Anchor Christmas Ale 2008

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It’s day thirty-four of my frantic flight to Christmas featuring all 42 labels from Anchor’s Christmas Ale — a.k.a. Our Special Ale — all different beers (well, mostly different) and all different labels, each one designed by local artist Jim Stitt, up to and including this year’s label.

2008 was the thirty-fourth year that Anchor made their Christmas Ale, and from 1987 through the present day, each year Anchor’s Our Special Ale has included spices, a different combination of them every time. Generally the base beer has been a spiced brown ale, although it has been varied from time to time, as well. This thirty-fourth label was was a “Jeffrey Pine,” or “Pinus jeffreyi.”

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Anchor Christmas Ale 2007

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It’s day thirty-three of my trot to Christmas featuring all 42 labels from Anchor’s Christmas Ale — a.k.a. Our Special Ale — all different beers (well, mostly different) and all different labels, each one designed by local artist Jim Stitt, up to and including this year’s label.

2007 was the thirty-third year that Anchor made their Christmas Ale, and from 1987 through the present day, each year Anchor’s Our Special Ale has included spices, a different combination of them every time. Generally the base beer has been a spiced brown ale, although it has been varied from time to time, as well. This thirty-third label was was a “Valley Oak,” or “Quercus lobata.”

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Anchor Christmas Ale 2006

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It’s day thirty-second of my scamper to Christmas featuring all 42 labels from Anchor’s Christmas Ale — a.k.a. Our Special Ale — all different beers (well, mostly different) and all different labels, each one designed by local artist Jim Stitt, up to and including this year’s label.

2006 was the thirty-second year that Anchor made their Christmas Ale, and from 1987 through the present day, each year Anchor’s Our Special Ale has included spices, a different combination of them every time. Generally the base beer has been a spiced brown ale, although it has been varied from time to time, as well. This thirty-second label was was a “European Beech,” or “Fagus sylvatica.”

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Anchor Christmas Ale 2005

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It’s day thirty-one of my jolly jog to Christmas featuring all 42 labels from Anchor’s Christmas Ale — a.k.a. Our Special Ale — all different beers (well, mostly different) and all different labels, each one designed by local artist Jim Stitt, up to and including this year’s label.

2005 was the thirty-first year that Anchor made their Christmas Ale, and from 1987 through the present day, each year Anchor’s Our Special Ale has included spices, a different combination of them every time. Generally the base beer has been a spiced brown ale, although it has been varied from time to time, as well. This thirty-first label was was a “California Live Oak,” or “Quercus agrifolia.”

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Anchor Christmas Ale 2004

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It’s day thirty of my seasonal sprint to Christmas featuring all 42 labels from Anchor’s Christmas Ale — a.k.a. Our Special Ale — all different beers (well, mostly different) and all different labels, each one designed by local artist Jim Stitt, up to and including this year’s label.

2004 was the thirtieth year that Anchor made their Christmas Ale, and from 1987 through the present day, each year Anchor’s Our Special Ale has included spices, a different combination of them every time. Generally the base beer has been a spiced brown ale, although it has been varied from time to time, as well. This thirtieth label was again “[i]nspired by the Original Christmas Ale Tree.”

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Anchor Christmas Ale 2003

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It’s day twenty-nine of my jack be nimble to Christmas featuring all 42 labels from Anchor’s Christmas Ale — a.k.a. Our Special Ale — all different beers (well, mostly different) and all different labels, each one designed by local artist Jim Stitt, up to and including this year’s label.

2003 was the twenty-ninth year that Anchor made their Christmas Ale, and from 1987 through the present day, each year Anchor’s Our Special Ale has included spices, a different combination of them every time. Generally the base beer has been a spiced brown ale, although it has been varied from time to time, as well. This twenty-ninth label was a “Sitka Spruce,” or “Picea sitchensis.”

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Anchor Christmas Ale 2002

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It’s day twenty-eight of my eggnoged escape to Christmas featuring all 42 labels from Anchor’s Christmas Ale — a.k.a. Our Special Ale — all different beers (well, mostly different) and all different labels, each one designed by local artist Jim Stitt, up to and including this year’s label.

2002 was the twenty-eighth year that Anchor made their Christmas Ale, and from 1987 through the present day, each year Anchor’s Our Special Ale has included spices, a different combination of them every time. Generally the base beer has been a spiced brown ale, although it has been varied from time to time, as well. This twenty-eighth label was a “Fremont Cottonwood,” or “Populus fremontii.”

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Anchor Christmas Ale 2001

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It’s day twenty-seven of my seasonal sashay to Christmas featuring all 42 labels from Anchor’s Christmas Ale — a.k.a. Our Special Ale — all different beers (well, mostly different) and all different labels, each one designed by local artist Jim Stitt, up to and including this year’s label.

2001 was the twenty-seventh year that Anchor made their Christmas Ale, and from 1987 through the present day, each year Anchor’s Our Special Ale has included spices, a different combination of them every time. Generally the base beer has been a spiced brown ale, although it has been varied from time to time, as well. This twenty-seventh label was a “California Fan Palm,” or “Washingtonia filifera.”

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Anchor Christmas Ale 2000

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It’s day twenty-six of my seasonal sprint to Christmas featuring all 42 labels from Anchor’s Christmas Ale — a.k.a. Our Special Ale — all different beers (well, mostly different) and all different labels, each one designed by local artist Jim Stitt, up to and including this year’s label.

2000 was the twenty-sixth year that Anchor made their Christmas Ale, and from 1987 through the present day, each year Anchor’s Our Special Ale has included spices, a different combination of them every time. Generally the base beer has been a spiced brown ale, although it has been varied from time to time, as well. This twenty-sixth label was a “California Nutmeg,” or “Torreya californica.”

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Beer Birthday: Fritz Maytag

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Fritz Maytag, who bought the failing Anchor Brewery in 1965 and turned it into a model for the microbrewery revolution, celebrates his 79th birthday today. It’s no stretch to call Fritz the father of craft beer, he introduced so many innovations that are common today and influenced countless brewers working today. A few years ago, Maytag sold Anchor Brewery and Distillery to Keith Greggor and Tony Foglio of the Griffin Group, but continues to make his York Creek wine and consult with Anchor as Chairman Emeritus. I was happy to see him again earlier this year when I was invited to introduce him to receive an award from the Northern California Brewers Guild in Sacramento. Join me in wishing Fritz a very happy birthday.

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Fritz Maytag at the Anchor Christmas party in 2006 with fellow Anchor-ites John Dannerbeck and Mark Carpenter.

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Fritz with the organizers of SF Beer Week at our inaugural opening event at Anchor in 2009.

Speakers at the Symposium: Bruce Paton, Christine Hastorf, Fritz Maytag and Charlie Bamforth
Fritz with fellow speakers at the Herbst Museum Symposium a couple of years ago, from left: Bruce Paton, Christine Hastorf, Fritz Maytag and Charlie Bamforth.

Ken Grossman, me and Fritz Maytag
Ken Grossman, me and Fritz at a beer dinner at Anchor celebrating Sierra Nevada’s 30th anniversary.

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Me and Fritz at the Anchor Christmas Party a few years ago.

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Me and Fritz at the California Beer Summit this September.

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Jack McAuliffe and Fritz in Sacramento earlier this year to accept an award from the Northern California Brewers Guild.