Taproom in San Francisco.
Anchor Brewing Company’s roots date back to the California Gold Rush making it one of America’s oldest breweries. Its Anchor Steam® Beer is San Francisco’s original since 1896. In 1965, Fritz Maytag acquired and revived the struggling brewery at a time when mass production of beer dominated and seemed unstoppable. Maytag started a revolution in beer that originated today’s craft beer movement. An undisputed icon, Anchor is America’s first craft brewery where beers are handmade in our traditional copper brewhouse from an all-malt mash. At Anchor, we practice the time-honored art of classical brewing, employing state-of-the-art methods to ensure that our beers are always pure and fresh. We know of no brewery in the world that matches our efforts to combine traditional, natural brewing with such carefully applied, modern methods of sanitation, finishing, packaging and transporting. To learn more visit www.anchorbrewing.com.
Founder of The New School and most frequent contributor Ezra Johnson-Greenough has worked in the craft beer industry for almost 10 years, doing everything from illustrating beer labels to bartending at renowned beer bars and breweries like Belmont Station, Apex, Laurelwood and Upright Brewing. He has also had a hand in creating events like the Portland Fruit Beer Festival, Portland Beer Week, and the Brewing up Cocktails series. He is available for freelance consultation in marketing, events, graphic design and branding.