Posted 8 years ago | Beer Reviews

2009 Anchor Our Special Ale

If there’s one beer I religiously look forward to each December, it would be Anchor Brewing’s seasonal Our Special Ale. It’s a brew that fits my ideal for a holiday seasonal with loads of herbs and one that ages fairly well — I usually end up storing away a case of it for later enjoyment.

After finally finishing off the last of my 2006 vintage bottles this past Christmas with a small vertical tasting (’06 – ’09) with my in-laws, I’m looking forward to seeing how this year’s recipe changes over time. For now, here’s how the 2009 Our Special Ale stands.


This year’s brew pours a deep mahogany with a large light tan head that faded slowly. It certainly looks rich and tasty.


Herbal notes heavy with clove and pine dominate the nose as a light chocolate lays in the background. The piny and herbal notes remind me of vintages past, but the chocolate presence is a new element.


After the first few sips it seems that the 2009 bottling is a bit fuller bodied than last year. The chocolate is there, but not in a sweet, stout sort of way. It’s complimented with a light roasted coffee character that comes in after the initial herbal front end. The feeling of drinking a pine tree is still there as the beer finishes semi-dry with a lingering earthiness.


Compared to my notes and memories of the past vintages, the 2009 is a nice change up with the addition of the light coffee and chocolate flavors. I’ll be keeping my eye on the remaining bottles I have to see how they turn out after a couple of years in the basement.

Rating: 3.5/5

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