Name – Rudolph The Red Nosed White Horse – (And, no – I am not lying!)
Brewer – White Horse
Classification – Premium Ale
Strength – 4.8%
Verdict - At A Glance
On the eye – Ruddy, in a welcoming, seasonal sort of way.
On the nose – Mercifully non-experimental. None of that festive 'spice' which can often emerge at this time of year.
On the tongue – Basically, far too good for a novelty, Christmas-themed offering.
On the subject – Be gentle with this horse! With your love, this evolving Oxford enterprise will take control of the universe. Feel free to quote me when that time comes.
On the market – An inexcusable and inexplicable golden handcuff arrangement with one UK supermarket. Bad news for most of us.
On the whole – 8.5/10
This is going to sound a little harsh, but I think the White Horse Brewery have messed up.
Selling their soul exclusively to one supermarket chain is one thing, but by also releasing this particular beer as a seasonal novelty, they are effectively denying most beer lovers a very rare treat which they should be able to savour not only everywhere, but also all year round.
Seasonal beers come and go – the concept itself somewhat dictates this fact – but, by and large, it is usually the 'Christmas' themed brews which wind up being the most experimental and, frankly, the most crazy.
But flying in the face of this trend is a drink named 'Rudolph The Red Nosed White Horse' – which has nothing particularly 'seasonal' about it, which is also not even close to being insane, and which is just too good to be disappearing from our shelves on December 26th.
This is a fabulous drink experience and, as I write this, I'm trying hard to find a good enough reason not to give it the highest rating of any beer I've reviewed so far.
Of course, I don't actually have to look very far to find that good reason. After all, this is a seasonal beer – and a Christmas novelty beer at that – so a chart-topping rating would be inappropriate to say the least. Imagine recommending one beer above all else – one which may never be seen again after less than a month or so on the market.
But what a travesty this beer's imminent withdrawal from sale really is.
This brew manages to be simultaneously warming and refreshing, both to maximum effect – and so very few beers on this planet can genuinely achieve this feat. It's fruity, malty, comforting, rewarding... all manner of things that a good ale should be.
You might argue that a year round beer ought to be a trace more nutty, or have more of a biscuit finish, or some other such quality which the brewer failed to incorporate.
The trouble is – I don't think it lacks a single thing. This beer is a little Christmas miracle, and I think it needs some serious re-branding, and with all possible haste, so it can stay right there on the market where it belongs, and where it will surely become a force to be reckoned with in no time at all.