Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Ginger Beer Review 1: Bundaberg

First up is Bundaberg Ginger Beer from Australia (you know it’s Australian because it has a kangaroo on the label). I was first attracted to it because of the squat bottle, much like Red Stripe, which is a regular, alcoholic beer. It also has a neat pull tab contraption to open it, but you can’t see that here because I already opened and drank the contents. The label says, “Invert bottle before opening.” I appreciate this instruction for two reasons: 1) I like my ginger beer chunky; 2) I like beverages that give me a project to do. The label also claims, “Craft brewed over 3 days.” I have no idea what this means. It sounds fancy, but I have no idea if three days is a long time to make ginger beer or a short time. Like, “We’re taking our time to make the best ginger beer possible” or “we’re making it fast so that it gets out to you as soon as possible.” Either would be good.

Whatever the case, I really liked this ginger beer. It’s sweet, making the ginger flavor less spicy or sharp. It has hints of pineapple, even though that isn’t one of the ingredients. It does, however, list ginger root as one of the ingredients, which is surprisingly not as common as you would think. Ginger ales (as opposed to ginger beers) don’t always have ginger in them, I was surprised and alarmed to find out. Like that Vernors bullshit, which calls itself “ginger soda” (and that should be indication enough that it’s crap and doesn’t even belong in the same conversation as real ginger beers and ales). Vernors has zero ginger in it. Hard pass.

By the way, if you didn’t already know, ginger beer is fermented; ginger ale is a carbonated beverage with ginger flavoring. That’s the difference. Ginger soda is bullshit.

Anyway, I wanted to start out with a positive review. Bundaberg Ginger Beer is good. It has a sweet, pineapple taste and nice chunks. It’s not lemony like Rachel’s, which would push it over the top. It also has a fun bottle with instructions. I would definitely drink this again. 9/10

Andy's Ginger Beers and Ales Reviews Start Now!

Last year, I went to Seattle for a conference. While there, I became obsessed with Rachel's Ginger Beer, to the tune of 3-4 bottles a day. Since then, I've been on a quest to find a ginger beer or ginger ale on the east coast that comes close to Rachel's. I haven't found it yet. However, when I went to the grocery store the other day, I realized that I had tried most of the ones they had there, but I don't remember which I liked and which I didn't because I haven't been keeping track. So, I feel like it's important to document my quest by posting reviews here on my blog which has been defunct for seven years.

 I want to specify that I am only interested in ginger beers and ales as soft drinks. I don't give a shit what makes the best Moscow Mules or Dark and Stormies. Most internet lists only treat ginger beers as mixers and not as independent beverages in their own right. And some that get recommended on those lists taste like alcohol is missing from them. I don't have time for that mess.

Here are the rules: I'm going to use a 10-point scale, 10 being Rachel's. Also, I would be glad to hear recommendations. However, don't recommend Vernors; I've tried it, it's crap, and I will not take you seriously. If Rachel's is 10, Vernors is 0. That's the spectrum.