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Beer Advent Calendar – Day 26: Anchor Christmas presented by Beer Pairings and Beyond

Anchor Christmas Label

Beer Advent Calendar – Day 26: Anchor Christmas presented by Beer Pairings and Beyond

To celebrate the Holiday Season, and have teamed up with beer bloggers around the country to host the first annual beer bloggers advent calendar. This is the season of sharing and we intend to share our love of beer with you. 31Bloggers Blogging – click here for the running list of beers/bloggers.

Beer Pairings and Beyond Logo

Commercial Description:
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 2011 is the bristlecone pine. Found high atop California’s White Mountains, bristlecones are among the oldest living things on the planet. Some date back nearly 5,000 years, to the dawn of the ancient art of brewing.

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.


  • Style: Winter Warmer
  • ABV: 5.5
  • First Brewed: 1975
  • First Bottling: 1975
  • Availability: NOV.-FEB.
  • Malts: TOP SECRET
  • Hops: TOP SECRET


Zach from Beer Pairings and Beyond

Why I selected Anchor Christmas from Anchor Brewing Company:

Anchor’s Our Special Ale marks the beginning of the holiday season and many beer enthusiasts, myself included, wait in anticipation for its release. The recipe changes each year, but more importantly, the ingredients used are never told. Keeping the recipe secret provides a bit of mystery to the brew as drinkers speculate on what the beer contains and their new year will bring. I think it’s beautiful that this beer incorporates the comforting familiarity of tradition with the inspiring contemplation of change.

Anchor Christmas Poured into a glass

This year, the aroma of spruce is rich and fills the atmosphere with the crispness of a Christmas pine. The spicing is heavy but blends well with a malty aroma of cherries and brown sugar. Alcohol notes are laced throughout the nose and stronger than in some of the previous years. Serve this beer with toasted fruit cake, butter, and a roaring fire on Christmas morning. And if you’re not a fan of Aunt Sue’s fruit cake, at least a beer or two may make it go down easier!

Anchor Christmas Poster

About Pair Beer:
Zach Rosen is a Cert. Cicerone and beer writer living in Santa Barbara, CA. Growing up in an art studio and pursuing a degree in chemical engineering he tries to approach beer through the eyes of both an artist and a scientist. The newly launched will go beyond food pairings and discuss how beer pairs with our day-to-day life.

Anchor Brewing Logo

About Anchor Brewing Company:
Many know the recently retired Fritz Maytag as one of the father’s of the craft beer movement. His influential Anchor Brewery in Northern San Francisco provided inspiration to many blossoming craft brewers and remains as a shining example of one of the only beer styles (California Common) to have originated in North America. In the 37th year of production, Fritz is also considered to have rekindled the tradition of holiday beers in America with his Our Special Ale.

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