Brouwerij Het Anker can trace its history to 1471 during the era of “Beguinages” when independent women would run their own small enterprises such as breweries or bakeries. Beguines were women who were dedicated to the Catholic church but hadn’t retired (joined a convent) from society. Beguines would unite to work together to survive. This arrangement worked because there was a large portion of poor, widowed, and elderly women who were left on their own due to the death of so many men during this turbulent time in the Low Countries. In 1471, the Beguinage in Mechelen was granted the right to brew beer by Charles (Carolus in latin) the Bold. They did this until 1865.
In 1872, Louis Van Breedam purchased the old Beguinage brewery. It was eventually renamed to Het Anker (The Anchor) in 1904. Since then, the Brewery, through hard times and good, has been in the Van Breedam family and has grown into a power house of a Belgian family brewery with a wide lineup of interesting and well-loved beers, including a Christmas Ale.
Appearance: Brown, tan head, good retention.
Aroma: Banana, clove, cinnamon, spicy, chocolate, toffee, alcohol.
Taste: Boozy, chocolate, spicy, cinnamon, toffee, touch of pepper in the finish.
Overall Impression: There is a bit of a boozy nature to this beer, but it’s well-integrated and adds a bit of nice spice to the flavor profile. It’s also a bit on the sweeter side, for my tastes, but with a good, strong spicy kick to it. There’s a reason this beer is so popular with Belgian winter beer lovers. It’s super spicy with a nice “holiday” feel to it.
Availability: Seasonal at beer shops that carry beer imported by Wetten Importers.