Ridgeway Bitter

Ridgeway BitterRidgeway Bitter has the distinction of being one of Men’s Journal’s infamous picks for the best beers in the world a couple of years ago—in fact, it got the "gold" of their Ales & Bitters category. This is a true session beer, at only 4% alcohol by volume, and it’s a fine representative of one of the classic English styles.

The label proclaims, "Bottled conditioned beer," and indeed a layer of yeast on the bottom of the bottle indicates it to be so. The description of the beer itself indicates that it uses Challenger hops and a new hops named Boadicea, one I’ve not heard of—though it’s proclaimed to be aphid-resistant (something I would’ve appreciated!).

Appearance: Very clear, caramel-brown and orange in color. Fizzy, fluffy white head built up as I poured.

Smell: English hops and sweet malt—caramel-toffee sweet, some butterscotch.

Taste: Hops right up front, twiggy and woody and spicy. Nice and bitter, all right. Malt is mellow and crisp, a little "red" tasting, a good backbone for the hop profile.

Mouthfeel: Light and well-carbonated—fizzy in the mouth, with a bit of dryness from the hops.

Overall: Good, though hoppier than I would have expected, surprisingly. If I could get some of this on draft, cask-conditioned… that’d be the stuff.

On BeerAdvocate, it scores 84 out of 100, with 98% reviewer approval. On RateBeer, it scores 3.07 out of 5 and is in their 50th percentile.