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I am in the process of trying to finish my first bottle of Anchor Brewing's 2004 winter seasonal ale: "Our Special Ale" (Yes, I realize it's not even noon yet on Sunday. )

Yechhh! It pours like a porter/stout and even has the roasty aromas of one, but flavorwise, it has no center. By this I mean it has plenty of foretaste (aroma) and aftertaste (which is metallic and bitter), but not much in between.

I had my brother try it to make sure I wasn't crazy. He agreed that it wasn't worth buying, especially since a sixer cost me $8.39.

Time for me to flip-flop. I'm drinking one of these right now - and actually, I like it! Right after it's opened it is pretty unpleasant, but I've had it sitting in the glass (even cracked out the special beer glasses) for a while and it really is quite nice. It's not all about the bitter finish now - the center has filled out a bit and balances the finish with a nice, smooth sweetness. One might even say it has a nice caramel center to counteract the spicey finish, if one felt so inclined. Actually, the finish mellows quite a bit after sitting for a while, too.

Is my beer..... breaking in?