Anchor Brewing Co. Our Special Ale 2011
It just isn't a Christmas season without having a bottle of "Our Special Ale" from America's first craft brewery, Anchor Brewing Company, from San Francisco. Anchor has been producing their Christmas seasonal beer since 1975 and every year, they change the recipe and artwork on the label. It's a great tradition they've kept; something else they keep is the recipe: top secret. Many beerheads keep multiple editions of this beer for a vertical tasting, though it's probably best to keep them cool because they're typically in the 5-6% ABV range. Each year is a spiced ale, but obviously that hardly reduces the flavor possibilities. This year, particularly, I tasted some herbal notes, even licorice-like. I'm going to go out on a limb and say they used a bit of anise this year. Other than that, the beer has a nice malt flavor with a bit of pine and traditional spices that possibly could be allspice or brown sugar. Whether the version is one of their best or not, I definitely recommend adding Anchor's annual beer to your Christmas season every year.
Overall Rating: B (8 Maids-a-Milking)