Holiday Beer 2011 #3: 2 Wassails

First let me get to the new kid on the block: Rivertown Winter Ale, from Lockland, Ohio. This is a big time local wassail where Rivertown reveals its Cincinnati location. Its use of cinnamon reminds me immediately of locally famous Gold Star Chili, just a bit, despite its 7.5% strength, a remarkably drinkable ale. A smooth-spicy experience, with molasses providing additional fermentation, and of course the cinnamon. A  home town recipe to be sure.

Then there is the 37th edition of Anchor’s famous “Our Special Ale”. A Christmas wassail that uses the signature spruce profile, but in a more subtle presentation. It reminds me of James D. Robertson’s comments that the first few “special ales” were not wassails at all. This latest version serves as a reminder of its holiday roots, where spices compliment, rather than overwhelm, the final presentation.
Incredibly well made. I also recall recall what a sales representative from Anchor told me a couple months ago: that the parameters of the basic recipe have been thoroughly established. Who knows? Next year’s recipe may not be a spiced ale at all.


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