Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Anchor Our Special Ale

Anchor Our Special Ale is another one of my favorite Christmas/Holiday beers, but I never know what to make out of it. I suppose that's the idea.

Anchor Our Special Ale pours rather dark, almost opaque (just some ruby highlights here and there), but what kind of dark beer is it. Is it a porter? It can certainly be considered a spiced ale. The addition of spices, many different kinds which supposedly change every year) are what makes this beer so special. So is it a spiced porter perhaps? Let's examine the possibilities...

First off, this ale has a very pleasant aroma (it always does). Spruce comes to mind, along with cocoa and there's maybe a hint leather. A very interesting combination, for sure. Aside from the aroma, my first impression of this year's batch of Our Special Ale is that it's not the brewery's best vintage. The mouthfeel is decent, but body the seems a bit light. Also, the flavors aren't as bright as I'd like them to be: black tea-like flavors mixed with raisins, followed by a tamarind-like tartness. This tart character is probably the most interesting aspect of this ale, aside from the aroma. The tamarind flavor sort of builds in intensity with each sip, as this year's batch of Our Special Ale starts to grow on me.

So is this beer a spiced porter? Maybe, but it would be dryish one. I would still stay it defies categorization. It is definitely an interesting ale, but I would suggest that newcomers try a single bottle or draft before committing to a six-pack.

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