Santa’s Swallie

500 mL bottle from Hop City, Atlanta, GA, USA. Pour delivers a classic, English Pale Ale appearance with a slightly clouded, light amber hue with a spotty head that produces some nice retention and some sticky lace. All is well with the appearance. Nose offers some lovely malt notes that have depth, plus a pronounced, buttery, toasty aroma. Nice. Tastes reflect the nose and also bring a slight, light-rum character. NOT boozy, but it does have some raisin and bready notes. Short finish which is...

Lia Fail

Dark amber with an impressive, rocky and deep head and a little lacing. Some mild, yet persistent carbonation. Aroma is simple toasted malts, and the taste is a classic (if somewhat dry) British ESB. Caramel malts with a bigger than expected hop finish. Slight sftertaste of hard water and a definite dry feeling. A decent brew but for me it lacks the smoothness that it should display. In summary, a good brew but frankly it has the potential to be even better. Fell slightly short for me.

Blackfriar

Very nice looker, with a deep, dense reddish brown body, good fluffy head and some sticky lacing. Aroma and initial taste promise much malt, and you do get some, but not to the extent that I was expecting. Then another surprise - a really hoppy, fairly short, but very, very bitter kick in the finish. I didn't really enjoy that little unexpected moment, and I thought that it served to cause the beer to be slightly unbalanced. Mouthfeel is good, with a little slick, oily feeling, but that...