Get in the spirit


If it were up to me, it would be illegal to air Christmas commercials, sing Christmas songs, buy Christmas presents or decorate your hallway with poisonous berries until the day after Thanksgiving at the earliest. However, most holiday craft seasonal brews observe the cultural imperative of Christmas creep, stuffing themselves onto shelves in late October next to dwindling stocks of pumpkin beers. That’s what makes Anchor Brewing Company’s holiday stalwart Anchor Christmas Ale, now in its 38th vintage, so refreshing it seems like I never see it in local stores until Thanksgiving week. But that’s not the only thing that makes Anchor Christmas Ale so refreshing: The pungent cinnamon and star anise nose and ever-evolving spice-rack recipe of this delicious dark-brown winter warmer do their part. Available at various locations,

Beer: Matilda
Brewer: Goose Island Beer Co.
Where: Firestone Public House, 1132 16th Street; (916) 446-0888;

Beer: Luxuria (barrel-aged dark ale)
Brewer: Seven Sins Brewing
Where: Pangaea Two Brews Cafe, 2743 Franklin Boulevard; (916) 454-4942;

Beer: Double Tap IPA
Brewer: Berryessa Brewing Co.
Where: 27260 Highway 128 in Winters, (530) 795-3526,