I'm a known and unapologetic homer for Christmas beers. I love them for their diversity, complexity, flavor and although it may not be cold here in Houston, they always make me want to be next to fireplace. One of the best out there, year after year is the always slightly different Anchor Our Special Ale. Beyond being a great beer, it ages incredibly well, inspiring many to age them for years and then throw together a monumental vertical tasting. Well no vertical tasting, but due to graciousness of a fellow beer lover I did get my hands on a 2004 beer. Now some folks that are used to drinking Bud won't believe drinking a 5 year old beer, but I'm here to tell you, great beer, ages greatly.
The Beer: It pours a rich brown color with a thick dense head of chestnut colored foam. The nose is full of spices, ginger, cinnamon, malts, figs, spruce trees. The mouthfeel is full and creamy, molasses, figs, spiced bread cake, rich and nutty, toffee. It just reminds one of Christmas. Time has been kind to this beer, and surprisingly left the spices in this beer in tact and still quite powerful, but balanced well with the maltiness of the beer. This was my desert beer last night, paired with a wonderfully made ginger bread cake, made with fresh ginger and the current vintage of Anchor OSA. Truly a match made in heaven.