What I’ve Been Drinking of Late, Part 5
Anchor Brewing Company 46th Annual Christmas Ale
Dark and spicy as an intense holiday ginger cake, the just-released 46th annual Anchor Brewing Company Christmas Ale also boasts its highest ABV ever at 7 percent.
Yes, this is a hoppy, robust beer with a pronounced bitter coffee edge. I had a chance to try a sample of this festive beer that boasts a substantial body rivaling Santa’s. Pour it into a glass to appreciate its deep espresso-like color and cappuccino-colored foamy head.
Each year, the holiday beer gets a different tree design on its label. This year’s features The Three Graces, the three majestic sequoias from the Mariposa Grove in Yosemite National Park.
This beer, available now through January 2021 or until supplies last, will definitely get you into the holiday spirit. Or make for a welcome gift.
Cheers: Anchor Brewing suggests enjoying the Christmas Ale alongside Thanksgiving turkey or rack of lamb. I think it’s pretty awesome with a slice of pumpkin bread, too.
Rickhouse Straight Bourbon
The newest spirit by San Francisco’s Gold Bar Spirits Company truly pays tribute to the Bay Area.
Its Rickhouse Bourbon is made with Hetch Hetchy water, distilled on Treasure Island, and is the official whiskey of the San Francisco 49ers “Faithful to the Bay” branding campaign.
I had a chance to try a sample of the bourbon that’s named for the warehouse used for storing barrels of aging whiskey. Comprised of 80 percent corn and 20 percent rye, this bourbon is three times copper pot-distilled for a potent 103 proof. Whoa, baby!
Deep amber in color, the bourbon has the fragrance of sweet almonds and butterscotch. It tastes of vanilla, cedar, smoke and toffee. It’s smooth, warming, and compelling.
For a little bling, each bottle features a “Lady of Fortune” solid brass coin pressed into it that’s minted at the oldest operating mint in the United States.
Cheers: With the dismal season the 49ers are having, we may need to drown our sorrows in quite a few of these bottles. Here’s to a better, more normal football season with fewer injuries in 2021.
Inventive New Offerings From San Francisco’s Seven Stills
San Francisco’s Seven Stills is like the mad scientist of the spirits-brew world.
It not only brews craft beer, but takes that beer and then distills it into whiskey that’s aged. How’s that for bonkers?
I had an opportunity to sample some of its newest products. Its Rorschach Test Whiskey ($36 for a 375ml bottle) started as a beer collaboration with Northern California’s Moksa Brewing Company. A portion was then distilled into whiskey that was aged for a year in new American oak barrels. To bring out the characteristics of the beer, cacao nibs, unsweetened coconut, and coffee were added before bottling.
It smells chocolatey even on the first whiff. It tastes a bit chocolatey, too, with deep nutty and toasty notes. If an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie could be turned into high-octane yet smooth boozy liquid, this is it.
The Gigawatts Whiskey ($36 for a 375ml bottle) started out as Imperial oat stout before being distilled. It tastes of vanilla and cedar, and boasts a sense of creaminess to it.
Seven Stills also packages its creative cocktails in convenient, resealable pouches to enjoy at home. They feature its other spirits, including its Wood Isle Gin and California Courage Vodka.
The Koret’s Carousel ($14.99) — a mix Wood Isle Gin, lemon, lavender honey, Pernod and bitters — is deeply floral, herbaceous, and citrusy with a subtle salinity to it.
The Chain of Lakes ($14.99) — with Five Pounds Whiskey, Wood Isle Gin, Carpano Bianca and Pampleau — is bracing with the bitter, tangy edge of grapefruit, foresty with botanicals, and smoky from the whiskey.
Pray to Ride ($14.99) — featuring Chocasmoke Whiskey, Averna, Carpano Antica, and bitters — has a sherry-like almond-extract like note with smoke and just enough bitterness.
Barely Strictly ($14.99) — a mix of The Boy is Mine Pisco, lime, pineapple, and Campari — is a lovely pale salmon-hued drink with a tropical sensibility and refreshing brisk bitterness.
Cheers: While Seven Stills offers takeout, it also has a sunny patio, where you can take a seat to enjoy beer and spirits, as well as food by Michelin-starred chef Joseph Humphrey. Chow down on grits with Gulf shrimp, duck leg “Tasso” and eggs; beignets with house-made pimento cheese; and grass-fed beef braised in 1.21 Gigawatts beer served with pommes Anna.