For the past few years, I’ve written monthly beer reviews in a column titled Still Drinkin’ for a local dirtbag rag. This month I’ve written my first Still Drinkin’ column since January. It’s still a beverage review piece, just with a non-alcoholic twist. I hope this inspires curiosity in your attempts to quench the summer heat.

*****

After deciding to lay down the bottle back in February, I needed something to replace all the beer once holding purchase in my crisper. Remembering the great discovery the wife and I made last summer while sucking down two-to-three Moscow Mules a day, I turned my attention first to ginger beer. *(Notice the Moscow Mule recipe at the end of this article.) That love of ginger beer piqued my interest in root beers. Over my past few sober months I’ve tried just about every craft made ginger beer and root beer sold in the BCS area. Places like The Brazos Natural Food Store, Village Foods, and World Market have provided a cornucopia of non-corn syrupy, pure cane sugar soda beverages. The result is a new passion for natural sodas, one I believe will surpass the end of my beer fast. Below is a brief selection of the best craft sodas I’ve discovered. Enjoy.

It might be helpful, first of all, to distinguish some sort of fundamental difference between ginger ALE and ginger BEER. From what I can tell through my palette’s research, ginger BEER features more ginger spice, less sugary soda sweetness. After discovering ginger BEER, I noticed my long loved Canada Dry Ginger Ale tasted like a 7-Up knock-off. Not true of the ginger BEER! And of all the ginger BEER we’ve tasted, Reed’s Extra Ginger Brew takes the crown. Smooth and buttery with a spiked ginger finish, Reed’s is not an overly sweet soda. And the ginger spice is a crisp thirst quencher. But for the spicier palette I highly recommend Maine’s Spicy Ginger Beer, Regatta Ginger Beer, and Cock-n-Bull Ginger Beer. I’m looking forward to trying these spicy brews in a Moscow Mule one day. And the added bonus of Ginger Beer consumption is the medicinal benefit of ginger. Good for the belly.

I’ve never been much of a root beer drinker until I discovered craft natural root beers. Like your corporate ginger ales, most big name root beers are high fructose corn syrup sticky sugar bombs. Not refreshing. Void of complex flavors. This was my impression of root beer until I tried my first bottle of Virgil’s Root Beer. Virgil’s, made by the same company that makes Reed’s Ginger Brews, hands down wins the root beer category. Virgil’s is stout stuff with a strong black licorice flavor profile, which is probably why it won me over. Blue Sky Creamy Root Beer is a bit less licorice-y and easy to palette. It also makes the best floats we’ve tried. Sprecher Root Beer (sold in bombers at World Market) is a thick beast that reminds me more of a Russian Imperial Stout than a soda pop. Be prepared to split the Sprecher with a friend. And you can’t go wrong with BJ’s craft root beer on tap. And with free refills, they make a strong case for a fine happy hour.

*Moscow Mule recipe: Traditionally served in either a Collins glass or a copper mug, squeeze ½ a lime over ice (drop in lime peel), add two ounces of preferred vodka, and four to six ounces of ginger BEER. Be careful with the Mule! The ginger is deceivingly refreshing and inviting of more Mule. You’ll be three Mules into the afternoon before the vodka shouts a howdy.

Advertisements
Comments
  1. the Girl says:

    Sharif loves Virgil’s. I believe they have it at Eatzie’s, which we miss dearly because we don’t have Eatzie’s here in CA. I still love A&W – i’m lame and mainstream.

  2. Jason says:

    This is such a cool review. I’m going to try some Reed’s Ginger Beer because of your recommendation. Virgil’s is definitely a complex root beer… almost TOO complex for my tastes. In all of my searches for the perfect root beer, none have eclipsed our local root beer from the Louisburg Cider Mill called Lost Trail Root Beer. It’s tasty, tasty stuff. Keep the reviews coming, good sir!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s