Holiday beer time!

OK, I've only had a few beers today so my sass quotient is on the more mellow side.

After the BrewHaHa yesterday, we stopped at Felipe's for post-beer burritos and then to Elio's for MOAR BEER. I was super excited that the Sierra Nevada Celebration and the Anchor Christmas Ale were both on the shelf. Sure, it's still shorts weather here, but I have loved both these seasonals for YEARS. I was sad when we were in San Francisco last year too early (in October) to enjoy the Christmas Ale at the Anchor Brewery.

After an extensive look at the packaging the beers came in, I cleverly gleaned that Sierra Nevada has been brewing their Celebration Ale since 1981, which makes this year's version the 29th edition of the style.

Celebration has consistently been much hoppier than other holiday seasonal beers, and this year is no exception. However, it contains more maltiness than Sierra Nevada's flagship Pale Ale. It pours a bright orange-y copper color, with good carbonation, foam, and lacing. The pine and citrus hop aroma is unmistakable - this is actually billed as a "Fresh Hop Ale" and categorized as an IPA. It's goddamned good. I am looking forward to drinking this all season long.

The Anchor Christmas Ale is surprisingly Christmas-specific in this nutty multicultural world in which we live. And damn, it tastes like Christmas. Malty, dark, warming, and delicious. I could close my eyes and imagine drinking this whilst next to a fireplace with my loved one watching the snow fall outside and hoping against hope that I don't have to slog to work in the snowy mess tomorrow. Better keep drinking these bad boys to keep my mind off that horror!

Happily, it's in the 60s here and I'm still wearing shorts and T-shirts. This perhaps bursts the illusions of chestnuts roasting on an open fire, but it doesn't make the Anchor Christmas Ale any less tasty.

The Anchor Brewery has been brewing the Christmas Ale for 36 years (In your FACE, ya young Sierra Nevada upstart!) It's gorgeous- it pours dark with a toasty brown head and ruby red highlights. Also malty and full bodied. I was surprised that it was only 5.5% ABV. It has that toasty, warming feeling that's like a beer version of a hot toddy vibe.

In conclusion: Get out there and enjoy these beers while they last, no matter where you live or whatever holiday gods you worship!

(OMG, I wonder if I can find Anderson Valley Solstice Ale down here! I accept gifts, btw.)


  1. Also worth trying is the Full Sail Wassail, which comes in at 7%ABV. It's not actually a wassail, they just call it that because the brewery is Full Sail. Wordplay! Anyway, it's another dark beer- in a weird way a combination between the Anchor and Celebration. It's dark like the Anchor Christmas and has the maltiness and hints of spice, but is hoppier. I would likely have the Celebration or Anchor Christmas given my druthers, because I'm old school that way, but the Wassail is actually pretty good. Definitely one to check out and make the comparison on your own.

    (I really thought I would hate it, based on the name.)

  2. I have always been put off somewhat by the hoppiness of Sierra Nevada's Celebration Ale, but you have to remember that I'm not a fan of hops. I sometimes think I have double the amount of bitter-sensing taste buds as the average person.

    I generally like the Anchor Christmas, and (as you know) LOVE the Anderson Valley Solstice Ale. I'm all about the malt. In spite of the gluten issues, I'm going to track down the Solstice Ale and have one very occasionally. It's worth it.


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