Monday, August 16, 2010
Reed's Ginger Brew
(image courtesy of wellnessgrocer.com)
After touring The Lion Brewery in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania and learning that they brew not only quality cheap beer but also the Reed's Ginger Brew that you can find in many supermarkets, I decided to try some.
The Reed's website says that the original ginger brew is hand-crafted in individual batches and contains 17 grams of fresh ginger root, lemon, lime, honey, fructose, pineapple, herbs, and spices. This information was confirmed by our Lion Brewery tour guide, who described how the brewmasters "dump" loads of fresh ginger into the brew.
The website also explains why their Extra Ginger brew is called ginger beer while the other flavors are marketed simply as ginger brew or ginger ale: "In the early 1800’s the two terms were used interchangeably. As time went on, the term 'ginger beer' became associated with the spicier ginger ales. That’s why our Extra Ginger Brew, with 25 grams of fresh ginger, is called ginger beer."
My first reaction upon sniffing my open bottle of Reed's was actually pretty negative. The ginger aroma is somewhat sour, in a stomach-sickening way--ironically, since ginger is a great digestive aid. The flavor, however, though it takes some getting used to after a lifetime of experience with Canada Dry and Schweppe's, is citrusy and refreshing. I liked it best over ice, with the flavor slightly diluted. The carbonation and stomach-settling qualities of the ginger and spices make it great to pair with a heavier meal, and the flavor and body of the drink are sturdy enough to substitute for a beer or other alcohol if you desire.
I got a 4-pack of Reed's at my local supermarket for about $5.00. The varieties available are Original, Extra Ginger, Premium (like the original, but sweetened only with honey and pineapple juice), Raspberry, Spiced Apple, and Cherry.