Today I get to drink a massive bottle of a very special ale from San Francisco, California’s Anchor Brewing Company, their 2008 Christmas Ale. Every year Anchor brews this beer with a different recipe and label but the same intent to give you a joyous brew to celebrate life. Though today is more of a bitter sweet day for me, I am sure it will be more joyous after 50.7 ounces of what is sure to be a tasty brew. The initial pour of this beer was probably more carbonated than the future ones will be but produced over 2 inches of a nice frothy light brown head that tastes of spices, caramel and nutmeg and settles in a couple of minutes. This beer really smells like Christmas , nutmeg and other sugary aromas mixed with some gentle dark malt scents including toffee. Color is very black with red hues slipping through when brought to the light. This is a very strange flavored beer. Mouthfeel is smooth, creamy and surprisingly uncarbonated, with a rather light body . Sweet is the first word I would use to describe the flavor of this beer, largely toffee. There are other nice malt flavor to round off the taste but it also seems somewhat tart which is odd. This brew wouldn’t be a bad choice to crack into during the holidays as it would compliment all of the sweets you will likely be enjoying but I have a hard time finding a balance of flavors aside from the somewhat caramelized malt that seems to be the base of this beer. Because this recipe changes yearly I do not know its ABV but it seems to be suggested that past years have been around 5.5% ABV which I would say is likely accurate after my two small glasses. Certainly a unique brew an not bad, but far too much Christmas influence for me to purchase it again, though I’ll likely check out next years batch. If your looking for something gentle to spice up the holidays this may not be a bad idea, though it is probably not for those who won’t appreciate its unique qualities. Give it a shot and ride your bike.