This is not a blog post but more of an apology….an apology to the next person who has the misfortune of asking me If I would like some ginger tea. The response they are likely to get is:
You see 10 months ago when I first met with Frederik, our Chief Botanical Officer here at Lowlander, all I knew of ginger was that it is something that cook books tell you to use in pieces the size of your thumb (as though thumb size is universal) and back in my home country of Scotland you would mix with Whiskey, honey, lemon & hot water to make a drink called a Hot Toddy. Giving alcohol to sick people might seem counter intuitive, but the Scottish will use any excuse to have a drink.
Last June, on a bright afternoon, down a dark alley way in central Amsterdam, Frederik thrust an ominous looking brown bottle with a cardboard neck label into my hands and proudly told me “this is a little something we have been working on”. The label read “Ginger Beer Version 1”. I tentatively popped the lid and took a sniff. The fresh fragrance of ginger combined with juicy, bright and citrusy American hops was a convincing combination, but if I had known at this time that this 1 Liter bottle of Ginger Beer was going to cause me so much pain, then I might have let it smash all over the cobbles of that alleyway.
It was not until January of this year that I got round to taking over the development of this beer. Working through 7 different 20L test batches and trying to deduce the most effective way to coax out that beautiful citrus, woody and delicious hit of ginger whilst preserving the satisfying burn you get at the back of your throat from a traditional ginger beer soft drink. I sniffed it, diced it, boiled it, minced it, stewed it and soaked it in alcohol and slept with it under my pillow.
The Perfect Ginger Beer
So 9 months later, I stand before you (digitally speaking) a self made ginger geek. As we speak we are putting the finishing touches on our ginger beer recipe. It’s 2.5% American Ginger Wheat Ale, the first of our new Botanical Blends range brimming with even more botanicals and rich teas (soon more on that!). The base recipe is a beer designed to push in the same direction as the flavors and aromas layered on top of it. The American wheat ale is a light and clean fermented beer. With the base grains consisting of unmated wheat and pilsner malt, offering unchallenging soft base flavours with mild notes of grass.
On top of this sits lots of citrus high notes coming in from a number of big American hops. We feel this offers the perfect starting point for a fresh ginger forward beer with extra flavors subtly placed on top including kaffir lime, tea & cardamom.
It’s been a labor of love & now it’s time to release it into the world to fend for itself. On a terrace this summer, or at home in front of the fire, we hope this beer will never be out of place. Proost!