I’ve not put loads of massive thought into my 12 beers of Christmas this year, I know there is 12 in my “cellar” under the stairs but I think I will just see what I am feeling on the day. The first 12 beers of Christmas 2016 is from Ridgeway of Oxfordshire (although brewed in Stoke?!), it is their 10% Imperial Red Ale from 2012. This little number was picked up for me by my sister, it is good having her live down in Oxford as it means a steady flow of different beers that I rarely see in these parts!
Ridgeway is run by Peter Scholey, the former head brewer of another Oxfordshire brewery, Brakspear. By the looks of their core range on their website and a few other bottles of other beers stashed away it is safe to say that Peter likes to brew a strong beer!
I like the bottle label, the Russian look show that this beer means serious business. The beer pours a glowing mahogany redish brown with a small bubbly head which evaporates fairly quick. On the nose, there is a slight metallic aroma at the front but then there is these cherry, red berry and a slight sweetness like marzipan. As soon as I sip it I am loving it, my first word in my head was glorious! It is so smooth and still has a tingly bitterness at the front of your tongue. The best way I can describe the taste is like when you take a bite into a fruit cake and you get a bit with a big bit of cherry in it, it’s not too thick or heavy like a Christmas cake but maybe more like a mince pie with hints of marzipan. When it was cool the ABV wasn’t there too much, only a slight warmth at the end of the mouthful but once the beer warmed up you did start to get the booziness from it.
From start to finish I loved it. There is a few other beers in the range that I like the sound of… I will have to see if I can get my sister to hunt them down too!