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Anchor Steam – Christmas Ale 2009

anchorsteam-christmasType of Beer: Spiced Ale

Alcohol Content: 5.5%

Beer Review –

Appearance: Pours a deep, dark red mahogany.  Coffee colored one-finger head that slowly relaxed into some of the nicest lacing I’ve seen on a seasonal beer.

Smell: Awesome. Smells like a Christmas dessert. Starts off with spearmint, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves. This is followed by a delicious sweet chocolate malt scent that screams drink me!

Initial Taste: Full bodied, rich, spicy, hoppy, malty beer. Delicious.  There is a definite taste of mint in this beer. Possibly spearmint. It combines very well with the chocolate, almost making it taste like mint chocolate. The spicy flavors of the cinnamon, nutmeg and hops are mixed beautifully with the sweet chocolaty malts that round out the ale.

Thoughts: This being my first beer seasonal beer from this popular craft brewery I have to say it didn’t disappoint. In fact this particular beer quickly become my favorite Christmas beer this winter. The spices are blended to perfection. Out of all the other winter/Christmas style beers we’ve tried we have yet to find another that uses hints of mint. This not only sets this beer apart but brings the flavor to a whole new level. Sadly I did not get the opportunity to try last year’s brew but I’m hoping they don’t change the recipe too much for next year. If you like Christmas beers and haven’t tried this beer, run as quickly as you can to your local beer store and grab a couple of these beauties. I will warn you however, falling in love with this beer can be a heart breaker as it’s only out once a year and it’s possible next year’s batch will not taste the same. So Merry Christmas and enjoy as much of this beer while it’s around. Cheers!

*You may notice there is a year (2009) in the title of this beer. This is because the recipe for this very special ale is different every year.

About Scott

Scott is the founder and co-beer taster of TheBeerCritic.com. Born in the mighty Northeast, Scott enjoys navigating by the stars, wrestling wolverines and starting campfires with nothing but his good looks. He is also a hopeless hophead. If it's not enamel melting hoppy then it's not a real beer ;)


  1. I am astonished at the perfection of this year’s seasonal ale, and I hate it that when it’s gone, it’s gone. This recipe won’t be back. That would be my complaint. Why make the perfect ale just to send it to retirement?!

  2. I agree completely with the cinnamon and especially the cloves… I also pick up a huge ginger component-it reminded me of making ginger bread houses 🙂
    Also, under ‘Thoughts’ “ABITA is known for great seasonal brews….”
    Were you drinking a few LA brews the same night you were tasting the Anchor Steam Christmas Ale? 😉

  3. Haha, you caught me in the middle of a Christmas beer-a-thon. All fixed up now. You are right, there is a nice flavor of ginger in this beer. It’s funny how with good beers the more you go back to it the more flavors you pick out. Thanks for the comments!

  4. I love my job as a liquor rep.! Over the last three weeks I’ve been offering this beer for samples at one of the main establishments here in the Stampede City,… and of course I have to sample the product first! l don’t tend to like much spices in my suds,… but I really enjoyed this brew! The flavours were fully present without overpowering as is often the case. I can say that for me, this is exceptionally malty also! I only wish I could have offered the sampling from the magnums,…. I love the left overs! lol!

  5. I’ve been drinking Anchor Steam’s winter brew for over twenty years now. They change it every year, and every year they knock it out of the park. I remember a wheat ale that Widmer couldn’t hold a candle to. I remember a molasses ale that blew my mind over and over. I remember the best nutmeg I ever drank. Don’t despair that the recipe changes every year. Just enjoy it while it’s here, like most things in life.

  6. This beer comes back out Nov 1st! I can’t wait to try the new recipe. I hope they didn’t stray too far from last years but I’m sure either way it will be a killer beer. I will post review as soon as I get my hands on it.

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