Dec 172014
 

Welcome to day five of fourteen days of Anchor Christmas spanning 14 years of the beer. You can view the back story and the tasting for 200120022003, and 2004.

Day 5: Anchor Christmas 2005

Anchor Christmas 2005

Anchor Christmas 2005

Tree: California Live Oak, Quercus agrifolia

Anchor Label

Neck Label Text: This is the thirty-first Our Special Ale from the brewers at Anchor. It is sold only from early November to mid-January. The Ale’s recipe is different every year, but the intent with which we offer it remains the same: joy and celebration of the newness of life. In ancient times trees symbolized the winter solstice when the earth with its seasons appears born anew.

Tasting Notes: Tulip glass once again. The same glass. Because. Anyway, I have one word for the thirty-first incarnation after sitting for nine years: raisins. It tastes like raisins. The carbonation continues to improve as we get to the more recent years. There’s not much on the nose this time either.

 

 Posted by on December 17, 2014 at 7:30 pm
Dec 152014
 

Welcome to day four of fourteen days of Anchor Christmas spanning 14 years of the beer. You can view the back story and the tasting for 20012002 and 2003.

Day 4: Anchor Christmas 2004 (3o years)

Anchor Christmas 2004

Anchor Christmas 2004

Tree: Inspired by the original Christmas Ale tree

Anchor Label

Neck Label Text: This is the thirtieth Special Ale from the brewers at Anchor. It is sold only from early November to mid-January. The Ale’s recipe is different every year, but the intent with which we offer it remains the same: joy and celebration of the newness of life. In ancient times trees symbolized the winter solstice when the earth with its seasons appears born anew. 30 years is prominently printed in the center of the neck label.

Tasting Notes: Tulip glass. 2o04 is the thirtieth year. I’m sounding a bit repetitive here, but 2004 pretty much falls in line with the previous three years. I think the carbonation is holding up a bit better this year. There’s more of the spruce / evergreen spice taste this year than last. I’m also noticing that the nose much more closely matches the taste for me this year. I’m also getting more chocolate notes this year. I missed tasting yesterday, so I had to taste 2003 and 2004 back to back. I think I’m enjoying 2004 the most so far.

This year also has the green label on the back with what I assume is a lot number along with the bar code, government warning and the recycling information.

 Posted by on December 15, 2014 at 8:38 pm
Dec 152014
 

I started my fourteen days of Anchor Christmas spanning 14 years of the beer. You can view the back story and the tasting for 2001 and 2002.

Day 3: Anchor Christmas 2003

Anchor Christmas 2003

Anchor Christmas 2003

Tree: Sitka Spruce, Picea Sitchensis

Anchor Label

Neck Label Text: This is the twenty-ninth Special Ale from the brewers at Anchor. It is sold from early November to January. The Ale’s recipe is different every year, but the intent with which we offer it remains the same: joy and celebration of the newness of life. In ancient times trees symbolized the winter solstice when the earth with its seasons appears born anew. Pine cone drawn by Meriwether Lewis on Feb. 18, 1806 – Courtesy American Philosophical Society

Tasting Notes: Tulip glass. Hardly any nose on 2003. A bit of coffee. A bit of spruce. A bit of chocolate. It’s pretty thin. Again, there’s not much carbonation left. I think there’s a bit less of the aging aftertaste that I got with ’01 and ’02. I plowed through this one more quickly than the first two, so I’ll say that this one was a bit more drinkable. That probably goes with it being a little thinner. I’d be curious if old reviews agree that this was not as full bodied as the previous two years.

Note that the neck label is a bit different than the previous two years with an extra note along the bottom about the pine cone. There’s also a green label on the back.

Stay tuned for 2004 up next.

 Posted by on December 15, 2014 at 8:17 pm
Dec 132014
 

I started my fourteen days of Anchor Christmas yesterday. You can view the back story and the tasting for 2001 here.

Day 2: Anchor Christmas 2002

Anchor Christmas 2002

Anchor Christmas 2002

Tree: Fremont Cottonwood, Populus Fremontii

Anchor Label

Neck Label Text: This is the twenty-eighth Special Ale from the brewers at Anchor. It is sold only from late November to early January. The Ale’s recipe is different every year, but the intent with which we offer it remains the same: joy and celebration of the newness of life. In ancient times trees symbolized the winter solstice when the earth with its seasons appears born anew.

Tasting Notes: Again, I’m using the tulip glass. The nose on 2002 is not as prominent as 2001. This one definitely has more of a molasses taste to it. I can still tell that it’s been sitting for a while. Again, there’s not much carbonation left. Honestly, there’s not much of a difference between 2001 and 2002 in taste profile. I do get a little more of the evergreen / spicy taste on this one if I drink out of the bottle. Maybe a bit more chocolate too.

Part of the fun of doing this is also trying to remember what I was doing the year that it was released. Late 2002 would’ve been the birth of our second child.

Here’s my untappd profile where I’m also checking in with these and trying to keep up with my beers in general.

 Posted by on December 13, 2014 at 5:13 pm
Dec 122014
 

Back in 2001, I decided to keep a bottle of Anchor Christmas on a whim to possibly do a comparison tasting. Fourteen years later, I’ve got fourteen versions of Anchor Christmas. Starting today, I’m going to do a tasting of one per day leading up to Christmas Day 2014. I had toyed with the idea of throwing a vertical tasting party with some friends and trying them all at once over the course of an evening, but after searching around, it seems that the beer’s ability to survive that many years is very hit or miss. I didn’t want to throw a party, invite people and find that half of them are undrinkable. Plus, I still have all but one of the Stone Vertical Epics that I need to taste and that one’s worth throwing a party.

Here’s a quick roundup of the multi-year tastings that I could find:

There’s also this recent feature on Anchor Christmas from the San Jose Mercury News.

I’ll be interested to see if I notice some of the same patterns as I try out all fourteen of these. One note on my batch, one of the kids left my garage fridge open enough one summer several years ago that at least half of these on the older end were exposed to some Texas summer heat. I don’t know if that will affect my results. That’s also why some of the labels are a bit warped, especially 2007. The bottles sweat, making the labels wet, which caused some of the label to separate from the bottle.

Fourteen years of Anchor Christmas

Fourteen years of Anchor Christmas

Let’s get started with 2001, shall we?

Anchor Christmas 2001

Anchor Christmas 2001

I’m using a tulip glass to get the full aroma and flavors of each beer as I taste it. I’m also going to power through each one even if I’m not very fond of it. I’m aiming to see if the flavor profile changes over time as the temperature changes and as I’ve had more of the beer.

Day 1: Anchor Christmas 2001

Tree: California Fan Palm, Washingtonia Filifera

Anchor Label

Neck Label Text: This is the twenty-seventh Special Ale from the brewers at Anchor. It is sold only from late November to early January. The Ale’s recipe is different every year, but the intent with which we offer it remains the same: joy and celebration of the newness of life. In ancient times trees symbolized the winter solstice when the earth with its seasons appears born anew.

Tasting Notes: 

My first reaction is that it’s not great. I deliberately poured it a bit vigorously to ensure some head, but the carbonation died off pretty quickly as you can see from the photo. The taste and especially the nose reminds me a bit of what I remember Sam Adams Triple Bock tasting. There’s a bit of a molasses flavor. It’s still pretty sweet and full up front, but the finish is metallic. I don’t get much of the pine that I remember from other years. I’m noticing some tastes that I’ve typically attributed to bourbon barrel aging, but perhaps some of that is just the affects of aging? This has just been in the bottle in my fridge. My wife thinks the smell is great but is underwhelmed with the taste. She says there’s not much body. I have to agree with her that it’s pretty thin. I started eating a carrot ginger curry soup towards the end and it totally overpowered the beer.

Anchor Christmas 2001 Opened

Anchor Christmas 2001 Opened

Part of me wishes I had done tasting notes with each of these at the time that they were released so I could compare them to what I thought when it was released. Perhaps an idea for 2014-2028?

Come back tomorrow for 2002’s tasting!

 Posted by on December 12, 2014 at 5:20 pm
Apr 222014
 

Chobani Blueberry PowerI’ve publicly announced my love of the Chobani Blueberry Power Flip yogurt in the past. You can imagine my confusion when I bought some this week only to find that they’d replaced the hemp seeds with pumpkin and sunflower seeds. I started to wonder about the reason for the substitution. So I did what any person with a burning and important question does these days. I googled it!

This quickly revealed the reason for my loss: The Air Force! Yes, just because the United States Air Force is worried about trace amounts of THC, Chobani voluntarily removed hemp seeds from their Blueberry Flip yogurt. According to the Air Force, the number of active duty members is somewhere around 327,000. The US Census approximates the number of US residents at nearly 318,000,000. So, Chobani has decided that one one-thousandth of the US population gets to decide what the rest of us can or can’t have in our yogurt.

Thanks, Air Force!

 Posted by on April 22, 2014 at 5:11 pm
Sep 222007
 

My mother used to make this eggnog for an annual holiday party when I was a kid. It was legendary for its potency. I got her to fax me the recipe earlier this year. I’m going to make it this year.

Here it is:

50 Servings

1 dozen eggs 2 cups sugar
3 cups apricot brandy 1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups rum 2 tablespoons vanilla
2 cups Grand Marnier 3 pints whipping cream
3 cups bourbon 1 gallon milk
1 1/2 cups Drambuie

16 Servings

4 eggs 3/4 cup sugar
1 cup apricot brandy Dash of salt
1 cup rum 1 tablespoon vanilla
3/4 cup Grand Marnier 1 pint whipping cream
1 cup bourbon 1 quart plus 1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup Drambuie

Separate eggs, beat yolks, add sugar, brandy, rum, Grand Marnier, bourbon, Drambuie, salt and vanilla. Chill. Beat egg whites until stiff. Beat whipping cream until peaks form, fold in egg whites and add to milk. Stir; then stir both milk and liquor mixtures together. Chill at least 1 hour before serving. Will keep 2 weeks in refrigerator.

 Posted by on September 22, 2007 at 11:16 am
Aug 212007
 

We were invited to a birthday dinner party for a friend. Her husband is an owner of a local restaurant, so they prepared a special tasting menu just for the occasion. Here’s what we had (more for my memory than anything else because I’ll forget):

Reception – Veuve Cliquot

Primer Curso – Sweet Corn Pann Cotta, Cucumber Aspic and Marinated Tasmanian Crab Meat
(Wine: Sancerre, Daniel Chotard)

Antipasti – Belgium White Endive with Rabbit Confit, Concord Grapes, Marcona Almonds and Honey Aioli  (Wine: Chassagne – Montrachet “Vielles Vignes”, Domaine Amoit & Fils 2005)

Pasta – Housemade Taccheroni Pasta with Tomato Conserva, White Mushrooms and Prawns (Wine: Gevre-Chambertin, Primer Cru “La Perriere”, Domaine L. Boillot 2005)

Piatti Fuerte – Prime Beef Tenderloin, Point Reyes Blue Cheese, Crispy Faro Olives and Sauce Bordelaise (Wine: Chateau Lynch Bages, Grand Cru Classe, Pauillac 2003)

Dolci – An assortment of desserts shared by everyone

The wines and food were amazing. I’m not sure who got the treat out of this one, the birthday girl or the guests.

 Posted by on August 21, 2007 at 3:46 pm
Jun 072007
 

I don’t know what it is, but lately I’ve been getting hammered with comment spam, which seems really odd since this blog has essentially become a mirror of my delicious links with a few legitimate posts thrown in for good measure.

I’ve got a few posts that I’ve been meaning to complete for several weeks, but for now I’ll pass on from Kristy that Sonic is having free root beer floats from 8pm-midnight tonight to promote their later hours. Mmmmm…root beer. Anybody know if they use real root beer or that caffeine-laced stuff like Barq’s?

 Posted by on June 7, 2007 at 12:07 pm