19 January 2013

Frank’s Alcoholic Ginger and Root Beers [By @SpectreUK]

After recently sampling the fruity ginger and liquor like qualities of Jeremiah Weed’s Sour Mash Brew and Root Brew, I had pledged to try other ginger and root beers on the market to see if my liking for Jeremiah Weed’s drinks was a one off or if I really did have a fresh perspective on this type of beverage. I stumbled across these two Swedish beverages from the Kopparberg’s Brewery, which was established in 1882. So no Southern country gents here, but let’s see how they fair against Jeremiah Weed’s two new classics.

Frank’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer

This 4% volume alcoholic ginger beer was served in a 500ml bottle. The label stated that it had been blended with ginger, and contained barley malt. Almost clear in colour, this drink had a strong ginger aroma. It had a strong ginger bite to it in the initial taste, with a cooling quality that gave this drink a healthy refreshing feel. This beverage was mainly bitter ginger in taste with a malted barley finish. As this was a pure alcoholic ginger beer, I was not expecting the complexity of flavours that I was now familier with from Jeremiah Weed’s drinks, since there was no anticipated liquor or fruitiness, but that’s okay, this drink had a place of its own and could not be compared to such a multifaceted brew. A comparison with other pure alcoholic ginger beers would be more appropriate. I would certainly have this again, and I could understand why there was a recommendation on the label to serve over ice, but the cooling properties of this ginger beer didn’t really require it. This ginger beer would be well drunk under a basking hot sun in either a pub garden or in your own garden, preferably with a good book, and another bottle or two as companions. It is still snowing outside? :-/

Frank’s Alcoholic Root Beer

Jeremiah Weed’s Root Brew had not a single drop of the dreaded wintergreen ingredient in it. The ingredients listed for Frank’s Alcoholic Root Beer included wintergreen oil (Gah! Help!), barley malt, hops, yeast, liquorish root, aniseed and vanilla. This root beer was mid brown in colour, and at 4% volume and with the promise of wintergreen, the 500ml bottle seemed awfully large. On opening this root beer there was a worryingly hardy wintergreen smell mixed with aniseed and a hint of liquorish. I really do hate the taste of wintergreen, as previously mentioned more than a few times and in the Jeremiah Weed blog. We British identify wintergreen as the flavour used in mouthwash, so it has a medicinal feel to it that makes us want to gargle and spit it out rather quickly. There was a definite wintergreen initial taste to this root beer, which was unsurprising considering the strong smell. The wintergreen kick was mercilessly quick and replaced by a swift barley malt flavour that disappeared in an instant to an almost harsh aniseed tang which in turn smoothed out to liquorish, yet still leaving a strong medicinal wintergreen aftertaste that made me want to wash my mouth out… but not with dentist’s mouthwash! Although not as unpleasant as I thought it would be and this root beer did have a much more complex array of flavours to it than the Alcoholic Ginger Beer, yet sadly with its wintergreen qualities I couldn’t possibly pick another off the shelf, especially if it had a bottle of Jeremiah Weed’s Root Brew, Sour Mash Brew or Frank’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer next to it… or indeed anything else vaguely alcoholic or nonalcoholic… tap water, even…
By Spectre

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