Ginger Grouse – the new alcoholic ginger beer – with Famous Grouse Scotch!

I’m trying something a little different today; indeed, a beverage usually enjoyed more readily by DTS: ginger beer. There is a reason why I’m writing about it, though, and that’s because it’s got a dash or two of The Famous Grouse whisky in it. This is Ginger Grouse – a 500ml bottle of alcoholic ginger beer that’s bottled at 4%ABV.

On its own (chilled)
Nose: What I’d expect from any good ginger beer: mostly warm ginger, with hints of sweet butter.
Taste: Whilst not overly or forcibly bubbly, lots of small bubbles do rush over your tongue initially. The flavour is then light and refreshing, with notes of citrus – both lemon and lime, and both buttery and creamy, reminding me of lemon tart and key lime pie. The whisky is subtle, but present from the outset, adding a very light woodiness that reminds me of a Whisky & Ginger; the main difference being the stronger, more fiery notes of ginger on the finish that gradually build up as you drink more. All in all, this is tasty, refreshing, and very easy to drink.

Over ice
The lower temperature seems to highlight the more buttery notes (reminiscent of some other, cool ginger beers), along with the lemon and lime notes. Unfortunately, it generally seemed a less balanced, with these flavours being stronger and the finish being weaker and a little watery. I’d definitely just keep this chilled.

Over ice with a slice of lime (the bottle’s serving suggestion)
The lime is prominent and makes this a more fruity drink, but there’s also more of a contrast between the savoury acidity of the fruit and the butter notes of the ginger beer. This battle of flavours hides all traces of the whisky, so this is easily my least favourite way of serving Ginger Grouse.

In Conclusion
I like the range and variety of the Famous Grouse product line, even if I don’t like all of the products themselves*, but – fortunately – I do like this one. Whilst it didn’t bowl me over, it’s light and refreshing, with a hint of whisky and a medium level of fiery ginger on the finish, making it better for quenching your thirst, in my opinion, than many other alcoholic ginger beers. Just make sure not to dilute it too much with ice or mask the flavours with any citrus – it’s perfectly fine on its own.

– Mrs. B.

Ginger Grouse is available from Tesco for around £2 for 500ml.

* We’ve written about a few: The Famous Grouse Spice, The Famous Jubilee, and a range of their more readily-available whiskies.

** Ingredients – Carbonated water, Sugar, Alcohol (spirit-based 70%, blended Scotch Whisky 30%), Natural flavourings, citric Acid E330, Caramel E150, Preservatives (sodium benzoate E211, potassium sorbate E202)

Jeremiah Weed Brews

Frequenters of the UK pub chain J.D Wetherspoon with an adventurous nature will probably have seen this: Jeremiah Weed’s Sweet Tea, a vodka that has been flavoured with sweet iced tea. As it was an exclusive for Wetherspoon’s bars, it was with pleasant surprise that I spied a new Jeremiah Weed product in the Food Hall at John Lewis Oxford Street in the form of Jeremiah Ginger Brew.

Some quick research online revealed that, in addition to the two products mentioned above, a third is also available: Jeremiah Weed Sour Mash. Following a short conversation with some splendid people, I found myself in possession of these newest additions to the line, as well as a rather funky piece of glassware to enjoy them from.

A Little Background on Jeremiah Weed
The first part of the story is rather incredible, so here is a quote taken directly from their website:

“In the 70s, two fighter pilots discovered Jeremiah Weed after surviving a plane crash during a routine mission. Ever since then, every USAF fighter squadron has a lounge where the pilots sometimes gather for a cold beer after the flying day is over. Every refrigerator in each of those lounges contains a chilled bottle of a 100-proof product called Jeremiah Weed. For special occasions, and sometimes for no reason at all, someone will bring out the Weed, fill a shot glass for each person present, and propose a toast.”

In the early 1980s, a Jeremiah Weed bourbon liqueur was created and sold in the hills of eastern Kentucky and Tennessee, an area with a long history of whiskey production. The Sweet Tea has been trialled in Wetherspoons in the UK for the last two years, but 2012 saw the launch of two new beverages designed specifically for the UK market.

Jeremiah Weed Root Brew
Bottled at 4%ABV this had an intriguing nose of sweet ginger, sarsaparilla and malt. To taste, it had quite a rich texture and, like the Sour Mash brew, a medium-low level of fizz. The ginger was definitely there, along with some herbal and citrus notes. Not too sweet, it was quite refreshing on its own, even without ice. The finish had reasonable fire to it.

Once ice was added, I found that the fire became far more restrained and, as a result, the drink became more refreshing. It was nice served with a lemon wedge.

Overall, this was well-balanced and easy-to-drink.

Jeremiah Weed Sour Mash
Bottled at 4% ABV, the Sour Mash brew is a bourbon flavoured drink. It contains a mix of fruit alcohol and real bourbon, as well as some other flavours.

Cool and refreshing, it has a medium-low fizz. The initial flavour that hit my palette was a slight bready maltiness, but what I found most surprising was that – just after that initial flavour – you can really taste the bourbon. If someone had given this to me, I would have probably thought that it was a long bourbon drink. There was a good, natural sweetness and lots of woody notes. I found it easy to drink and very refreshing. The finish had a slightly acidic, citrus note, similar to pineapple juice, which then faded into a vanilla creaminess.

In Conclusion
I like both of the products. The Root Brew plays nicely with the recent increase in the public palette for ginger flavoured products. Having said this, the Sour Mash was certainly my favourite of the two; I liked how it’s both quite different and much better than any other bottled, long bourbon drinks out there.

Jeremiah Weed Brews are available at selected Asda and Waitrose stores for around £2.50 for 500ml; for more details check their Facebook Page.

Alcoholic Ginger Beer Update #6 – Wychwood’s GingerBeard & Crabbie’s Black

The recent popularity in Alcoholic shows no signs of abating with two new varieties of ginger beer released for Christmas 2011 and a popular brewery wading into the frey.

Crabbie’s Black Reserve


nose: strong slightly syrupy with a hint of spice and fire at the end
taste: crisp and citrusy to start with then some sweetness and a good kick of ginger fire. Medium to low fizz touch of smokiness to.  This is refreshing, easy to drink and pleasantly quaffable.
with ice: the ice chills the ginger beer down nicely and on a scorch hot day this would be lovely, when it’s not so sweltering I’d go for having Crabbie’s Black chilled from the fridge to stop the drink becoming too watery.


Wychwood’s Ginger Beer

From the Wychwood Brewery in Witney. No doubt in response to the recent popularity of this sort of product. It remind me of their release of the rather tasty Green Goblin during the cider-over-ice craze of a few years back.

Wychwood describe Ginger Beard as:

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“A traditionally crafted beer infused with fiery root ginger to deliver a refreshing spicy finish with a bit of bite.

Best served chilled or over ice to calm the flames!”

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A dark, amber brown in colour.
nose: Initially, there was malt , followed by sweet ginger wine.
taste: Very smooth and quite sweet, with minimal fizz. It seemed like a real, middle ground between soda and ale.

with ice: much better, the flavour is tipped towards the soda side of that balance. Still, it’s a bit sweet and creamy, like ginger soda, but with malt undertones and a real, real fire on the aftertaste.

Alcoholic Ginger Beer Update #5 – Crabbies Orange Spice Alcoholic Ginger Beer

I like to have a mooch around different supermarkets every now and then in the hope of finding something new. During a recent trip to Morrisions, I came across Crabbies Spiced Orange Alcoholic Ginger Beer. Readers of the site may recall that the original version did quite well in our Alcoholic Ginger Beer Tasting.

So whats new?
Crabbies have taken their original formula and added natural orange extract and a hint of spice. Ginger and orange is certainly not a new combination for Crabbies, as they already make a non-alcoholic ginger beer “twisted” with orange.

The Taste

This had a medium fizz; it seems slightly less fizzy than normal Crabbies.
Initially, there are flavours of ginger and vanilla, which are followed by slightly spicy, bittersweet orange; in some ways, this reminds me of chocolate orange. This is then followed by the familiar Crabbies ginger fire.
I consider this to be a modest modification on the original, but the new flavours are certainly noticeable and quite welcome. It’s seasonality will keep it special.

All in all, I quite like it and, for less than £1.50 for half a litre, I think it’s certainly worth a punt.

Crabbies Spiced Orange is available for £1.49 for 500ml from Morrisons

Alcoholic Ginger Beer Update #4 – Weston / Morrison’s Ginger Cider

Just when I thought that I’d covered all of the alcoholic ginger beer available in the UK, I find another! This, like Brother’s offering, is a ginger cider and is made for the supermarket Morrisons.

The Ginger Cider is made by H Westons & Sons of Much Marcel, Herefordshire, who are well-known for their range of cider and perry, including their organic selection, Stowford Press and my favourite, Old Rosey, a really great, scrumpy-style cider.

This ginger cider is bottled at 4%ABV and is made with the first cider apples from the 2010 season; it’s traditionally matured in oak vats and ginger flavour is then added. I noticed, from their website, that Westons also make a Sparkling Raspberry-twist Apple Cider, as well as a Ginger Twisted one. This latter variety is also bottled at 4%ABV and so my guess would be these are one and the same product.

On to the taste:

Nose: Jammy, citrus and ginger. A bit like ginger marmalade.

Taste: Rather pleasant; dry, juicy and, whilst the ginger is there, there’s no definitive burn or fire. Finally, there’s a little vanilla at the end. There’s some muskiness and hints of almond, too. It’s very refreshing, not too sweet and, although initially the ginger is faint, as you drink more, its effects builds up.

Morrison’s New Season Cider with Ginger Flavour is available form Morrison’s for £1.50 for 500ml.

Alcoholic Ginger Beer Update #3 – Sainsbury’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer

Sainsbury’s

Alcoholic Ginger Beer

This review of Sainsbury’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer comes courtesy of  reader Chris Purdie, who suggested that I try it. I always like to keep an eye out for new products – Mrs. B always knows which aisles she’ll find me in, should I wander off in the supermarket – but it’s great to get tips from our readers.

This beer was created by the Head Brewer of Freeminer Brewery, Don Burgess, a gentleman who lives “to brew beer, not make money”. The Freeminer Brewery is situated in the Forest of Dean in Gloucester. The name “Freeminer” comes from the fact that, in the middle ages, if you were born within the area of the Hundred of St Briavels, you had the right to earn a living as a miner of the ore and coal deposits of the area.

In addition to working with Sainsbury’s, the brewery work with the Co-Op for their own-brand of beers.

On to the taste…

As with the Original Tasting, I went and saw David Smith Sr. and we tasted the product together.

The beer is quite gingery, but, thankfully, not too sweet. It has a good level of fizz, without being overly effervescent. The flavour starts off slowly and then builds in a crescendo of spiciness. The finish is long, but, apart from the residual tingle from the ginger, is relatively hollow. This ginger beer is refreshing and quite easy to drink; we both enjoyed it and would buy it again.

I was intrigued that, despite being made in a brewery, this was not an ale-led ginger beer and in fact was more similar to soft-drink-style ginger beer.

When I started looking into Alcoholic Ginger Beers, I knew of only one, but, as time has gone on, this will be the 11th that I have reviewed. It just goes to show that ginger is in at the moment and I consider Sainsbury’s contribution to be a welcome edition to the marketplace.

Sainsbury’s Taste The difference Alcoholic Ginger Beer is available for £1.62 for 500ml from Sainsbury’s

Alcoholic Ginger Beer Update #2 – Church’s (Aldi) & Leg Warmer

Church's and Leg Warmer Alcoholic Ginger Beer (Note that the lady on the second bottle is wearing both stockings and leg warmers, that's what you call a woman!))

Church’s and Leg Warmer Alcoholic Ginger Beer (Note that the lady on the second bottle is wearing both stockings and leg warmers, that’s what you call a woman!)

It certainly seems like the Alcoholic “Ginger Beer” is growing at a steady rate;  at the beginning of the year, I was aware of just three varieties, but now I’m about to review #9 and #10. You know something is a boom when the low-cost supermarkets want a piece of the action, and that is exactly what has happened with the first of today’s ginger beers.

Church’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer: From Aldi

Church’s (from Aldi)  %ABV

This is available at a very reasonable £1.39 for 500ml, so it’s pretty cheap, but how does it taste?

This is quite fiery and gingery, but probably the least alcoholic-tasting that I have had. It was very similar in many respects, except colour, to Old Jamaican Ginger Beer and had that same heavy warmth of fieriness at the end. The upside of this is that it is not too sweet, which means you could probably drink more of it. There’s also a slight, bitter muskiness at end. The downside is that it is may be a touch too fizzy for my liking.

Still, it represents excellent value for money and is a pretty good product overall.

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Leg Warmer (Piddle Brewery) 4.3%ABV

The second ginger beer comes from the Piddle Brewery in Piddlehinton, Dorset.  Amongst other products, they also make the following beers: Jack’s Riddle, Silent Slasher and the seasonal Santa’s Potty.

Leg Warmer itself is a seasonal beer, for the summer, and it is made with Styrian Golding and Saaz hops and real ginger.

Certainly an ale-led Ginger Beer, it has the appearance of a cloudy pale ale, with no fizz; it is quite hoppy, with ginger at the end, but it is quite subdued. However, it is most pronounced on the aftertaste. It certainly isn’t one that you’d serve on ice and it has a suggested serving temperature of 12-13 oC. Unlike most of the other ale-led Ginger Beers, this is not too rich nor stout-like, which makes it rather more refreshing.

This is available from various Piddle Brewery Outlets; I got mine from the excellent top notch Champagne Charlie’s near Ocean Village in Southampton. Worth checking out if you’re in the area and looking for something a bit special.

For the rest of the Alcoholic Ginger Beer Tasting, click here.

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