Derek Warren

DRINK IT DOWN: Our Special Ale 2017 (Christmas Ale) by Anchor Brewing Company

DRINK IT DOWN: Our Special Ale 2017 (Christmas Ale) by Anchor Brewing Company
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Beer: Our Special Ale 2017 (Anchor Christmas Ale)

Brewery: Anchor Brewing Company

Style: Winter Warmer

ABV: 6.70%

Description: Our Special Ale pours a deep brown with light ruby highlights and a huge frothy brown head that leaves a thick lacing on the glass. The aroma is festive and warming, with dark semi-sweet malts, spices, and cocoa up front without coming across as overly sweet. The taste follows the nose, with sweet malts hitting the palate first and a wonderful balance coming from the spices. Decadent flavors of cacao, toffee, and roasted nuts blend with hints of honey and spices. This is truly a wonderful holiday-inspired beer that is a great addition to any get-together during the winter months.

The medium body and moderate carbonation impart a very creamy mouthfeel to the beer. This is a highly drinkable winter warmer that will win over even the most diehard of hopheads. The holidays may be over, but this is a beer that should be on hand during all the winter months.

Food pairing: Our Special Ale is a winter warmer that packs a lot of flavor into a lighter beer, but it still makes a great accompaniment to any meal. After the holidays, there is always an array of leftovers and, regardless if you are looking to make a light lunch or a hearty dinner out of them, this is a great beer to pair with them all. Leftover turkey or ham? Make yourself a wonderful sandwich piled high with toppings and place onto a panini press and pair with Our Special Ale for a tasty afternoon pick up.

Any meat dishes will be enhanced by this holiday-inspired beer. The natural caramelization that occurs from cooking meats, whether turkey, ham, sausages, or steaks, will be enhanced by the sweet toffee and caramel flavors from the beer to create a perfect mashup of sweet and salty.

If you are still somehow in the mood for more sweets and want a great drink to go with your sugary coma, you’ve got it! Cookies, cakes, biscuits, or breads all work well and will have a great sweet on sweet pairing with Our Special Ale without it becoming too cloying.

The final word: Every year, Anchor Brewing Company releases their wonderful Our Special Ale. For many craft beer devotees, it is a collector’s item. The labels are dated and are different every year, but even more importantly, the beer within changes as well. The brewers decide what ingredients to include, making each year’s release unique and interesting. During the winter months, there are few beers more enjoyable than Our Special Ale, and this year’s batch is no different.

While the true hustle and bustle of the holidays is firmly behind us, this beer can keep that holiday spirit with you throughout the cold months ahead. Grab some now though before the summer beers start hitting the shelves, as we all know the routine by now!


Where can I get it? Currently available in 12 oz. bottles or cans at: Beer Boys (176 N. Washington St., Wilkes-Barre), The Keys (244 Penn Ave., Scranton), Sabatini’s Bottleshop & Bar (1925 Wyoming Ave., Exeter), Krugel’s Georgetown Deli & Beer (720 Wilkes-Barre Twp. Blvd., Wilkes-Barre), Joe’s Six Packs to Go (620 N. Blakely St., Dunmore), and The Nyx (218 Depot St., Clarks Summit).

Drink It Down is a weekly column that doesn’t just review beer – it provides the full experience of going out and enjoying a quality craft brew. Look for it on Mondays exclusively on NEPA Scene.