They said it couldn’t be done, but we did it: Santa’s Butt, the beer, coming to
a theater near you for the holidays. It’s a splendid, satisfying Winter Porter
at 6% -- a souped-up version of the classic Entire Butt Porter that you’ve
enjoyed in the past. Everyone wants a piece of Santa’s Butt.
This special porter is made for winter -- rich and warming, the way they like it
in the North Pole. It was inspired by this famous line from a well-loved
children’s story book:
"And Santa sat on his great butt, drinking a hearty brew."
In case you find that amusing, we hasten to point out that in England ‘butt’
refers to a certain barrel used in brewing -- a very large barrel, in fact,
holding 108 imperial gallons. Back in the day it was quite a normal thing for a
brewery to put its beer up in a large butt for storage.
Still snickering, eh? Get your mind out of the gutter or Santa will skip your
house entirely this year.
The illustration for the Santa's Butt label was painted by Massachusetts artist
Gary Lippincott. Go to his web site and buy something for chrissakes. The poor
guy works for beer.
Ridgeway Brewing - England
It’s a sad tale, the closing of the venerable Brakspear brewery in
Henley-on-Thames, where the most famous and surely the best Bitter in
England has been made for centuries. The brewery, in operation since 1779,
was sold off in 2002 in parts to make room for an upscale hotel, and
everyone who worked there was let go, without so much as a by-your-leave.
But for beer lovers, the closing was not a complete disaster. Thankfully,
the master brewer at Brakspear, Peter Scholey, determined to strike out on
his own. Peter has set up shop as Ridgeway Brewing, not so far from Henley,
and already he’s putting out beers so good they could almost make you forget
The Ridgeway Brewery is named for the ancient road – passable now only on
foot – that meanders along a low escarpment across the high, rolling
pastoral plain that is the southwest of England. The now patchy stone
surface of the Ridgeway was laid by Britain’s oldest inhabitants – Druids
and the like – thousands of years before the Romans turned up to build their
own roadways. It is the oldest road in the British Isles and Europe, running
nearly 100 miles, past that other ancient landmark, Stonehenge, as well as
Peter Scholey’s relatively modern home, along the way.