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

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...

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...

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

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

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...

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

500 mL bottle, F09 193. Quite an aggressive looking Santa on the label. $4.99 or $5.99 from Smyrna World of Beverage, Smyrna, Atlanta, GA, USA. Flat Cola appearance. Over carbonated initially in the pour, but strangely enough no head or lace. Body is WAY too light for the style. Disappointing. Drinks like a pretty average Brown Ale. Thin. Dryish finish and with some alcohol in the nose. A bit chalky. Described as a "Winter Porter" whatever that is, this fails on a number of fronts. I dunno -...

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 Ackworth, 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

500 mL bottle. Green's, Atlanta, GA, USA. $5.95. Black body with some ruby red highlights. Some spotty lace on the surface of the beer. Licorice in the nose. Tasty beer but not really stout like. Good malts, but not much bitterness. A little thin in the mouth for the style I think, and in many ways this isn't really very "stout like". Quite sweet with a little alcohol in the background of the finish. Expensive for what it is.

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.

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

500 mL bottle, Green's on Ponce, Atlanta, GA, USA. $4.95. OK, first off I'm of the opinion that this fits much better in the category of English ESB. It lacks the truly "brown" appearance of a classic English brown ale (don't get me wrong it still looks great) and has much more of a dark orange amber pour with great, dense head and some really nice lacing. Very full bodied, smooth as silk, malts and hops balance and a really prevelant residual sweetness. The nuttiness is apparanet in the...

Very Bad Elf

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 Barleywine than a Pale Ale. Quite of bit of alcohol upfront, and some dry hops. Actually quite viscous in the mouth - a little bit of syrup. Sweet. Fnishes very dry considering the style. I liked this a lot, pretty odd for the style, but a very nice beer.

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...