Today, the 12th, marks the halfway point for the Beer Advent Calendar, and I’ve chosen one of my favorite Christmas beers for today’s Advent pick—one that has been featured every single year I’ve been doing this calendar: Anchor Christmas Ale. It was first brewed in 1975, and this year is the fortieth annual version!
Anchor is considered by some to be America’s first craft brewery since Prohibition, influencing and setting the mold for the small breweries to follow. In that vein I consider Anchor Christmas (also called “Our Special Ale”) to be the prototypical American holiday beer, from which all others followed. Each year they change the (secret) recipe, and each year they feature a different drawing of a tree on the label. This year it is the Giant Sequoia.
We chose the Giant Sequoia for our fortieth Christmas Ale in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Yosemite Act. Signed into law by President Lincoln during the Civil War, it granted the Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Big Tree Grove to the State of California “for public use, resort, and recreation.” The first such land grant in American history, it marked the beginning of the California State Parks.
Make sure not to miss this year’s Christmas Ale from Anchor, and as the message on the bottle says, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!