Pickled Santa

Pickled SantaI received a Beer of the Month subscription (three months’ worth) for my birthday again this (last) year, and the among the first shipment is Pickled Santa. It’s brewed by Ridgeway Brewery out of England—the same folks that produce the "Bad Elf" line and Santa’s Butt—and imported by Shelton Brothers.

This 6% alcohol ale is brewed to "Bitter" spec but is distinguished by the very liberal use of spices. Of note, quoting the website, themselves quoting the brewer:

the flavour comes from fresh WHOLE SPICES. Not flavour extracts, not essential oils, and not ready ground supermarket blends. Whole spices weighed and blended, bagged up, then carefully but repeatedly run over with a two ton fork lift truck driven just for good measure by 260 pound Brian to crush them ready for addition to the brew.

You can’t see the label property from my picture there, but yes, it is Santa stuffed into a pickling jar.

Appearance: Very clear copper-orange in color. Light beige head, fell pretty quickly after the pour.

Smell: Full of spices—orange peel is prominent, sweet and juicy, but there are also hints of allspice, nutmeg, coriander, cinnamon.

Taste: A copper ale (lightly tangy with a hint of roast and bitterness) punctuated by those spices you can smell—on the tongue, the cinnamon and nutmeg are more prominent but there’s definitely a bit of oily orange peel bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Lighter than medium-bodied, with a dry finish from the spices.

Overall: Pretty good, actually, a nice showcase of winter spices without overdoing it. Plus the label’s great, if a little creepy.

On BeerAdvocate, it scores an overall grade of B-. On RateBeer, it scores 3.26 out of 5 and is in their 62nd percentile.

Ridgeway Pickled Santa