Beers locals like: A little ginger and orange taste nice
2017. A brand new year. A whole new beginning. Tabula rasa. Our agendas have been set, our resolutions have been made and our palates have been cleansed. So, let’s dive into the New Year on a different note with a different type of beer that definitely hits the senses in a different sort of way.
Southern Tier Imperial Ginger Beer: Yes. It’s actually ginger beer, and – yes – it has alcohol in it (to the tune of 8.5 percent). That shouldn’t come as a shock to those who know Southern Tier Brewing Co. I mean, let’s face it, 8.5 percent ABV is closer to their low end than many of their other brews (I’m thinking Choklat from last month and Warlock Imperial Pumpkin from back in the fall). Another hint: if the word “Imperial” is in the title of a beer, chances are it’s a bit more high octane than your everyday lawn darts/bocce lager.
At any rate, this beer is interesting if nothing else. Personally, I enjoyed it. The ginger aspect (which is profound throughout the smell and taste) is not a Canada Dry sweetened experience but rather a spicy “real ginger” savor (think of the Spicy Ginger Maker at The Bee’s Knees downtown). Truly, the only significant alcohol I got on the tongue was on the back end with a tinge of yeast and some malts to match, and I’d say if you like ginger – real ginger – then you should try this brew. I had mine all by itself at first and then with a Danish butter cookie.
Blood Orange Wheat Ale: You probably recognize Full Sail Brewery and Tasting Room and Pub (yes, that’s the full title) from their IPAs or Bourbon Barrel Aged brews (of which there are several). I chose this beer for this month’s column in part because I had it on New Year’s Eve with Barry, Colin, Will and Chris, and, if my memory serves me correctly, we all enjoyed it. I also chose it because Game of Thrones is about to return to HBO in a few months, and it just sounds like an ale that one of the Lannisters would imbibe. The blood orange gives a welcome note of sour to the wheat. Plus, the moderate carbonation makes this one of those brews you could really enjoy in any season. I had mine with a small pastry which included cream cheese, sour cream and pickled jalapeños and found that it did well to both complement and rescue me from the spices.
Ben Casella does enjoy spicy ginger and pickled jalapeños, but both foods make his forehead sweat. In fact, thinking or writing about either of these foods also makes his forehead sweat. If you’re with him and witness this phenomenon, the classiest thing would be just to not draw attention to it.