Ridgeway Brewing Company
Price: Santa doesn’t leave price tags
It really does feel like a new beginning — after a long absence due to site maintenance, I got the go-ahead to start putting out these witty and insightful reviews once again. This came as a pleasant surprise — so much of a surprise that I didn’t have a stock of review beers laid in. So instead I dipped into the stash that Santa brought me, and although that means I can’t tell you a price, it’s a great excuse to be juvenile and tell you that my aunt got me a beer called “Reindeer Droppings” (Also one called “Santa’s Butt” but I drank that already, and it was delicious). So giggle away, I guess, because poop.
The Brewer’s Pitch:
Ridgeway is a UK brewery that makes special Christmas beers just for us here Stateside. Since they also made Santa’s Butt, I assume that they send them here because the British are far too proper to laugh at poop and butt jokes. Reindeer Droppings, Ridgeway assures us, are like little flavor (or rather, “flavour”) bombs dropping from the sky. Sweet like a raisin, bitter like a grapefruit, the beer has an intensely delicious taste that hits you in a burst and then vanishes fast. Not a traditional winter warmer, but sounds good all the same.
As much as I want it to be brown, Reindeer Droppings pours a dark orange-gold with a huge lumpy off-white head. A huge floral nose wafts up to you, but as it fades there’s a low sweet smell like apples just starting to go over-ripe. The beer is crisp and clean with a light body that does as promised — carries the flavor straight to your tastebuds. There’s not much of the promised sweetness but the beer feels juicy and has a distinct grapefruit flavor. As it warms the sweetness does start to come out a bit, reflecting the smell. Although it’s a Christmas beer it tastes something like apples that have been sitting in a barrel on a warm summer day. The Aftertaste is pretty minimal, mostly a citrus-rind bitterness that lingers in the very back of the mouth.
This definitely fell a bit on the too-bitter side for me, considering how light it was- and really this feels more like something I’d have in late spring or early fall, just as it’s warm out but with a chill in the air, rather than in the dead of winter. All the same, it’s quite good. A lot of beers with strong flavors will burn your palate out and linger past their welcome, but this one does its job and departs. It’s a good solid Amber ale, and if you’re used to drinking IPAs it’s a nice step back from hops brinkmanship to something with good bitter balance.
The Bottom Line:
It’s good to be back! Look for me on Thursdays because like my editor says- that’s when people put their drinkin’ pants on.