Skip to main content

Advent Calendar Window 8 - Seriously Bad Elf

"But who here would ever understand, 
That the pumpkin King with the skeleton grin, 
Would tire of his crown, if they only understood
He'd give it all up if he only could."

The series of “Bad Elf” brews from Ridgeway Brewery have appeared in this calendar every year since its inception, this being the final beer I haven’t tried. Appearing like the uglier version of Wychwood’s Hobgoblin, I’ve never held out much hope for the taste of these. But these elves have been more Legolas than Azog the Defiler so far. So far…

Ridgeway still remain under the eye of former Brakspear brewer Peter Scholey. Scholey has long had a love/hate relationship with beer – I assume. Whilst he’s happy to insult you with his Ridgeway IPA and Bad King John, he is happy to give you his Ridgeway Barley Wine, to remind you that he has actually tasted beer and sometimes likes it.

The Christmas collection from Ridgeway is no acception. Whislt Scholey wants you to burn your Christmas tree to the ground with Santa’s Butt and take a flamethrower to the Christmas markets with Reindeer’s Revolt, the series of Bad Elf beers have shown that he may have once had a visit from three beer spirits, determined to show the world there was good in beer in the past, present and future.


It is with that we hope that Seriosuly Bad Elf, behind Window 8 in this Advent Calendar will be more Band Aid 30 than Band Aid II. 



Pouring like your least favourite Wetherspoon's lager, the constant bubbling over the golden hue in your glass reminds me more of a cheap Prosecco, than big beer. The nose is beer. There's wafts of aged sherry and mincemeat coming from the depths, but on the whole there's this supermarket shelf whiff of teenage ale that's been harshly subjected to severe light. The taste follows from this. This is something Ridgeway were drinking in the flashbacks with the ghosts of Christmas Beers past. It tastes old, tired and like it's been sat on a dusty back shelf in a Nicholson's run pub for many a year. There's a lot of sawdust, grass, rich tea biscuits and the ever lingering taste of bar towels. It's certainly boozy and is rescued a little by a Christmas pudding aftertaste that at least brings some festive joy to this Ould Aile. But mostly this beer is Bad. Where the other beers in this series were Bob Crockett, this is Scrooge. Where the others were Lucy-Lou, this was the Grinch. Where the others were Jack Skellington, this was Oogie Boogie. Where the other's were pigs in blankets, this is the sprout you kicked around the plate before deciding that life's too short to eat such shit. Seriously Bad Elf is not seriously bad, but it isn't very good either. "We've got a rather serious elf problem here," the label reads, just above the brewer's name. Yes, you have.

Christmas Spirit Rating: 14% BURN IT. BURN IT ALL

or
The terrific but lively Santa's Private Reserve from last year

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Children and Dogs in Pubs and Bars

  I once took my niece to the pub. She was either 1 or 2 years of age. I often looked after her on Saturdays and on one of our weekly walks, for the first time, I stopped by the local pub, mainly because my friend was there with his daughter of similar age. The two kids got on well together and it was a lovely couple of hours; a perfect showcase of adult friends and their children existing in public houses. But my sister was furious. She didn’t rant or rave but her lips were purser than a 90s children’s show teacher. It was here that I learned of the effect that our childhood had had upon her. She recalls many an afternoon being bored in the corner of pubs that our Dad had dragged us to, arms folded in the corner with nothing to do, and she doesn’t want the same for her children. The idea of her first born being taken to pubs infuriates her; fearful that they would be subjected to the same unhappy experiences that she was.  I don’t recall those times in the same way as my s

My Life in Guinness - Drink What You Like

      I first obtained my booze “bragging rights” drinking 4 cans of the black stuff at a house party in my mid-teens. Teenage masculinity was judged on one’s ability to put away alcohol in the early noughties. It appears trite and toxic now but, as a 15-year-old, to hear my older brother’s friends say “Well played mate, I couldn’t down that stuff” was the kind of social praise we devoured.   It didn’t occur to me then that twenty years on the same drink would be causing an industry existential crisis. I wasn’t pondering the reasoning behind my drink choice 20 years ago. It was fairly simple: I drank Guinness because I liked the taste. I differed from my friends in that sense, who chose crates of Fosters and Bacardi Breezers for house parties as it was the done thing. At least two of those present at those gatherings would go on to use the common phrase “Let’s be honest – nobody really likes the taste of beer” in their adult life and expect universal agreement.   It

The Ten Pubs That Made Me - Part 3: Dr Okell's / My Foley's Tap House and Leeds

A pint in Mr Foley's Tap House from December 2022     This is Part 3 (the fourth post) of an ongoing project. Please see the beginning of Part 0 for details.    Come the end of this journey, there may be a lesson in procrastination that I am unlikely to heed. These posts stem from a list that I made three years ago and a series that I embarked on 18 months ago. We’ve only now reached a 30% completion rate and with this post we are back to fail for the second time.   This odyssey began with a trip to Mr Foley’s Tap House in February 2022 – named Dr Okell’s bar on my first visits in 2005 – only to discover that it was closed. It did reopen by the time that the post was coming out and I managed a brief visit in December 2022. However, my July 1 st 2023 trip to Leeds, on which this post is based, is met with this sign at the door of the bar:      A quick check of social media shows an Instagram post from the day before (June 30 th ) announcing the closure of the