The evening weather is finally getting nice, and I can sit out on our back deck and enjoy a beer, and watch the sunset. I had a great lunch today at a Chinese restaurant with my friend Ed. I can still taste the food, and I’m not really hungry for dinner. So, when I went to grab a beer I thought I’d grab this ginger flavored beer. It’s part of the Beer Camp Across the World series that I got from Sierra Nevada several months ago. This one is brewed in collaboration with Surly Brewing and says it is a lager brewed with ginger and cayenne, fermented on oak. The can says, “The abrasive attitude of Minnesota in Surly Brewing Company brings an aggressive yet refined approach to creating recipes. We came together to create this easy drinking yet complex ginger infused lager. It’s brewed with a lot of ginger and a pinch of cayenne to spice up the heat and then dry hopped with an infusion of oak for a touch of vanilla to round out the flavor.”
Location: Poured from the 16oz tallboy can into a hefeweizen style glass at my home in Bloomington, IL.
Numbers: 6.2% ABV, 20 IBUs,~190 Calories
Appearance & Aroma: It’s bright orange in color, and slightly hazy, with a ton of carbonation in it. The carbonation left a pillowy white head, but it fell to a thin layer of bubbles across the top after a few minutes. The aroma has a strong scent of ginger.
Taste & Feel: The body is medium and the mouthfeel is smooth, but it’s slightly crispy from all the carbonation. The flavor up front is somewhat sweet (almost like the ginger flavored candy you get at Chinese restaurants) with a cayenne spiciness behind it. The middle is a mix of sweetness and spiciness, but the ginger spiciness is what takes center stage. However, in the finish, it’s mostly a smooth, mellow spiciness with ginger behind it. There are also hints of lemon as well. The aftertaste is mostly the cayenne pepperiness surrounded with a bit of residual sweetness.
Food Pairing: Due to the ginger and spices, I was craving sushi as I enjoyed this beer. I think it would probably go nicely with any light Asian or rice dish.
Overall Impression: Although this beer has a smooth spiciness from both the ginger and cayenne, it was amazingly drinkable on a warm evening like tonight. It was pretty complex, and although I couldn’t necessarily pick out the oak, I can see where it would mix nicely and subtly with all of these flavors. While this isn’t one I’d go back to often, it was a very flavorful beer with a great, nice blend of flavors, and it was one of the most unique beers I’ve had in quite a while.