Advent Beer Calendar 2010: Day 22: Anchor Christmas Ale

Anchor Christmas Ale 2010Every year for the Advent Beer Calendar I’ve made it a tradition to select Anchor Christmas Ale for one of the days, and this year is no exception. The revitalization of Anchor under Fritz Maytag is in many ways the start of the revitalization of the American craft beer movement, and their annual Christmas Ale—brewed to a different recipe and featuring a unique label every year since 1975—is the venerable “grandfather” of the seasonal beer tradition in the U.S.

This year’s vintage is brewed to 5.5% alcohol by volume; not a powerhouse, compared to some of the holiday beers out there, but then it doesn’t have to be. It’s a spiced ale but the exact recipe is always kept secret, and that (I believe) is part of the allure.

And as mentioned, every year the tree on the label is different, as well; this year it’s a Ginkgo biloba tree.

BeerAdvocate: A-. RateBeer: 3.56/5, 95th percentile.

Finally, this year as a special treat I couldn’t resist posting this:

Anchor Christmas Ale 2009 magnum

A magnum of last year’s vintage. I plan to open this one up with friends this Christmas to celebrate.