Dec 272014
 

Welcome to day fourteen of fourteen days of Anchor Christmas spanning 14 years of the beer. You can view the back story and the tasting for 200120022003200420052006200720082009201020112012 and 2013.

Anchor Christmas 2014

Anchor Christmas 2014

Day 14: Anchor Christmas 2014

Tree: Giant Sequoia, Sequoiadendron giganteum

Anchor Label 

Neck Label Text: This is the fortieth “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: Founders Brewing Tulip glass. We’re up to the current year. All of the qualities of the annual Our Special Ale are present. The caramel, malty, raisin taste along with the spice / piney taste from the added spices and hops. This is a great winter beer whether you’ve aged it or not. I always look forward to a six pack each November / December as a part of my holiday tradition.

Recap: Overall, I think my vertical fourteen year tasting has kept in line with what I read from others. This beer holds up really well for the first three or four years and generally goes down from there.

  • 2011-2014 : Generally great. Exactly what you expect and aging does change the flavor a bit
  • 2009-2010: These didn’t hold up well.
  • 2007-2008: These were oddly good although 2007 had something going on with its smell.
  • 2001-2006: It’s a real mixed bag but generally these didn’t hold up very well

Other Observations:

  • The text on the neck label changed subtly over the years including expanding the production period in 2003.
  • They added a label on the back in 2002.
  • They didn’t give the scientific name (Ginko Biloba) on the 2010 label for some reason.

Cheers!

Dec 252014
 

Welcome to day thirteen of fourteen days of Anchor Christmas spanning 14 years of the beer. You can view the back story and the tasting for 20012002200320042005200620072008200920102011 and 2012.

Anchor Christmas 2013

Anchor Christmas 2013

Day 13: Anchor Christmas 2013

Tree: California White Fir, Abies Concolor

Anchor Label 

Neck Label Text: This is the thirty-ninth “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: Founders Brewing Tulip glass. As with yesterday, we’re in the sweet spot for aging on Anchor Christmas at just 1-3 years. It’s still pretty much what you expect. It may have changed a bit, but it’s still the same. Same spruce / evergreen taste along with the other flavors like chocolate, a bit of molasses and that light “leathery” taste. It’s all “brighter” in taste than those that have aged past three years. It’s good stuff. We’ll close this out with 2014 next.

Cheers!

 

 

Dec 232014
 

Welcome to day twelve of fourteen days of Anchor Christmas spanning 14 years of the beer. You can view the back story and the tasting for 2001200220032004200520062007200820092010 and 2011.

Anchor Christmas 2012

Anchor Christmas 2012

Day 12: Anchor Christmas 2012

Tree: Norfolk Island Pine, Araucaria heterophylla

Anchor Label 

Neck Label Text: This is the thirty-eighth “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: Founders Brewing Tulip glass. 2012 tastes pretty much like I expect a current version of Anchor Christmas to taste. There’s not much remarkable about this one compared to the standard of Anchor Christmas that I have in my head. It’s funny because Anchor recently posted about aging the annual brew on its Twitter feed, Ask Bob Brewer Aging Anchor Christmas Ale. He recommends that the first three years out are good, the next two, not bad and then anything past is unremarkable and not good. I’d say that my experience has varied a bit from that but it’s pretty close. Two to go!

Cheers!

 

Dec 222014
 

Welcome to day eleven of fourteen days of Anchor Christmas spanning 14 years of the beer. You can view the back story and the tasting for 200120022003200420052006200720082009 and 2010.

Anchor Christmas 2011

Anchor Christmas 2011

Day 11: Anchor Christmas 2011

Tree: Great Basin Bristlecone Pine, Pinus longaeva

Anchor Label 

Neck Label Text: This is the thirty-seventh “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: Founders Brewing Tulip glass. 2011 is an improvement over 2009 and 2010. Decent nose. Good flavor on the front end and still good carbonation. This is what I typically think of when I remember the flavor of Anchor Christmas and I think all of the flavors have aged well. We’ll reserve judgement until the end, but four years may be the ideal age for this beer. There’s a bit of the spruce / evergreen spice. The flavors are well balanced. If you have a 2011 around the house, drink it now….or wait another four years and hope the 2007 that I had wasn’t a fluke.

Cheers!

Dec 212014
 

Welcome to day ten of fourteen days of Anchor Christmas spanning 14 years of the beer. You can view the back story and the tasting for 20012002200320042005200620072008 and 2009.

Anchor Christmas 2010

Anchor Christmas 2010

Day 10: Anchor Christmas 2010

Tree: Maidenhair Tree, Ginko Biloba

Anchor Label – An interesting note on the main label. It doesn’t actually give the tree name. Typically, the scientific name is somewhere on the label, but not this year.

Neck Label Text: This is the thirty-sixth “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: Founders Brewing Tulip glass. 2010 has some tastes in common with 2009. It also seems kind of thin and lifeless. There’s a small hint of some of the things on the nose that I got much stronger in the years that sat longer, but it’s just barely there. It does have more of the evergreen / spruce flavor to it than 2009, but it’s still not as good as some of the earlier years. The carbonation is steadily improving as we get closer to the present year.

Cheers!

Dec 212014
 

Welcome to day nine of fourteen days of Anchor Christmas spanning 14 years of the beer. You can view the back story and the tasting for 2001200220032004200520062007 and 2008.

Anchor Christmas 2009

Anchor Christmas 2009

Day 9: Anchor Christmas 2009

Tree: Monterey Cypress, Cupressus macrocarpa

Anchor Label

Neck Label Text: This is the thirty-fifth “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. I’ve got one word for 2009. Yuck. I’m not sure what happened here. Both the nose and the flavor are flat. The beer seems very thin compared to other years. I’m not sure if something went wrong here or if this was a bad year. I’ll check out the reviews at the time of release when I do the recap. This is the worst of the nine so far. I may not even finish the bottle.

Cheers!

Dec 202014
 

I’m riding in the MS 150  in 2015. It’ll be my third year participating in the event. I blogged about it last year and you can view a set of photos from 2013  and 2014.

MS 150 2014

MS 150 2014

If you’re unfamiliar with the event, it’s a 150 mile bike ride from Houston to Austin over two days to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis. My company has sponsored this event for the past five years. It took me two years to work up the nerve to ride a bike from Houston to Austin after not touching a bike for more than 15 years and not doing much exercising for several years. I needed something to kick me in the butt. This certainly did it and it has really paid off. Since starting to train for last year’s ride in January of 2013, I’ve ridden 2938 miles (1,681 this year so far). I use Strava to keep track of rides. The first day is roughly 86 miles and the second day is 67. In 2014, I managed to take a video through one of the small towns, Fayetteville, where everyone comes out to celebrate and encourage the riders (here’s a shot of me taking the video). Hopefully this year, I’ll remember to shoot in landscape and not portrait. I also took the challenge ride on the second day which brings you through Bastrop State Park. My goal this year is to do all of that again and ride 100 miles the first day.

You can donate via my participant page. Any little bit helps and is much appreciated. Each rider has to reach a minimum fundraising goal of $400 prior to the event. This year, the ride is on April 18th and 19th and they’ve moved up the deadline for fundraising.

Since getting a bike for our oldest this past January, he’s been riding with me when he can. My hope is to get the entire family involved in one way or another so we can bike around Austin. The city has really added a lot of bike lanes in the past year.

We typically do at least one supported training ride in the lead up to the MS 150. I haven’t yet chosen which rides I will do this year, but it’ll likely be the LBJ 100. I also send e-mail updates to donors as the ride gets closer and during the ride itself.

Thanks for supporting an event that makes a difference in the lives of those with multiple sclerosis and for encouraging something that has given back so much to me.

Dec 192014
 

Welcome to day eight of fourteen days of Anchor Christmas spanning 14 years of the beer. You can view the back story and the tasting for 200120022003200420052006 and 2007.

Anchor Christmas 2008

Anchor Christmas 2008

Day 8: Anchor Christmas 2008

Tree: Jeffrey Pine, Pinus jeffreyi

Anchor Label

Neck Label Text: This is the thirty-fourth “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. You know the one. Coffee is the first thing that comes to mind. A little orange on the nose. Some chocolate on the finish. This one also has a bit of that leather, tobacco, cherry, raisin, fig flavor to it. Things are definitely improving as we move closer to the present year. Six years out is pretty good. Not much spice on this one or much of the spruce/evergreen taste. The carbonation is definitely holding up better as well.

Cheers!

 

Dec 182014
 

Welcome to day seven of fourteen days of Anchor Christmas spanning 14 years of the beer. You can view the back story and the tasting for 20012002200320042005 and 2006.

Anchor Christmas 2007

Anchor Christmas 2007

Day 7: Anchor Christmas 2007

Tree: Valley Oak, Quercus lobata

Anchor Label

Neck Label Text: This is the thirty-third “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.

This one has the worst water damage to the label from condensation on the bottle (see photo).

Tasting Notes: Guess which glass? I had some Jester King / Live Oak Kollaborationsbier before this one so hopefully that won’t taint my palate. Maybe I should try some water first. Ok, so this one has something off about the smell. It’s a lighter brown than the previous years. The taste is actually not bad, but I’m going to stop smelling this one. Since it had the most label damage, it might’ve been the most affected by the warm up when one of my lovely offspring left the garage refrigerator door open. I’m actually enjoying the taste though. It’s different and reminds me of something that I can’t quite place. I’m thinking leather. And tobacco. It’s really growing on me. The previous years had a harshness at the end. That’s completely missing from this one. I’d love to be able to find another 2007 to compare. Again, I’m going to go back and look at people’s notes when it was released in my recap at the end. This one might be the nicest so far.

Cheers!

 

Dec 172014
 

Welcome to day six of fourteen days of Anchor Christmas spanning 14 years of the beer. You can view the back story and the tasting for 2001200220032004 and 2005.

Day 6: Anchor Christmas 2006

Anchor Christmas 2006

Anchor Christmas 2006

Tree: European Beech, Fagus sylvatica

Anchor Label

Neck Label Text: This is the thirty-second 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. You know the glass. And the eight year old Our Special Ale also tastes like raisins. There’s a little spice at the end, but it’s very similar to 2005.

I need to go onto Beer Advocate or another one of those sites to check the reviews to see if the flavors at the time of release show the same pattern with age or not. I’ll probably do a table at the end with comparisons, but I don’t want to taint my opinion until I’m done with all of these.