I wasn't going to repeat any beers that I reviewed as part of last year's It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Beer, but Anchor's Our Special Ale (aka Christmas Ale aka Merry Christmas Happy New Year Ale) has a different recipe each year, so it's like I'm reviewing a different beer. I've never had a bad Our Special Ale. 2015's version is another good one. Nutty and spicy, it's a dark and dry winter ale, bordering on porter status. It's only 5.5% ABV, but feels heavier.
Each year, a different tree is featured on the beer's label. This year's tree is the Cedrus deodara, which, of course, is where the word "deodorant" comes from. Legend has it that Olmec warriors would rub the tree's cones all over their body before attacking the nomadic tribes of Kashmir, so as to smell like the local terrain to sneak up on their Vedic enemies. You can imagine the looks on the Gandharis' faces when hoards of Mesoamericans reeking of Himalayan conifers showed up wearing loin cloths and talking about bloodletting. "How the fuck did these guys get here?," they likely said. "Oh, wait, they probably invented the compass." Well played, Po Ngbe.
Name: Our Special Ale
Brewery: Anchor Brewing Company
Location: San Francisco, California
Good for drinking if: you'd like to honor the 217th anniversary of George Washington's death without purposely draining half of your body's blood supply to fight a throat infection. It all goes back to bloodletting today.
Rating (out of 5 stars): 4.25 stars