Saturday, January 5, 2013

Insanely Bad Elf and Lump of Coal

The holidays are passed . . . thank the sweet goddess of brewskies . . . and now as we bust into those holiday brews that filled our stockings and were packed into boxes stuffed with tissue paper and wrapped in  floofy ribbons we have to wonder . . .  are these beers with the clever names and fun labels really any good?  Are they all show and no action? Well?  Are they?

I admit I fall prey to those bottles so craftily displayed at the check out counter and snatch them up as stocking stuffers for my hubby.  They are practically irresistible with names like Santa's Butt and Very Bad Elf.

So, I cracked open a couple of these naughty fellows to see if the awesome packaging translated into a great beer.

I started out with Insanely Bad Elf (11.2% ABV) brewed by Ridgeway Brewing.   The label depicts a drooling elf clad in a straight jacket surrounded by holiday accouterments.  Cute. I'd also like to point out that it has an adorable Santa on the cap.

This beer is an Imperial Red Ale.  It pours a nice amber color with a thin off-white head.  The aroma is malty sweet.  And the beer is that indeed.  More like a mild barley wine than a red ale.  Malt, dried fruit and some spice come through but over all it's rather flat tasting . . . I'm not talking about the mouth feel, there was plenty of fuzz.  There is a definite alcohol burn going down.  I'd say this beer is good . . . if not a touch harsh.  There's nothing remarkable about Insanely Bad Elf.  Overall, it's an average and drinkable brew but nothing special.  Get it for the fun of it but . . . 

Next up was Lump of Coal (8% ABV) brewed by Ridgeway Brewing.   A Dark Holiday Stout stating quite clearly on the label that it's "much more than you deserve for Xmas this year".  Again . . . cute Santa on the capper.

It pour a rich, dark red with a frothy coffee-n-cream colored head.  Based on the aroma alone I was expecting much more from this beer than the other . . .
espresso, cocoa and spice.  Mmmm . . . 

The taste?  Disappointing . . . all the flavors from the smell come through, but weakly.  It starts out a little sweet and finishes a little bitter.  And, I expected more spice for a holiday ale. This is a light tasting beer with average carbonation.  

Generally speaking, this is decent beer but nothing spectacular.  "Much more than you deserve for Xmas this year"?  I don't know.  I think was better than that . . . but maybe I did deserve a lump of coal.  Again, buy it for the novelty but don't expect to be wowed.

So, there you have it . . . my brutally honest review.  And, yes, I expect that I will compulsively buy another couple of this type of beer next year . . . they are awfully cute and fun!

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