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.