SAN FRANCISCO -- When the holidays roll around, people think about traditions like Christmas trees, mistletoe, New Year's eve parties, and of course, Anchor Brewing Company's annual Christmas Ale.
"Christmas is a joyous time for us to see what everybody thinks about our latest batch of Christmas Ale how it smells, how it tastes, just festivity all around," Anchors Brewmaster Dane Volek reveals, "We really enjoy bringing that experience to people every year."
There have been 48 Christmas Ales to date and every one of them involves a new, secret recipe.
"It's just one beer that if nothing else we are going to experiment with every year," Volek explains, "How do we think the mash bill is going to fit in, what kinds of spices do we want to use?"
Previous owner Fritz Maytag brewed the first Christmas Ale in 1975.
"He really wanted to make this wonderful, although odd and perhaps bitter and hoppy, interesting beer," Volek recalls.
Maytag also wanted a different symbolic tree for the bottles hand drawn label every year.
"The tree is obviously a big piece of the changing of the seasons, he always just thought that was a really beautiful thing to do with those labels," Volek says. "To find a tree out there in nature that just really epitomizes the way he wanted that years beer to come across."
The Anchor team has already started working on next year's ale.
"That's what keeps us going year in and year out is knowing how much special love there is for that beer," Volek shares. "Definitely a tradition that people will be able to count on for years to come."
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