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Home > Anchor Christmas Ale 2013 Brewed in San Francisco, California

Anchor Christmas Ale 2013 Brewed in San Francisco, California

Anchor Christmas Ale for 2013

Each year since 1975, Anchor Brewing creates a distinctive Christmas Ale, available from early November to mid-January. A rich, dark spiced ale, our secret recipe is different every year—as is the tree on the label—but the intent remains the same: joy and celebration of the newness of life.

Since ancient times, trees have symbolized the winter solstice when the earth, with its seasons, appears born anew. Our tree for 2013 is the California White Fir. It was hand drawn by local artist James Stitt, who has been creating Christmas Ale labels for us since 1975.

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Not everyone who came to California in 1849 came in search of gold. A few came in search of trees. English botanist William Lobb was one such plant hunter. As a collector of California’s exotic flora for English nurseries, Lobb (born in East Cornwall in 1809; died in San Francisco in 1864) was responsible for the introduction of fifty-eight species of California plants to English gardens, including Giant Sequoia and California White Fir.


Each year our Christmas Ale gets a unique label and a unique recipe for the Ale itself. Although our recipes must remain a secret, many enthusiasts save a few bottles from year to year—stored in a cool dark place—to taste later and compare with other vintages. Properly refrigerated, the beer remains intriguing and drinkable for years, with different nuances slowly emerging as the flavor mellows slightly.

Anchor Christmas Ale 2010 Anchor Christmas Ale 2009 Anchor Christmas Ale 2008

Anchor Brewing Company
Anchor Brewing Company is an American alcoholic beverage producer, operating a brewery and distillery on Potrero Hill in San Francisco, California. The brewery was founded in 1896, and was purchased by its current owner, Frederick Louis Maytag III, in 1965, saving it from closure. It moved to its current location in 1979. It is one of the last remaining breweries to produce California Common beer, also known as Steam Beer, a trademark owned by the company.

Anchor Brewery is largely responsible for the growth of the microbrewery movement in the United States. After prohibition ended in the U.S., many small, locally-operated breweries were able to re-open and recommence brewing (although many more, perhaps most, were not). The vast majority of these concerns served only the immediate vicinity of their sole plant, a radius of a few miles to perhaps a 100 or so. Local breweries and beers were the source of local pride in many communities, especially those with large populations of German, Polish, or Czech extraction. Many of these thrived on through World War II and into the 1950s. Most did not survive the 1950s, however, due to the influence of television advertising and the mass marketing tactics of major national breweries such as Anheuser-Busch, Schlitz, Pabst, and Miller. The whole idea of such beers and breweries was largely forgotten in the U.S. Maytag desired to establish such a small-scale brewery, with small-town quality and taste being the hallmarks of his beer. He was already a fan of Anchor Steam Beer when he learned that the brewery was about to close. In 1965, Maytag purchased 51 percent of the brewery for a few thousand dollars, and later purchased the brewery outright.


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