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Beer Pick of the Week

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Christmas Ale

Anchor Brewing

San Francisco

Style: spiced ale

Alcohol: 6.9%

IBUs: 43

Serving style: 12-oz bottles and 50.7 oz magnum bottles

Availability: Limited distribution nationally November to mid-January


Appearance:   “It’s a very dark brown—almost black—topped by a decent beige head.”

Aroma:   “It reminds me of roasting coffee. There seems to be some chocolate in the nose, too. I have at least one or two of these Christmas Ales every year, so I know there’s always a spice component. I can tell it’s there in this year’s version, but it’s subtle. I can’t identify what spice it is."

Taste:   “There’s a caramel sweetness and maltiness at first, but then some of that roasted coffee aspect comes on (maybe that’s due to a little bitterness from the hops?). A lively carbonation keeps it from seeming thick and cloying.”

Food Affinity:   “Apparently I’m one of the few people in this country who doesn’t make jokes about fruitcake—I really like it! Probably there are even fewer who enjoy a beer with a slice of their fruitcake, but the sweet and spicy notes in this Christmas Ale would make it a delightful accompaniment. It might be harder to match up with something savory. Maybe a goulash or some form of stew or braised meat?”


                    --Guest reviewer Marian Peterson opts for a craft beer when her friends are sipping their white wines.

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