Friday, April 29, 2016

Mad Ginger Beer

This isn't your typical beer. In truth, I can't really refer to it as a beer, and I shouldn't: the producer doesn't, either.

I was reluctant to write a review of this alcoholic beverage, but I remembered that I have reviewed cider, and it could be argued whether a Radler is truly a beer or a beer-like beverage.

So yes, this review goes on.

The artwork on this can caught my eye, with its bright orange and the bushy-faced lumberjack, wielding two axes, as if to do battle. The brown beard flows down the length of the can and around the back in artsy swirls, and it wasn't until I got home and examined the can closely, as I sipped its contents, that I found that the artwork was a source of frustration.

The font style that is used with the artwork is a cross between all-caps Comic Sans Serif and wooden logs assembled to make letters. The design, plus the impossibly small font size made it difficult to read some of the label, damned-near impossible to read other parts, even with my glasses.

A note to the brewer: it isn't only young folks who drink your bevvy. Some of us are old folks whose eyes are dim.

When I bought this ginger beer, I expected a ginger-flavoured beer. When I poured it, observed it, and sniffed it, I knew that I was dealing with a beverage that was closer to a cider than to an ale. Nearly hidden by the tiny, blended font, the can reads, "alcoholic malt beverage."

This was a brew unto itself. Let's take a closer look.
Crazy Beard Mad Ginger Beer (5.2% ABV)
Crazy Beard Ale
Oakville (Toronto) ON
Appearance: deep apricot with a quick effervescence that poured with no discernible head, like a nearly flat ginger ale. Beads clung to the side of the glass but did not last. Minuscule pearls that rose from the bottom of the glass were the only evidence that the "malt beverage" was not flat.

Nose: candied fruit—almost like sweet, green apples—with ginger and what I detected as a hint of papaya.

Palate: sweet apples and candied tropical fruit. The ginger beer is slightly cloying, covering the tongue and mouth. The ginger coats the back of the throat and provides a lingering finish.

Overall impression: while I wasn't anticipating a cider-like, malty beverage when I first opened the can, I felt that this was a nice, light-tasting refreshment. It's more like an alcoholic soda, with its fruit and ginger sweetness, and I think I would enjoy it much more on a hot summer day, much like I crave a Radler or a lemonade after working outside in the heat.

Is it a beer? No.

Is it a flavoured cider? No.

Is it good? Yes.

Would I drink it again? Absolutely! (Just, don't make me try to read the label again.)

Beer O'Clock rating: 3.5


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