You’ve at least ordered the Anchor Brewing Story, if not devoured it by now, so let’s dive into their 2022 Our Special Ale.
Right off the bat, the 2022 smells really malt. Just opened malt bag, malty. There is a bit of spice and a bit of apple cider here. To be honest, it tastes a little under done to me. I notice a little black licorice note as well. It doesn’t not say Christmas but it seems tilted to, dare I say, pastry stout? Apple cider and a yeasty bread roll version.
Time to finally review the 2021 version (or 47th version) of Anchor Brewing’sholiday seasonal.
2021 pours a dark brown almost black with a nice latte rim of lace on top. Upon first inspection the aroma is citrus meets mulling spices. Very holiday indeed. There is more of a hop hit this year. Within distance of a black IPA. Nice roasty finish. A very filling beer. If my poor memory serves, this is one of my favorite iterations of this classic.
There was much internet gnashing of teeth when Anchor Brewing unveiled their new anchor design. I am still on the fence. I like the spare look but I do feel a sense of history lost. That being said, I do like this new addition to their line-up. The name is great and you really can’t go wrong without mango in a beer.
When I think of Anchor Brewing, I don’t think lederhosen. But the Bay Area brewery has their spin of the Oktoberfest style with Haus Fest. Normally this ground has been ceded to a Chico brewery but it would be a good side-by-side drinking comparison.
Anchor Brewing has entered the helping business with their Stay Strong SF campaign. They hooked up with Bay Area artist, Jeremy Fish who created and put up “special artwork across several boarded up bars and restaurants across the city. The design is a modern twist to the San Francisco flag, with a Phoenix rising from the ashes. Every poster has a QR code that directs you to donate to the United States Bartenders Guild.” If you have left your heart in SF you can get a poster which are available to download for free HERE.
You really have to start any Christmas beer review with the undisputed King which is Anchor Merry Christmas. “The 2019 edition of this established holiday delight lends velvety spices and rich flavors of roasted malts, western evergreens and subtle hints of Mexican chocolate.”
I would call this a return to form for Anchor. The 2019 edition of Our Special Ale has a bit more kick to it than past years. I am getting spice (cinnamon) and some pine / Christmas tree notes. It tastes more bubbly this year as well. There is a slight cola tinge at the back to add a little depth. The only flavor I am not getting is the Mexican chocolate but that could be just a me thing. This is a Claus approved beer.
I am a huge proponent of the charity beer be it all the proceeds, part of the proceeds or even just raising awareness. Anchor Brewing has added a new IPA to their line-up, Baykeeper to honor that group’s 30th anniversary of being an advocate for one of the most iconic bays in the world.
I am happy for the recent Pale Ale trend. Granted some may be more IPA than pale but it is a better canvas, in my opinion, for these single hop showcases and we get another from Anchor Brewing with their new Citra Hop Blend of Brewers’ Pale Ale. According to the press releases, the beer “boasts a citrus-forward flavor profile with bright aromatics of tangerine, Meyer lemon and melons.”
Looks like Anchor is adding more IPA to their line-up. Not surprising in this hop fueled market and they have gone tried and true with the name as well. Fog Breaker is very San Francisco. That can be read as snide but it actually isn’t, I think the label straddles the brand icon of the brewery while adding a little freshness. I think it will pop on shelves and hopefully taste wise as well.
Time to head back to the legacy breweries and try some of their new (and new-ish) offerings.
~LIGHT Anchor/ Brewer’s Pale Ale5.3% ABV “Brewers’ Pale Ale is a bright and fruity American Pale Ale bursting with hop aroma and flavor. Its appearance is straw colored with a creamy, white head and nice lacing. The ale has aromas of grapefruit, passion fruit, citrus peels and dank piney hops. It’s a crisp and quaffable Pale Ale packed with complex hop flavor, finishing fairly dry with a nice balanced drinkability.”>
~MEDIUM Allagash/ Map 407.5% ABV “Map 40 is a Belgian-style stout blended with cold-brewed coffee from Speckled Ax. Black in body with a tan, reddish-tinged head, this beer’s aroma is strong in coffee and light in roasted grain. Brewed with dark chocolate malt, chocolate malt, roasted barley, and brown malt. A light nuttiness accompanies tastes of chocolate, raisin, and a resounding coffee note that weaves its way throughout. This is a rich, creamy stout with a clean finish.”>
~DARK Pizza Port/ Bacon and Eggs8.0% ABV “With award-winning cold-pressed coffee from Bird Rock Roasters of La Jolla, this Coffee Porter is black in color with a khaki tan head. Strong coffee flavors with rich chocolate and roasted malts. ”>
All of these beers can be found at Sunset Beer Co. (unless they got bought up real quick)