Have A Merry (Anchor) Christmas!

I’m a fan of Anchor Christmas. Not just the beer, but the concept is almost too simple to comprehend; and yet many don’t even try to imitate it. Release a beer every year, letting the variance in raw materials dictate the flavour of the singular recipe, and celebrate each release like a new one. Its release rounds off the year, and it’s probably the only beer I actively try to seek out at Christmas. It’s old, but new – and even the different label is something to look forward to every winter.

To me ‘2011’ seems better than the last few. I don’t refer to my tasting notes that often, but I recall (and bear in mind this is just my hazy, addled memory) 2010 being darker, and with more bitter chocolate flavour going on. Holding your glass up to the light reveals a ruby heart underneath the plum-dark cloak and tan collar. The nose only hints at cinnamon and clove, and carries an almost cola-like note. The taste, as I said previously, seems fruitier than past years; more clove, less Cinnamon, but bursting with fresh black cherry and almond notes. It rolls around your mouth, letting off little fireworks of juicy, jammy fruits, before finishing dry. As you get further down the beer, Nutmeg appears, warming the taste ever-so-subtly. I’ve been impressed this year, for sure.

When enjoyed with Stollen (Shop-bought, I must confess – I haven’t had time to make any this year), all those flavours get an extra bready, yeasty hit  – and the thick, gooey Marzipan in the bread enhances the Almond notes in the beer. It’s all very seasonal, very comforting and very German – by way of San Fransisco. Enjoying all this whilst there’s frost on the ground, novelty songs on the radio and the bauble-laden Christmas Tree looming  in the corner of the room seems very right.

While we are on the subject, why are those German Christmas treats so bloody good with Seasonal Beer? From Stollen to Lebkuchen, Cinnamon-spiked Zimsterne to spicy Pfefferkuchen; they all go so well with darker, sweeter, fruitier beers. I guess when you consider the ingredients, they share a lot of common ground.

All to often when we think of Germany and beer, our minds (well mine, anyway) turn to salty pretzels, Spaetzle and Ham Knuckles with a huge Dunkel on the side. Consider, perhaps, Germany’s lighter touch – all those sweet, sweet goodies.

Merry Christmas!

About leighgoodstuff

Blog: https://goodfoodgoodbeer.wordpress.com/ I'm Leigh Linley; born and bred in Leeds, and writing about it since 2005. TGS exists solely to highlight the great beers that are out there; brewed with passion by Craft Brewers around the World. I also edit the 'Tavern Tales' section of Culture Vulture, which looks at Pubs and Pub Life rather than the beer in the glass.

Posted on 21/12/2011, in Beer and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I did see this when down at Utobeer in Borough Market (which is itself as you probably know a foodies paradise), I picked up quite a few seasonal beers from the USA, Iceland, Germany etc, they had this in stock but only on a case of four and I just didn’t have the space DAMMIT!

    I need to try some Stollen style pairings, sounds good, cheers

  2. This year’s Anchor Christmas is really good. I’m doing a big post on the Christmas beers I’ve had which I’m hoping to finish shortly, but this is definitely one of the standouts.

  3. I’d love to try this. We don’t exactly have a good range of beers in Manila so I’ve just been adding some of the ones you recommend to my bucket list. Hopefully I’ll get to try them the next time I travel.:)

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