Monday, December 3, 2012

Christmas Ales from a bad elf

One of my favorite things about the now-defunct gastropub Commonwealth was that, every December, they'd have the bad elf series of beers from Ridgeway brewing. There are five: Bad Elf, Very Bad Elf, Seriously Bad Elf, Criminally Bad Elf, and Insanely Bad Elf. I hadn't seen them anywhere else, until this year, when U St Beer & Wine had a four pack that included Bad Elf, and then I saw most of the rest at Cork & Fork. I had to do a vertical tasting.

It was interesting. I don't think any of these are beers you should take too seriously, but the price point reflects that. They vary in style -- Bad Elf is a golden ale, and Very Bad Elf is a more premium version of the same beer. Seriously Bad Elf is, despite the coloration, quite similar to a Belgian Dubbel, and Criminally Bad Elf is similar to a Barleywine. As an amateur beer connoisseur, I'm not going to comment on how authentic any of these beers were, but I'll just say that I don't like barleywines generally, but I like Criminally Bad Elf.

None of these are really exemplars of their style. But I think they're pretty great. They get a lot of points for the amusing packaging, and they're all decent beers. Even if it's not the best thing ever, there's nothing like drinking a criminally bad elf to get you in the holiday spirit.

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