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Notes on beers brewed by

Ridgeway Brewing
Ridgeway ESB

Ridgeway
ESB

It's such a blessing that so much Ridgeway beer gets to the USA - still. Even in the era of import decimation, this beer still keeps on coming. I am quite literally so very grateful. Sourced from my online DC shop. Beautiful, light copper, crystal clear boby. Bone white head. Great retention, great lace. Perfect. Simple, sweet bread in the nose. Tastes are PERFECT. The balance of highly, highly gulpable and drinkable malts against the gentle kiss of that hop bitter finish, give an absolutely...

Ridgeway Imperial Red Ale 2017

Ridgeway
Imperial Red Ale 2017

Bottle number 4815. Kahn's, Indianapolis, sometime in the latter half of 2022. 330 mL bottle. I have zero expectations here, or at least I'm assuming that it's going to be a dud, and anything and everything above that will be a bonus. Deliberately aggressive pour to generate a head. Not too bad considering age and ABV (see picture). Thin film on the surface results, zero lace. The body is a murky, frankly unattractive brownish-red body. Nose offers a sweet, English Barleywine note, and this...

Reindeer Droppings

Reindeer
Droppings

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...

Querkus Smoked Oaked Porter

Querkus Smoked Oaked Porter

The presentation of this beer certainly makes one think that this could be a Scandinavian beer - something about the name and the label. Had no idea this was a Ridgeway beer until I looked at the label very carefully. A really pretty color on the pour with plenty of ruby red highlights throughout the beer. Conservative head but still gives decent retention and some nice lace. However, the color is the star in the appearance; quite exquisite. Nose and tastes give a mild smokiness that permeates...

Foreign Export Stout

Foreign Export Stout

WOW! Extraordinary. I wasn't expecting this. 500 mL bottle, Hop City, Atlanta, GA, USA. I didn't bother to check the ABV or anything about this beer before I cracked it, and as a result I got quite a shock Pour is jet black (some reddish highlights at the extremes) with a small head and not much retention or lace. There is a spotty, creamy film on the surface of the beer. The nose reveals some amazing, light sherry notes with beautiful, subtle roasted creamy bursts of depth. The flavors...

Querkus Smoked Oaked Porter

Ridgeway
IPA

500 mL bottle that was $4.99 purchased on a recent visit to Asheville, NC, USA. For some reason, although we get a few Ridgeway beers in Georgia, this one has never shown up. Delighted to get my hands on it. Pour is a very light golden body underneath a high, well retained, lace producing, white head. Surprising level of carbonation (perhaps too much). Nose and tastes gives the classic biscuit soft malts. This is followed by that typical, subtle hop bitterness which lingers and leaves the...

Querkus Smoked Oaked Porter

Pickled Santa

Relatively new entrant to the GA market, I picked this one up for $4.99 at Tower on Piedmont, Atlanta, GA, USA. 500 mL bottle, "F10 288" on the label. I'm not really sure what a "XMAS English Ale" is, but here we go. Pour has gold clarity with a large, fluffy white head with some very good retention and lace. Candied, bubble-gum type phenols and esters greet the nose. The tastes reflect much of the nose, and there isn't really a great deal of "spice" as such. Quite sweet but just about holds...

Reindeer’s Revolt

Reindeer’s Revolt

Additional notes: 09/29/2022 (Pictured). Another beer where the nots from 14 years ago match the current experience almost perfectly. It's hard to find any discrepancy at all. Great sticky lace, biscuity moreishness, and great English Pale Ale (yes, I know how this is classified) character. Utterly delicious, utterly tremendous. Original notes: 12/07/2008 500 mL bottle from Tower on Piedmont, Atlanta, GA, USA. First time I've seen this in GA. $4.99 for the bottle. Complete clarity on the pour...

Seriously Bad Elf

Seriously Bad Elf

Additional notes: 10/04/2022 Possibly a 2021 vintage (L21 254) and considering when I purchased it, but it does have the Shelton Bros moniker so ... Same presentation, ABV etc. as years gone by which suggests this still sells well at home I suppose. A lot of chill-haze on this pour with a modest head but some good, sticky lace. Estery - meaning fruity still - but also too much solvent alcohol dominating for me (noted below) that also gives a mildly oxidized or diacetyl butter note. Could be...

Querkus Smoked Oaked Porter

Insanely Bad Elf

$4.99 for the 12oz bottle. Delighted to find this at Green's on Ponce, Atlanta, GA, USA. WOW! Best beer I've had in some time. Pour is a BEAUTIFUL, honey amber body with amazing clarity, a fantastic head and some nice lace. Carbonation is mild, but good. Nose is alcohol based, but not too harsh. I'm not sure about the BA "English Strong Ale" categorization, or indeed the "Imperial Red Ale" on the bottle label, this seems to me to be a simple, classic English Barleywine - sweet and VERY high...

Santa’s Butt

Santa’s Butt

Updated notes 01/12/24 (pictured) I still don't quite 'get' this beer, and I certainly still don't know what a 'Winter Porter' is, but I like it a little more than I did just over 16 years ago. The beer still feels like a brown ale to me more than anything else, and it still feels a bit light compared to what it purports to be, but is relatively drinkable and was surprised how much more drinkable it was compared to my original notes. This bottle came from World Market in Atlanta in December...

Querkus Smoked Oaked Porter

Criminally Bad Elf

Definitely the best of the three Bad Elf series that I have had so far. 500 mL bottle. $6.88 from Beverage Mart in Acworth, GA, USA. This has probably been aging in the store for at least six months, likely even a little longer. It's held up and matured very nicely. Aggresive pour into the pint glass gives a nice, bone white head and even a little lace. This is a quintessential English BW. Great clarity, a beautiful dark amber color and minimal carbonation. It's ALL malt and alcohol, with a...

Lump Of Coal

Lump Of Coal

Additional notes 11/01/23 (Pictured) I'm not going to lie. This is an old bottle that was collecting dust on a random store's shelf in Ohio. I knew it was old for a couple of reasons, one because this essentially doesn't get to the USA these days (or if it does the distribution is incredibly limited), and two it shows that is distrubuted by the long defunct Shelton Bros. As such, I was expcting little, in fact half expecting to find a drain pour. $5.99 for the 500 mL bottle. But no! The beer...

Querkus Smoked Oaked Porter

Ridgeway Bitter

Green's, Buford Highway, Atlanta, GA, USA. 500 mL bottle. Light orange pour with a small but persistent, bright white head. Significant lace, quite thick on the inside of the glass. An all malt nose with typical biscuit sweetness. Nice. The tastes are more bitter than I was expecting and the mouthfeel a little thinner. A little drier in the finish than many of the style. Mild soap in the aftertaste. A little less smooth than many of the other English Bitter imports that we get in the USA.

Querkus Smoked Oaked Porter

Ivanhoe

A significantly different bottle label than the one in the BA database. The stillness and the lack of carbonation from the bottle make this perform almost like a cask ale. Despite the lack of head there still is a significant amount of lacing. I get some buttery hops in the nose, and the beer is light and drinkable. A simple, hop based medium bodied beer with very little surprise in store. This beer drinks exactly as one would expect for the style and some may call it boring, but the power of...

Warm Welcome Nut Browned Ale

Warm Welcome
Nut Browned Ale

Additional notes 06/27/23 (pictured) 500mL bottle as usual, from Jungle Jim's last weekend. L24 222. I stand by everything written below. This is one of those beers where notes from 16 (gulp!) years ago seem to be precisely what I would say today. Still not a 'brown ale' to me, still ESB-like and still beautifully balanced with grace and strength. Lace is still a nice feature, so pleasant on the eye and on the palate. Oh for cask versions of beer like this one. Original notes 01/07/07 500mL...

Very Bad Elf

Very Bad Elf

Additional notes 12/23/22 (Pictured) Fantastic head, rocky with great lace and high. Color is good without any clarity. Still oodles of malt and strong hop backbone holding it up. Still a little slick; still makes you feel the size of the beer. Original notes 01/06/07 Lovely dark orange color in the pour with plenty of initial head and some decent lace. Big hoppy, tangerine, honey and mild orange notes in the nose. Lots of citrusy, orange based fruits. Tastes are more typical of an English...

Querkus Smoked Oaked Porter

Bad Elf

$4.99, Reilly's, Hilton Head, SC, USA. Simple orange pour with good clarity, nice, rocky head and very good lacing. A simple and effective English IPA. Good grassy, fresh hop nose - clean and strong, with the taste reflecting that aroma. Mild grapefruit bitterness, nicely balanced with a little biscuit malt that finishes dry and bitter exactly as an ale of this description should. Reminds me aof better cask ales, and the alcohol is very well hidden. Lots of session possibilities despite the...