November 28, 2009

Santa's Butt

Is it blasphemous to talk about Santa's Butt? If it is, then I guess I'll be smited (is that even a word?) because I have to write about this beer.

My best friend and I have an annual tradition of spending Black Friday drinking. It started many, many years ago by accident. She was home from college for the holiday and we decided to get together for lunch. It turned in to a drinking lunch and we had what can only be described as one of the best days ever. I don't think it really turned in to an annual thing until years later (and there have been a couple of years here and there we've been unable to get together) but for the most part, we make it a point to keep the tradition going.

Yesterday was no exception. We had lunch at the wonderful Isaac Newton's. I've written about them before, but it bears repeating that they're one of the best beer bars I've found outside of Philadelphia. Their bartenders are really knowledgeable, and they always have an amazing array of bottled and draft beers.

Which brings me back to Santa's Butt. I had to try it because it sounded good, but also because of the name (I guess I was channeling my inner 12-year old boy). I'm glad I did!

Santa's Butt is brewed by Ridgeway Brewing, which is in the UK. It's a very drinkable winter porter - perfect for those cold winter nights that are almost upon us. It pours a nice, dark brown that shows some red highlights if held up toward the light. The smell is mostly of malts - nice, roasty malts. There's also some coffee, caramel and toffee. There's definitely a coffee taste to this beer, and even some chocolate. It was a bit hoppier tasting than you might expect, given the smell. I found that to be a good thing, which shouldn't be surprising to anyone. It's also only 6% ABV, making it easy to enjoy more than one.

There's an interesting explanation for the name of the beer: in England ‘butt’ refers to a type of barrel used for brewing - a very large barrel that holds 108 imperial gallons. Back in the day, breweries put their beers in a large butt for storage.

Bottom line (pun intended) - grab Santa's Butt if you see one. You'll enjoy it much more than a lump of coal in your stocking.

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