Back in 1975, Anchor released the first holiday beer in America since Prohibition. Year after year, Anchor creates a new, secret recipe with a unique hand drawn label for their Christmas Ale, but the intent with each brew remains the same: joy for the changing seasons and celebration of the newness of life. With a heavily guarded, confidential recipe, Christmas Ale is sold only from early November to mid-January. This highly anticipated seasonal delight is complex and full in flavor, packed with toasty cocoa notes, roasted malts and strong aromas of resinous pine.
As each Christmas Ale recipe evolves, so does its hand-drawn packaging, created by long-time Anchor Illustrator Jim Stitt, who has created Anchor’s Christmas Ale labels every year since 1975. Since ancient times, trees have symbolized the winter solstice when the earth, with its seasons, appears born anew. This year, Stitt illustrated the Western Arborvitae – the “tree of life” – across the label. It is an evergreen conifer native to Northern California, the same region that Anchor has called home for over 123 years. Before modern medicine, properties of Western Arborvitae leaves were believed to have healing properties – hence, the moniker “tree of life.”