Reindeer’s Revolt by Ridgeway Brewing (Oxfordshire, England) will probably be the last “Christmas” themed ale in our series on Christmas and winter ales, as Christmas was over fourteen days ago. I know, I know. It is just so hard to let go. Lucky for all, there are still a few Christmas ale leftovers from the holiday season, Reindeer’s Revolt being one. But do not fret, fellow ale adventurers! There are still plenty of winter ales and warmers left to tackle this season.
Reindeer’s Revolt, besides being a Christmas themed ale, is an English ale, or bitter. The term “bitter,” as referring to ale, originated in England; however, most English bitters are not nearly as bitter as their American counterparts. It is true to its style and, at 6% ABV, adds no holiday spice other than a fun name and bottle imagery.
The aroma wafts up even as the pour is still going–that great, strong smell of English ale. Most of what is in the nose is what you get in the taste as well. There are notes of extremely ripened fruit, likened to sweet prunes mingled with citrus, along with some faint traces of toffee-ish and yeast flavors in the background. It is, after all, an English ale/bitter, so there is a subdued and very dry English hop bitterness along with a typical and o-so mildly estery* sensation, especially in the finish. English ale is not everyone’s cup of tea, but if you are into the Old Speckled Hens and Newcastles of the spectrum, this ale is definitely for you.
Reindeer’s Revolt is available in Winston-Salem at Total Wine & More and can be found, more specifically, in a display up front toting most of the Christmas ale hangers-on. There are a few other selections by Ridgeway, such as Criminally Bad Elf (barleywine) and a few twenty-two ouncers of Santa’s Private Reserve, by Rogue Ales. For more information on the importers, Shelton Brothers, of Belchertown, Massachusetts, click here. Also, for more on the long, cloudy history which in the silver lining that is Ridgeway Brewering, click here. Bottoms up!
*vinegary taste. It is not unpleasant as it may sound, and you know the one, especially if you are a big fan of English ales (such as Newcastle) on tap. Yes, Newcastle is an English brown ale, but it is the same principle. The taste is a result of a reaction between an acid and an alcohol, and this flavor, along with the über-ripened fruit notes, is largely attributed to the use of English yeast cultures. Thanks, All About Beer!