This year’s “Our Special Ale” from the Anchor Brewery brings with it all the thirty two versions that preceded it, including the first five that the late great James D. Robertson pointed out, were not wassail. But since those early versions, the essential quality of Anchor’s Christmas Ale has always been the spruce essence that is present in one form another… at least in the 16 years I have sampled them.
This year’s edition gets to the core of the Anchor wassail experience. Rich in spices, quite malty this time, with an incredibly long dry finish. Poured into a non-stem pilsener glass, the rich brown color combined with multi-shaded foam makes this a first class holiday presentation. Although it is not super strong, the ale’s very full body make it difficult, even for the Beer Doctor. to drink more than one bottle.
I have been asked whether Anchor Special Ale would be a good beer to cellar. My answer: absolutely not. This very festive ale should be enjoyed during this season. Additional time would only diminish its amazing flavors. Happy holidays I say, on Saint Nikolas feast day. As always my only prayer is Thank You. The Beer Doctor.


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