Anchor 41st Annual Christmas Ale

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by tfischl, Nov 4, 2015.

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  1. tfischl

    tfischl Initiate (124) Dec 28, 2005 Indiana

    Not sure if this has been posted yet, I always enjoy what they have to offer each year and looking forward to this one!

    Anchor Brewing Releases their 41st Annual Christmas Ale

    November 02, 2015

    San Francisco, CA (November 2, 2015) – Anchor Brewing Company announces the release of the 2015 Anchor Christmas Ale; a rich, complex, and dark spiced seasonal ale that marks the 41st annual release of this Anchor tradition.

    Sold only from early November to mid-January, Christmas Ale’s recipe is different every year, as is the tree on the label, but the intent with which Anchor offers it remains the same: joy and celebration of the newness of life. With a heavily guarded secret recipe, Christmas Ale is a highly anticipated seasonal brew, complex and full in flavor with a velvety texture and alluring, yet subtle spiced aroma.

    “This year, we took a less-is-more approach to the Christmas Ale recipe, using fewer ingredients that can really shine through,” said Anchor Brewmaster Mark Carpenter. “With fewer secret spices, this year’s Christmas Ale is a nod to early Christmas Ale recipes when the malt flavors were more pronounced. As a result, the beer has fruity and roasted malt notes accompanied by a Christmas tree aroma and smooth, chocolate-like texture. The 2015 Christmas is one to remember and we are thrilled to continue to entice beer fans with its ever-changing recipe and label, which we think makes the holidays all the more fun!”

    Along with an evolving recipe, Christmas Ale portrays a new label every year. Since ancient times, trees have symbolized the winter solstice when the earth, with its seasons, appears born anew. The tree depicted on the 2015 Christmas Ale is the Deodar Cedar (Cedrus deodara), better known as the California Christmas Tree. Native of the Himalayas, it takes its name from the ancient Sanskrit devad?ru, meaning timber of the gods. This coniferous evergreen, with its gracefully droopy branches and blue-green needles, has been a San Francisco favorite for over 150 years. The tree on this year’s label was hand-drawn by Bay Area artist James Stitt, who has been creating Christmas Ale labels since 1975. His charming illustration of the Deodar Cedar evokes the radiant beauty of Anchor Brewing’s arboreal neighbors as well as the spirit of the season.

    Christmas Ale is available in 6-packs and impressive gold-foiled magnum bottles, as well as on draught in select bars and restaurants including the Anchor Brewing Taproom and Anchor Beer Garden at The Yard in San Francisco.

    For more information on the history of Anchor Christmas Ale, please watch our Anchor Christmas Ale Video. Find a brew near you using the Anchor Beer Finder, or learn more about Anchor Brewing at

    About Anchor Brewing Company
    Anchor Brewing Company’s roots date back to the California Gold Rush making it one of America’s oldest breweries. Its Anchor Steam® Beer is San Francisco’s original since 1896. In 1965, Fritz Maytag acquired and revived the struggling brewery at a time when mass production of beer dominated and seemed unstoppable. Maytag started a revolution in beer that originated today’s craft beer movement. An undisputed icon, Anchor is America’s first craft brewery where beers are handmade in our traditional copper brewhouse from an all-malt mash. At Anchor, we practice the time-honored art of classical brewing, employing state-of-the-art methods to ensure that our beers are always pure and fresh. We know of no brewery in the world that matches our efforts to combine traditional, natural brewing with such carefully applied, modern methods of sanitation, finishing, packaging and transporting. See what we are brewing today at

    - See more at:

    mod edit: link fixed
    #1 tfischl, Nov 4, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 5, 2015
  2. The_Snow_Bird

    The_Snow_Bird Poo-Bah (1,774) May 7, 2015 Florida

    Christmas tree smell and chocolate texture, sounds good.
    frasergrove and 1000lbgrizzly like this.
  3. Silver_Leviathan

    Silver_Leviathan Initiate (0) Aug 5, 2014 Florida

    Top-tier Christmas Beer, every year
    1000lbgrizzly likes this.
  4. Jaycase

    Jaycase Meyvn (1,374) Jan 13, 2007 Illinois

    Among the best beer labels in the business imo

    fehrminator, Gemini6, Johnct and 20 others like this.
  5. Hoos78

    Hoos78 Aspirant (285) Mar 3, 2015 Ohio

    ericwo, dcotom, TrojanRB and 4 others like this.
  6. frasergrove

    frasergrove Savant (916) Apr 11, 2015 California

    I'd love to see a note of chocolate itself! (Or perhaps cocoa)
    The_Snow_Bird likes this.
  7. wordemupg

    wordemupg Poo-Bah (4,207) Feb 11, 2009 Canada (AB)
    Society Trader

    I love the big magnum bottles of this stuff, they just look awesome.
  8. zp6167a

    zp6167a Aspirant (250) Apr 19, 2011 District of Columbia

    Look forward to this every year. Never disappoints!
    ericwo and chrismann65 like this.
  9. chinchill

    chinchill Poo-Bah (9,827) Feb 29, 2008 South Carolina

    Yeah, that label helps make it a nice gift -- and no wrapping required.
  10. Giantspace

    Giantspace Champion (841) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Look forward every year all are good but done are great. 2010 was great. This one sound really good.

  11. paulys55

    paulys55 Zealot (502) Aug 2, 2010 Pennsylvania

    Our Special Ale is one of the few spiced beers I like, just not a big fan of most spiced beers but I do enjoy this one and it holds a special place in my belly.
    BeerVikingSailor likes this.
  12. tobelerone

    tobelerone Poo-Bah (2,854) Dec 1, 2010 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Anyone have any experience with vintage Magnums? There is a place I find myself in on occasion that has numerous dust covered magnums of this beer from various years - some VERY old - but I haven't pulled the trigger yet. I suspect that some of these might be pretty awful at this point, like that old bottle of nutmeg from 1997 you forgot about at the back of the pantry.
    BeerVikingSailor likes this.
  13. paulys55

    paulys55 Zealot (502) Aug 2, 2010 Pennsylvania

    There are people on here that have done some insane verticals of this so someone should chime in. I would just be worried about how they were stored.
  14. tobelerone

    tobelerone Poo-Bah (2,854) Dec 1, 2010 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    The place in question is generally pretty dark, with only a few windows coated with dust and grime so I wouldn't worry too much about light being an issue. Also tends to be fairly cool - the owner wears a coat inside during the winter months.

    A+ and a star to whoever can identify the spot I'm talking about. Big hint, located in Rockland county, NY.
  15. ONovoMexicano

    ONovoMexicano Poo-Bah (2,831) Jun 14, 2012 New Mexico

    If you offer beer, you'll get more contestants.
    PatrickCT, chrismann65 and tobelerone like this.
  16. vileplume

    vileplume Initiate (0) Sep 27, 2015 Arizona

    Just sits around these parts. I guess there's not much of a christmas vibe in the desert...
  17. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,647) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    I think I have ~10 years going at the moment, or close to it.

    I'll be totally honest, I notice subtle differences at best between aged Anchor Christmas Ale's, and fresh ones. And my opinion also goes for the year to year differences. Tastes like a very similar beer to me each year, albeit one that I adore and is a welcome reminder of the Christmas season.

    Why do I keep storing them then? Because it's easy enough to stash a few away from a six pack or two each season. I'll report back what I find this year!

  18. BeerVikingSailor

    BeerVikingSailor Savant (932) Nov 19, 2009 Ohio

    I always look forward to this every year....I now have OSA vintages going back to 2008, so with this year, I will have 8 years worth.....they age very well, and I have several of the nice magnums as well; they make great holiday gifts at around $14.99 / magnum.....

    Who else but Anchor would be putting out a delicious holiday ale for 41 years straight??

    Great stuff, get some! Spread the festive holiday spirit with a well made, great tasting beer!

  19. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,803) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Anyone know the price-per-six-pack this year? Kept me away last year.
  20. BeerVikingSailor

    BeerVikingSailor Savant (932) Nov 19, 2009 Ohio

    If I were you, I would splurge on a few of those magnums.....perhaps ask if they can cut you a deal on a few of them, given they are dusty and all! They hold up great typically!
    chrismann65 and tobelerone like this.
  21. BeerVikingSailor

    BeerVikingSailor Savant (932) Nov 19, 2009 Ohio

    OSA is usually in the $10-11.99 / sixer range in NE Ohio.....prices will vary greatly from state to state....I see Anchor beers in NJ for $8.99 and they are always a couple bucks more a six here in NE Ohio
    chrismann65 likes this.
  22. zeff80

    zeff80 Poo-Bah (12,473) Feb 6, 2006 Missouri

    Had it every year since 2006. So I guess this will be 10 straight years.
    chrismann65 likes this.
  23. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,803) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    I'm pretty sure it was closer to $15* a six-pack in my area last year. Seemed out of hand, but maybe I didn't look for it at enough places.

    As others have been posting, I've been drinking the OSA for a long time and have a decent stash that goes back a few years, but I think the shine is wearing off. I mean, it's a good beer and great for a seasonal treat, but the rising price doesn't reflect the beer itself. Look at Celebration -- still at $9 over the last couple years. SN could be jacking the price up on that because it's a once-a-year special, but they haven't.

    *See it at Binny's in our area for $13, so maybe I should have looked beyond the local beer shop.
  24. BeerVikingSailor

    BeerVikingSailor Savant (932) Nov 19, 2009 Ohio

    I have not seen any major rising prices on this beer over the past few years, and Anchor (or any brewer for that matter) has no control over what retailers try to sell their beer for....

    This is a great holiday beer with a great heritage.....don't let one beer retailer "take the shine off " because they were asking way too much last season!
    chrismann65 likes this.
  25. ericwo

    ericwo Initiate (97) Aug 21, 2008 Pennsylvania

    Can't wait for this year's edition. Love to revisit it each year and love to cellar a couple bottles each year. This is one of the very few verticals I have kept up with over the years. Most of the others I started years ago, I just haven't kept up with, but I will continue to save a few bottles of this every year.
    chrismann65 likes this.
  26. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,803) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    It was a combination of the price and being burned-out on, pretty much, the same beer year-after-year. As said, I have a collection from past years dating back more than a decade.

    Nonetheless, as an "old-timer," even $13 for a six-pack is somewhat daunting when I can pay the same price for a 12 pack of good beer.
    This is an interesting statement, and I'm sure @jesskidden has addressed it in the past, but if a brewery isn't "suggesting" a retail price, how are prices so wide ranging between beers? Based on the distributors and retailers I've dealt with in the past, they really don't know much about the different beers and are getting their price-points from outside influence.
  27. BeerVikingSailor

    BeerVikingSailor Savant (932) Nov 19, 2009 Ohio

    Breweries can "suggest" a retail price point all they want (and I am sure if you asked Anchor, they would tell you their OSA should be in the $10-11 retail price range, not $14-15!!), but ultimately they have ZERO control over what a retailer charges their customers. With our lovely 3 tier distro system, it is typically the distributor who may "suggest" what a beer should be selling for anyway, after they get their cut.....most retailers have a certain set idea of what profit margin % they should be making on craft beers....which is not a lot usually. (and yes, I have been in the beer business in the past)
    chrismann65 likes this.
  28. Sturgeon83

    Sturgeon83 Disciple (316) Mar 11, 2015 Kentucky

    Just picked some up tonight. Enjoy the beer, but the packaging is always the best part.
    chrismann65 likes this.
  29. cam099

    cam099 Initiate (0) Oct 9, 2014 Connecticut

    Picked up a 6pk at TWine in Charlotte yesterday for $10.99. This is always one of my favorite holiday brews. Looking forward to whenever the magnums come in.
    chrismann65 likes this.
  30. LuskusDelph

    LuskusDelph Aspirant (255) May 1, 2008 New Jersey

    Very much looking forward to trying this year's version based on the info in that press release. OSA was a favorite of mine until around 1988 or so, which I think is the year they started using spices in the recipe. Prior to that, it was more of a traditional style holiday brew (ie., no spices) and it was a really beautiful brew.
    SirBottlecap likes this.
  31. Seanvino

    Seanvino Initiate (105) Jan 5, 2009 California

    A must buy every year since 1979. Boy am I getting old...
    ericwo and chrismann65 like this.
  32. SirBottlecap

    SirBottlecap Initiate (0) Jan 28, 2013 California

    I agree. The overload of spices is getting old, though last year it seemed toned down. I think l'll pick up a single at Trader Joe's first...
  33. laglocal

    laglocal Initiate (0) Oct 21, 2013 California

    very dialed back on spices this year....I think a goal was to make it a little more drinkable
    chrismann65 and SirBottlecap like this.
  34. SirBottlecap

    SirBottlecap Initiate (0) Jan 28, 2013 California

    Yay! I heard more good things about it today from a friend with similar tastes.
    chrismann65 likes this.
  35. dcotom

    dcotom Poo-Bah (2,592) Aug 4, 2014 Iowa
    Society Trader

    Thanks for posting this link - very cool "label tour." They should put out a set of Christmas envelope seals in these designs.
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  36. JohnnyK

    JohnnyK Disciple (305) May 24, 2006 North Carolina

    I miss the spices being dialed up to 11....

    It's not really much of a winter warmer any more
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