The craft beer world has a well-documented love of all things aromatic and spicy (pumpkin spice anyone?). And most breweries reserve their best efforts in the spice game for fall. But this year, pumpkin has been preempted… by ginger. Some of the best craft breweries in America rode the ginger beer wave this summer, and the results made quite a splash. Here are the spicy brews that float to the top.
Good Juju, Left Hand Brewing Company
Beer from Colorado’s Left Hand Brewing Company has only been available in Southern California for a few months. But that’s all the time it took to make devoted followers of us all. And Left Hand’s entre into the world of ginger reveals why we’re all in on this brewery. Good Juju is a pale ale spiced with organic ginger that brings together a bit of earthy malt and an aromatic ginger kick (but there’s not much of a punch; the beer boasts a mere 4.5% ABV). It’s a small beer with balanced flavors, great for a cookout with friends or reading a book on the back porch. And if you’re looking for something a bit bigger, Left Hand also makes an Imperial version of the beer called Great Juju.
Pear Ginger Beer, New Belgium Brewing Company
New Belgium’s Lips of Faith Series is responsible for some of the most inspired (and weird) craft brews in America. And the latest kiss from the Lips series is laced with ginger. Pear Ginger Beer was designed by New Belgium to work as a cocktail mixer or on its own, but I think it actually works better in the former capacity. The added lemon peel and pear just can’t stand up to the ginger, so the beer comes off a bit single note. However—muddle some lime and mix it with a shot of Grey Goose and you’ve got a crazy delicious Moscow Mule on your hands.
Ginger-Lemon Radler, Boulevard Brewing Company
Ginger-Lemon Radler from Midwest stalwart Boulevard is ginger beer done right. Zee Germans are responsible for the radler as a style, and it’s generally a 50:50 mix of light, low-ABV beer (a pilsner for example) and sparkling lemonade. The Ginger-Lemon Radler from Boulevard doesn’t stray much from that mold, but it does rock the style so hard that it leaves any other competition in the mash. Ginger leads on the nose and on the palate, but sweet citrus quickly balances the spice. A creamy malt finish rounds out the experience. This one is a must try in the midst of a season full of them. Make a point to put Ginger Lemon Radler at the top of your list.