09 December 2010

Lidl donkey

One thing I won't miss about not attending the Pig's Ear festival this year is execrable Christmas beer nomenclature: Rudolph's This, Santa's That -- it's stultifyingly dull. Mind you, the beers are often quite good, at least when they have a bit of oomph to them. I've found in the past that low-ABV Christmas ales are very rarely drinkable.

So it was with trepidation that I approached Shepherd Neame's seasonal offering (sigh) Rudolph's Reward. I was quite fond of their, more soberly-titled, Christmas Ale: a bitter and spicy 7% ABV thumper. But the new kid is only 4%, so how much yuletide cheer is there likely to be inside?

(Can we pause for a second and look at that label? Smirking Rudolph appears to be wearing Santa's clothing, implying some kind of gruesome Animal Farm-style takeover of the North Pole workshop or mid-air sleigh mutiny. Whatever Rudolph is hoisting to celebrate his seizure of the means of production, it is a blonde beer and plainly not Rudolph's Reward.)

The beer looks, in fairness, lovely: dark red-amber, with a long lasting fine-bubbled head. Nothing offensive about the nose: hints of caramel and chocolate. It's the latter which leads the flavour. I say "leads", but there's not really a whole lot else. Just on the finish you get a whiff of Shepherd Neame's signature lightstruck hops, but not enough to contribute much (good or bad) to it. It's mercifully less fizzy than a lot of the brewery's bottled offerings, but the texture is very watery. Stronger it would just be sweet and cloying, however. It needs more complexity before I'd recommend it, even at €1.49 a pop in Lidl.


  1. I think your outline of a script for an elf lead uprising against their rotund oppressor sounds brilliant

  2. Can I believe my eyes?! During a recent detour into the 'seasonal' end of the market, I stumbled upon a bottle of White Horse Brewery's "Rudolph The Red Nosed White Horse". Is it me, or were these two beers separated at birth?

    Judge for yourself -


  3. Dave: So that would make Rudolph their puppet king, then? And once he realises what's happened and starts to mourn the old regime and his former kindly master, cross-cut to the end of the elves' venison feast?

    Hearty Goodfellow: There's a lot of it about. Though it sounds like the beer you had was actually good.

  4. "Lidl donkey" - quality!!

  5. Alas, it was good - though it pained me to have to admit it. I mean, with a label like that, who in this galaxy could actively want to like it!

    Bah, humbug!

  6. Blimey that's a shocking looking beer. It might as well have some tinsel around its neck.

  7. Bought a couple of bottles from Lidl's the other week; it was only 99p in our local store! Have to agree with your comments about watery texture, and light-struck hops, but then I am not a fan of Sheps atthe best of times.

    I will look out though for their stronger 7% Christmas Ale.

  8. I do recall enjoying the Christmas Ale, and hope to do so again. The rest... Well, poor Rudolph got shafted. Some reward.

  9. Great description of a Santa mutiny.