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Beer Advent Calendar Window Three - Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2015

Perhaps one of the most internationally famous Christmas beers, Anchor Brewery’s Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year enters its 41st incarnation this year. With a changing recipe each year – and a different tree design on the bottle – it is one for long standing beer enthusiasts to buy to store.

The tree of choice on the label this year is the Deador Cedar that is actually local to the brewery in San Francisco. Everything about this beer’s lovely artwork, beautiful Anchor branding and that familiar bottle shape is aesthetically pleasing. I’m a fan of this before drinking, which is always dangerous.

Once again, to keep this calendar up-to-date, this was consumed at around 11.30pm when I got home on 3rd December.

"A sequel. That’s it. We’ll bring it out on March 25, and we’ll call it … Christmas 2!"

Anchor Brewery - Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2015 (special Ale brewed with spices) 5.5% 

Sitting a lucious dark brown colour with slight off white head; the nose is surprisingly tame with quite generic dark fruit and roasted malt scents. Perhaps I’m overly tired and at this point scent descriptors and eluding me, but I’m not picking out much else. The taste, however, is sheer winter indulgence. It's warming and full bodied for its relatively tame strength. There are toasted prunes and dates, like the crispy outer layer of a pudding. There are fig leaves and damp bark, a slight Belgian dark yeast character and the occasional suggestion of blackcurrant liquorice. It's big on carbonation this fresh but everything blends well into a nutty, herby and oaky long finish.

There's something psychological about drinking Anchor Christmas Ale. Something about that beautiful, artistic label and the bottle prologue talking about winter bringing life anew creates a little Christmas feeling inside of you. There's a lust for a winter view. There's a desire for a log fire and warm blanket. Perhaps the history and those aesthetics I mentioned create an illusion of a better beer than it is. I like this more for the entire experience and occasionally that is what beer drinking - and certainly Christmas - is all about. 

Mince Pie Match Rating: 9/10 – The beer really brings out the alcohol in the mincemeat

Best paired with: Staring at a Winter View on repeat for hours (such as this), if you don’t have a real one of your own


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