18 March 2009

Of lions and lambs

March, eh? You never seem to know what the weather is going to do next. One minute it's fresh sunny afternoons, the next it's hailstones and face-stripping gales. It makes a nonsense of any kind of seasonal drinking, which is why I had no problem buying both the summer and winter ales from Anchor at the same time, and drinking them back to back on what turned out to be quite a pleasant chilly-but-sunny mid-March afternoon.

I started with the Anchor Summer Beer, accompanied with a lunch of assorted ham, salami, cheese and smoked salmon on French bread. Overall, this isn't a very interesting beer at all. There's a good body, as might be expected from a wheat beer, but the flavour is rather dry and grainy. The salt in the meat absolutely destroyed it, though the creamy brie worked quite well. It's a beer for warmer, sunnier, less cognitive drinking.

To finish, I opened the bottle of Our Special Ale 2008, a beer I'd been looking forward to getting hold of for some time. The spices are interesting, for about five minutes. I do like spiced beers, but the spruce and fig flavours in here were just a bit two-dimensional. Worst of all, there's was something badly wrong with the base beer underneath: I detected a stale, cardboardy flavour which I'm sure shouldn't be there. On the plus side, the hopping is generous for this sort of beer, but the flaws -- whether deliberate or accidental -- spoiled my enjoyment of it somewhat. Still, the great thing about changing the recipe every year is that I'll still be queuing up to buy the 2009 edition if that ever appears here.


  1. I had the 2007 Anchor Christmas beer but can't remember it so I can't have been too impressed by it! I don't think you can beat their year-rounders Steam, Liberty Ale, Porter and Old Foghorn (I think the OF is regular?!) - I think they are excellent beers.

  2. I think the Porter might be on sale in these parts. I'll definitely be keeping an eye out.

    I understand Old Foghorn is a year-rounder, as is the Small Beer they make from its second runnings.

  3. We had a bottle of the similarly boring Sierra Nevada wheat beer a couple of nights back. It was like a German one but without any of the interest created by the banana-yeast.

  4. Old Foghorn is well worth finding. I loved its sugary malt character.