Ridgeway Brewing Company - Pickled Santa

Ridgeway Brewing Company - Pickled Santa

Beer Club featured in U.S. & International Variety Beer Club International Beer Club



Alcohol by Volume:


Ridgeway Brewing Company - Pickled Santa

  • ABV:

  • Serving Temperature:

    45-50° F
  • Suggested Glassware:

    Pint Glass or Oversized Red Wine Glass
This oddly named beer is far more tasty than you might expect from its title. The name is a reflection that the beer has been spiced—but you won't find any dill or preservatives (other than hops, of course) in this beer, so, not to worry. Traditionally, many wintertime beers are spiced with various ingredients, and the collective term for this style of beer is "Winter Warmer," owing in part to the warming effect felt in the belly as the beers carry what is, by traditional British standards, an elevated alcohol content (typically in the 6% range.) This beer rides the line between being an ESB (Extra Special Bitter) and a Winter Warmer, bringing forth the best of both styles: the spices and intrigue of a warmer, and the bitterness and easy drinking character of an ESB. On the nose, expect sweet, rich, malty notes and a solid dosing of spices such as nutmeg, allspice, clove, and cinnamon, though these are experienced more prominently in the flavor profile than by the nose. Look for a lightly sweet flavor with notes of plums, raisins, and apples, and a light citrus tartness to it, all capped by ample amounts of nutmeg, cinnamon, gingerbread, and the slightest twinge of coriander. Citrusy hop flavor works to amplify the spice profile in a most unique fashion. Finishes with a spicy, nutmeg, bitter note as the hops execute their bitterness profile. Due to the spicing in this beer, we skipped pairing and just enjoyed it on its own, though it would work well as a substitute for liquor in a seasonal eggnog recipe (aka "brewnog").
Our first featured international brewery is located approximately 30 miles west of downtown London. From the ashes of the inimitable Brakspear Brewery comes the Ridgeway Brewing Company. While we're glad to have them up and running, the brewery came into being on the heels of a rather unfortunate event. UK citizens and English beer cognoscenti alike were dismayed when they leaned that the venerable Brakspear Brewery, where the most famous and perhaps best Bitter in England had been made for CENTURIES, was being sold off to make room for an upscale hotel. The year was 2002; and, for an establishment that had been in operation since 1779, the situation was a real sign of the times that the old world of brewing is not paid the respect it's due… Another in a long line of casualties that have swept through some of Britain's most revered brewing institutions—and for what? New real estate ventures. Makes us crazy. Thankfully, the master brewer at Brakspear was determined not to let his craft come to an end. Peter Scholey thus set out on his own, setting up shop as the Ridgeway Brewing Company, not far from the site of the original brewery. The Ridgeway Brewery is named for the ancient road—passable now only on foot—that meanders through the southwest of England. The now-patchy stone surface of the Ridgeway was laid by Britain's oldest inhabitants, the Druids, thousands of years before the Romans set down their own routes through the region. The oldest road in the British Isles and Europe, it runs for just under 100 miles, passing Stonehenge as well as Peter Scholey's relatively modern home. The name represents Scholey's intent to keep British history alive and well despite the relentless passage of time and ever-encroaching development. From his new brewery, he connects old-world brewing with the innovation of a modern-day brewmaster. We tip our hats to the man for persevering against the odds and keeping traditional British beer alive and kicking.
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