Sunday, December 18, 2011

Ridgeway Bad Elf

Ridgeway is a British brewery that makes over a DOZEN different Christmas-themed beers! Many of them have silly/gross names like "Santa's Butt" and "Reindeer Droppings." They also have 4 beers with various takes on the "bad elf" theme. I decided to start with just the regular "Bad Elf" and work my way up to the stronger editions later on.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (593) - Albany, New York, USA - DEC 16, 2011
I poured a 500ml bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Hazy dark yellow/gold proper color. Forms a large, bright white, creamy head which laces and retains extremely well.

Smell: Standard English pub ale with grassy hop notes. Hints of marmalade and other fruity confectionary notes, but otherwise mild.

Taste: Labels and descriptions can be deceiving. I bought Ridgeway Bad Elf thinking it was going to be a classic British winter warmer. Even though the label description mentions it being quite hoppy and potent at 6% ABV, it drinks more like a standard pub-style pale ale. Nothing wrong with that at all, but a more accurate label would’ve been nice.

It begins like all English pale ales do: slight bitterness up front with a hint of citrus flavor. It’s actually more akin to a juice sensation as I detect authentic, but very mild, flavors of orange, pineapple and marmalade. Many British beers, dark or pale, tend to have these natural fruity flavors to them and Bad Elf is no exception. There’s a little more dry bitterness on the back end, but the finish and aftertaste is quite clean. In fact, I would even describe it as refreshing. Not exactly robust, nor is it all that complex, but there are no flaws to the palate and the beer satisfies - that’s good enough for me.

Mouthfeel: The best way to describe it is by what it’s not: not creamy; not thin; not crisp; not tepid; not fizzy.

Drinkability: If I had drank Ridgeway Bad Elf blind I would mistake it for a smaller, more deliberately sessionable beer. While 6% ABV is not all that strong, the palate doesn’t really have the energy or density of such and is much closer to traditional English bitters. That makes it very drinkable, actually, especially considering the palate is pretty refreshing with a clean aftertaste and smooth finish.
Grade: 7/10

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