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.

 

 

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.

 

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.

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.

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.

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!

Oct 022014
 

The first episode of Austin City Limits‘ 40th season airs this Saturday on your local PBS affiliate. This week, it’s Beck. Check out the TV Schedule page for the other air dates. Here’s a listing of the dates, bands and reviews of the original tapings that I did for the Austin Metblog.

ArtistAir DateTaping DateTaping Review
BeckSaturday, Oct. 4thSunday, Apr. 27thReview
TweedySaturday, Oct. 25thFriday, June 20thReview
Nick CaveSaturday, Nov. 1stMonday, July 21stReview

There are a bunch of new tapings during the Austin City Limits music festival weekends. Eric Church and Future Islands were last week. Jenny Lewis and Sam Smith are this week. Avett Brothers and Spoon are both doing one next week.

Aug 292014
 

I’ve been listening to Marc Maron on his WTF podcast for the past year or so. I forget where I saw it, but I got hooked with his interview with Dave Grohl at the beginning of 2013. He’s not particularly funny. He’s a great interviewer though. He’s less than ten years older than me, so he has a perspective that’s closer to my own age. I don’t know if it’s a combination of the podcast format and his ability to draw people out, but he’s gotten some really amazing conversations and interviews with a pretty wide ranging group of musicians, actors, and comedians. He recently re-released an interview with Robin Williams on the occasion of his death that was very revealing and intimate.

He’s recorded 528 episodes so far. You can hear the last 40 or 50 episodes via the app. If you want anything earlier, you have to subscribe. I’m tempted, but haven’t done it yet. I’ll probably cave soon. There are a lot of people that I missed and would like to hear. Highlights for me have been interviews with Bob Newhart, Leonard Maltin, Billy Gibbons, Chris Cornell, Vince Vaughan, Shepherd Fairey, Ivan Reitman, Lewis Black, Harry Dean Stanton, Ed Begley Jr, Artie Lange, Will Ferrell, Johnny Knoxville, Josh Homme, Lou Barlow, Maynard James Keenan, Elijah Wood, Baratunde Thurston, and David Sedaris. Very few of the interviews are duds. If I’m interested in the person, it’s almost always worthwhile.

I saw Fun. last September at Austin City Limits and it just so happens that Maron interviewed Jack Antonoff, the guitarist from the band who name checked Beerland during the show. He seems like a really great guy and, once again, I have a whole new perspective because of Maron’s interviewing skills. I also stumbled across this post as I re-listened to Some Nights. I think it’s an interesting perspective.  I can’t stand autotune and Nate Ruess certainly doesn’t need it.

Anyway, definitely worth adding to your podcast repertoire and catching those subjects that interest you.

Jul 212014
 

We’ve got a 2002 that we bought used in 2004. We had the transmission replaced while it was still under warranty. I can’t remember if that was at three years or at five years. Fast forward to this Easter and the new transmission is dying. Apparently, they can’t handle the heat and a lot of shops are now installing aftermarket cooling units when they replace the transmission.

And now, I find this article from Yahoo! on the 9 popular used car models that are actually not that reliable. The Honda Odyssey is one of them because of the transmission issue.

 

Jun 212014
 

The Austin Chronicle is running a story this week about the 40th anniversary of the Hole in the Wall. The week of anniversary shows started this past Thursday and will continue through next weekend. It looks like I missed a great bill last night with Two Hoots & a Holler with Joe King Carrasco and LeRoi Brothers. The Wife and I were at the Tweedy ACL taping though, so that’s a tough call. I’ll have to try to make this Friday’s show with Pocket Fishrmen, Pong and Churchwood.

I may not have played in any well known bands, but I have quite a few Hole In the Wall memories of my own. I played there in the early 1990s with Daddy’s Drunk. The band started as a four piece but eventually dropped down to three with myself on drums, Casino El Camino (yes, that Casino El Camino) on bass and Billysteve Korpi from The Crackpipes and Churchwood on guitar and vocals. I attended more than my share of shows, seeing bands of friends like Death Valley. It’s where Joe Emery from Death Valley introduced me to Laika & The Cosmonauts. Daddy’s Drunk played election night in November 1992. I remember that we covered X’s “The New World” especially for the occasion. We used to go to the Flightpath on Duval near Casino’s place to wire up on caffeine before heading to the show.

When I returned to Austin in 1995 after a couple of years in NYC, I continued to see shows at Hole in the Wall. I sat in on drums for a rendition of Starfish’s “Kliff or Dave” with Jason and Ronna one night when the band’s future was uncertain. They were appearing as the F*ckAntones, a nod to Russell’s band, the F*ckEmos. I played there with the Bad Rackets a few times as well. This was all before the expansion to the stage in the back. We complained about the size of the stage at the front of the house, but it was always fun to look over my shoulder out the window to Guadalupe while drumming and see people stopping to listen. You used to be able to park in the alley between The Hole and the building to the south. We’d also walk up the road to Showdown, formerly Raul’s and now Local Pub for a change of pace and some extra space to play darts.