Brewers large and small are trying many things in an attempt to to stem the bleeding in the beer market. They have enthusiastically leapt onto cider and fruit in beer and, more recently, some some have shown interest in ginger beers.
Woolworths-owned Dan Murphy’s made a big play in ginger beers this year, with some success judging by the take-up by restaurants and bars. Recently Lion released their XXXX Summer Cloudy Ginger Beer, a ginger infused version of their successful clear-bottled lager. While Summer Bright has been a success, the ginger-infused seems to have underwhelmed the 18-25s. Either that, or I don’t go to the right places.
Into that market, the Lion-owned James Squire’s single batch offshoot label, Mad Brewers, (it gets confusing) is about to launch Ginger Chops, an alcoholic ginger ale. Details are below, but I have clarified with Chief Brewer Tony Jones and the ginger is freeze dried ginger powder, which Tony says keeps its aromatics better than other options. It is added to the kettle late, just before the whirlpool. Some of the later batches have seen a portion added to the maturation tanks as well. Approximately 5 kilos is added per 5000 litre batch.
As for the taste, I have to profess a liking for some of the better examples of brewed ginger beers that have cropped up lately, even if they are “sickly sweet”. I find that the burn of the ginger offsets the sweetness quite nicely to provide the same sort of interplay that malt and robust hop bitterness give in a good pilsener. That upfront ginger burn is lacking in Ginger Chops, instead offering up an earthy ginger character that make the relatively low bitterness (12BU) a little more pronounced. It does come through gently a little later in the glass though. I’m not sure that it’s one that I will sit and drink regularly, but it would work as an interesting flavour match for Asian foods and I will definitely pair it up with something long on lemongrass and coriander to see how the flavours work together. I suspect they will.
It will be interesting to see how the market reacts to this one. [MK]
Malt Shovel Mad Brewers
Winter 2012 Limited Release
Alcoholic Ginger Ale
Hot on the heels of our challenging summer release Hoppy Hefe comes our Mad Brewers winter offering Ginger Chops Alcoholic Ginger Ale.
“Have these guys gone truly batty?” I hear you say.
Well, let me assure you our Mad Brewers are not into following the current trend of sickly sweet ginger “beers” which are suddenly flooding the market. But these did set our furtive minds fermenting. Ginger is a wondrous aromatic & warming culinary spice which can be a great flavouring ingredient when carefully crafted into the brewing bill. The trouble with most alcoholic ginger alcoholic “beers” is.……well, they are not really beers. So we Mad Brewers thought it was time to put that right.
This winter’s off beat concoction brings you the warming glow of spicy ginger, layered on an authentic beer brew boasting a full lashing of malted wheat & barley, rounded out with the subtle addition of an aromatic Australian honey. It won’t cure the common cold, but it’s sure to keep your innards warm this winter, while you doze off and dream of all things ginger.
True to our Mad Brewers ethos of pushing the boundaries we found no need to dial up the alcohol & hops to light your fire this winter. Ginger Chops comes in at a moderate 4.2% ABV. and with a bitterness of 12 BU.
Enjoy our tribute to that little bit of spice in all of us. Mad Brewers Ginger Chops, but be quick before it runs out!
This winter we present Mad Brewers in an exciting new 330ml four pack format with 4x 4 packs (16x 330ml bottles) per case, which will be available in selected good liquor stores nationally from 25 June. As always for a limited time only. Ginger Chops will also be available on tap at the James Squire Brewhouses and Brewbars, plus a number of selected bar accounts in each state.