Taking a break from the cocktail scene to try one of the latest Anchor Brewing Seasonal Christmas beers. I think I first had one of these in 1987. I’ve tracked them down about every year since. Some years it was tough – I think my three years in Virginia Beach routinely drew a blank when I went looking. It’s become one of those habits that I keep up even though the love is not so strong.  Here’s some nostalgia – the beers in the early nineties were stellar. The recent ones I’ve tried have left me, well, uninspired. The tend to be a bit over-the-top with too much crammed into the flavor profile.

This years offering has shown up and I dutifully picked one up last night. Popped and poured tonight. Dark black/brown color, bubble gum and allspice nose. Not quite as harsh as I remember from the last few versions, but fairly aggressive bitterness. There is an almost metallic after taste. I’ll stop with this one.

Now, for a really good Christmas brew look for Highlands Brewing Companies Cold Mountain Ale. Production is up this year so there is more to go around. It is distributed in the mid Atlantic US. I think you can mail order some from Brusin’ Ales here in Asheville. Whereas Anchor throws in the kitchen sink, John Lyda at Highlands keeps it in check. He says there is one “hole” in the recipe he fills each year with a different spice flavoring. Smooth and pleasant. Next up: waiting for Pisgah Brewing’s Baptista to hit the shelves.