Anchor Brewing Christmas Ale - 2021 Edition

As is the tradition, Nat's family has secured a couple of six-packs of Anchor Brewing annual "Our Special Ale" - aka the Anchor Christmas Beer.  I've posted about this beer a number of times over the years, but my interest doesn't really lay in the subtleties of the flavors in the beer.  But, rather in the packaging - and in particular the trees that they feature on the bottle label and six-pack carrier.  

The folks at Anchor Brewing typically put up a big holiday beer page each year, but I don't seem to be able find this year's version.  Here's the 2020 page and the full archive of the previous 46 labels over the years.  However, it seems that they've created a new Web experience at a new subdomain: - which seems to totally omit any talk about the Christmas beer for this year and mostly celebrate a new packaging design.

The Christmas beer page typically tells the story of the tree they selected, but since that doesn't exist, I did a quick look around the Web and found this Beer Advocate listing page which details this year's beer and the tree they selected.  From the BeerAdvocate listing:

This is the forty-seventh Our Special Ale from the brewers at Anchor. This ale, made with natural flavors, features a new recipe & tree every year, but the intent with which we offer it is the same:joy & celebration of the newness of life. Trees symbolize the winter solstice when the earth, with its seasons, appears born anew, the natural beauty of the California high desert is epitomized by the western Joshua tree. Threatened primarily by climate change, it is a candidate for the protection under the California Endangered Species Act.

Western Joshua Tree.  Kinda neat.  Here's a shot of the packaging that I found at Nat's folk's place this week showing that Joshua tree: 

This marks the eighth year that I've included this holiday tradition on the blog.  And the seventh year in a row.

First, a chronological view of those posts:

Here's the post with the packaging from 2021 featuring a Western Joshua Tree.
Here's the post with the bottle from 2020.  Featuring Towering Sequoia trees (multiple trees)
Here's the post with the bottle from 2019.  Featuring Arborvitae.  (Is that a tree??)
Here's the post with the bottle from 2018.  Featuring a Korean Pine tree and a red label.
Here's the post with the bottle from 2017.  Featuring Santa Lucia Fir tree.
Here's my post with the bottle from 2016. 1000 mile tree - the lone pine.
Here's the post with the bottle from 2015.  A Deodar Cedar.  Also a photo of the six-pack carrier.
And here's the post with the bottle from 2010.  A Ginko tree.

But, if I'm ranking them in terms of appeal (to me) based on the type of tree, the drawing and then a little bonus for other interesting things, here's how I'd rank them:

8.  2019.  Arborvitae.  Still don't really call that a tree.
7.  2017.  Santa Lucia Fir.  Seems fine.  Nothing really special
6.  2015.  The Deodar Cedar.  Nice label.  Nice drawing.  But, starts to blend in.
5.  2010.  The Ginko.  Not a standout other than a tree that we 'know' and have planted here in Illinois.
4.  2016.  Lone pine.  A stand-out drawing and a good story of a *real*, specific tree in California.
3.  2020.  Towering Sequoias.  Unique with multiple trees.
2.  2018.  Korean Pine.  Tree is average.  But love the red label.
1.  2021.  Western Joshua tree.  Just feels *very* Californian to me.  Lovely drawing.


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