Saturday Night Sixer: Getting in the holiday mood

Posted: December 8, 2012 by Shilling in Beer-to-go

Greetings folks! Shilling here, filling in for the hard working Cryptogrind while he is working on a big post for the site. While he is slaving away with studying for finals and writing blog posts, I will be bringing you this week’s holiday edition of the Saturday Night Sixer.

This year's version of Anchor's seasonal is a handful.

This year’s version of Anchor’s seasonal is a handful.

With the holidays getting closer, we are beginning to see many of the nation’s microbreweries releasing their batches of winter seasonals. Well, even though New Mexico is nowhere near cold (though it will be by Sunday night), hopefully some of the newly-released beers out on the shelves will remind you what winter is like.

The one I am reviewing today is one of my favorites from Anchor Brewing: Merry Christmas, Happy New Year is a special brew hailing from the city by the bay, San Francisco. The 2012 version marks the 38th anniversary of Anchor’s special ale.

Each year Anchor uses a different recipe — the nature of which remains top secret — with a different tree on the label, and ends up creating a flavorful beer that is simply perfect for the time of year. Last year marked my first time trying this festive ale.

Last year's version of Anchor Brewing's winter seasonal was a delight.

Last year’s version of Anchor Brewing’s winter seasonal was a delight.

My good friend, Rob Palmer, a local skateboarder and home brewer, was the one that introduced me to the 37th edition last winter. My response was simple — this beer tasted like Christmas. With Merry Christmas, Happy New Year having such a well-known reputation, I’m not expecting anything less than delicious.

And I was right! The 38th edition from Anchor is dark in color, with a semi-sweet refreshing flavor with a light, hoppy bite. Served chilled, this beer reminded me of a hike in the mountains on a cool, rainy day. The smell of evergreen trees plus the aroma of slightly damp soil leave you the feeling of being bundled up in cool weather.

Of course, I may analyze beer differently than others. You might think of it simply as holiday brew. Either way, this beer is delicious.

The 2012 edition of Anchor's holiday seasonal is of a darker variety.

The 2012 edition of Anchor’s holiday seasonal is of a darker variety.

Now, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year is not the only holiday beer out there. Sam Adams has a Gingerbread Stout on sale, Sierra Nevada does a couple of different batches, Rogue has one, plus there is English Brewery Ridgeway’s Lump of Coal, JK’s Scrumpy, and not to mention many of our favorite local breweries (check out E-Rock’s weekly beer update to find out who has what on tap) are brewing up their own varieties of winter seasonals.

But if you folks are looking for something different, I highly recommend this seasonal from Anchor Brewing Company. You can pick up a six-pack or a large collector’s bottle from our friends at Jubilation Wine and Spirits on Lomas and Monte Vista.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Beer Year!

— Shilling

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