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Lump of Coal


Ridgeway beers are greeted in the States with much fanfare: Their catchy, sometimes controversial names (Santa's Butt, for example) and flashy lables create a stir in the beer aisle. This particular selection -- which, despite its moniker is available throughout Spring -- is a lovely, dark, reddish-brown with ruby highlights and a sticky, tan head. For as dark as it is, the aroma is mild, with chocolate and berry sweetness touched by faint smoke tones. The flavors are tempered for the style as well, with only quick bursts of chocolate, toasted nuttiness and alcohol heat; and while those flavors are appropriate, the tastes are somewhat thin where they should be robust. Moderately carbonated, it's a mild- to full-bodied brew with a chocolatey sweetness that rings into the aftertaste.


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