Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The 12 Beers of Christmas: Day 4
Anchor Our Special Ale

Note: I'm a fan of holiday ales, and I want to use this forum this year to lay out 12 beers that just seem essential for holiday party drinking. Plus, I want to see if I can sit down and write for 12 days in a row, a feat I've never pulled off on this blog.

There aren't many beers that are brewed with a different annual recipe that you keep coming back each year, knowing that no matter what the brewery threw in, the end result is going to be rewarding. But Anchor Brewing's annual Christmas Ale, Our Special Ale, constantly rewards its quaffers, and the 2009 edition is a rather exceptional one at that.

A combination of cocoa, caramel and cotton candy hits your tongue immediately, and the individual tastes swirl together to form overlapping layers that keep rolling back at you. A few sips into the bottle, the taste of licorice begins to appear, slowly and quietly rising to add to this beer's considerable backbone.

As it settles, the licorice blends with the cocoa to produce a unique dark but edgy flavor. This fine brew comes in both 12-oz. bottles and magnums, and I can assure you from very recent experience that bringing a magnum to a holiday party will make you a very special guest.

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