Ding Points: 76.50
Pour: 80.00, Nose: 70.00, Palate: 80.00, Mouth: 80.00, Global: 70.00
Very hazy, orange pour. Very nice, bubbly head that offers plenty of sticky lace with very good retention.
Nose offers plenty of sweet, grainy, almost earthy notes. A hint of alcohol but not much.
Ridgeway certainly has a lot of these Christmas themed beers that they export, I wonder if they feature so strongly at home. I’m delighted to get them each year, since they offer a little slice of home in the subtle beer desert that is the USA. Having said that, this is not really as simple as some of their other offerings and ironically is not the most subtle of beers.
The tastes reflect most of the nose, but the earthy element does not come through anywhere near as strongly as the sweetness. It’s really very sweet and offers plenty of bready notes. Gentle in the mouth, with low to medium carbonation, the beer is very rounded in terms of the mouthfeel. Sweetness helps to round it out in the mouth and makes it feel quite large.
Aftertaste offers some minor grapefruit and tangerine bitterness, but it plays nicely against the upfront sweetness. The final flourish is a little soapy, and it sits well against the earlier elements of the beer.
Although tasty and nice, this is not really a typical English Pale Ale at all. It’s a lot sweeter, has a higher ABV and generally seems more aggressive than most. It also has a thicker mouthfeel about it which, at imes, borders on the viscous (at least for the style). It’s allowed to do that by holding on to the Christmas theme and therefore suggesting that it is a ‘special’, seasonal beer, but more than once a year and I think I would tire of it a little. As it is, this occasional foray into my rotation is most welcome.
Other: 6.0%. (Atypical) English Pale Ale.