So I just got two holiday ales today while shopping for food for the week. I let them chill this morning and tucked into them this afternoon. One I really liked, the other was decent, but lacking in the holiday part.
Santa's Private Reserve
Copper color, the near-nonexistent head disappeared quickly, though this seems fairly carbonated.
A bit malty, but a hops bitterness dominates at times and especially at the finish. Nothing extra-special holiday about it really, but I liked it as a decent ale. Not overfond of the hops, but it works OK.
Anchor Brewing Co. - San Francisco
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year
This I really liked. It had a rich dark ruby-brown color, a nice head (which made its exit within a minute or so). It had a excellent complex flavor. Someone with a better palate than me can try to distinguish the components, so all I will say is that I really liked it. There was a slight hop bitterness, but was very balanced to my tastes.