When we first heard about this gingery beer from Left Hand Brewing, we were a little...leery. Beer and ginger makes us think of those overly-spiced winter warmer beers that flood the shelves around the holidays, and we couldn't imagine the flavor translating to springtime. Oh, how we love to be proven wrong!
Beer Details: Good Juju Ale from Left Hand Brewing Company. Available late spring through the end of summer, Left Hand brews this beer with Biker Dude Hawaiian ginger root and three kinds of hops. (4.2% ABV)
Appearance: A burnished orange-gold in the glass with strings of tiny bubbles streaming to the surface. The lemon-yellow head of foam quickly dissipated, but leaves behind some light lacing on the glass.
Aroma: If it didn't already say so on the bottle, the aroma alone would announce the presence of ginger in this beer. You'd almost expect to see pieces of it floating in the glass! Ginger is definitely front and center with citrus zest and wild honey adding some depth.
Taste: As expected, ginger is also the first thing we noticed in the taste. But this is not the powdered ginger that gets sprinkled into our cookies. This is more like freshly grated ginger root. It's bright, juicy, and surprisingly mellow. The flavor actually reminds us of the pickled ginger served with sushi - it's softer and less spicy than raw ginger, but still crisp and fresh-tasting. This beer has that same refreshing and palate-cleansing qualities as pickled ginger, too.
Beyond the ginger, there are some soft malts to add balance. We tasted light honey and simple syrup holding up all that ginger. Herbal and earthy hops round things out, and the sip finishes clean and smooth.
Overall: Even if you're skeptical about spice-brewed beers, this one is worth a try. We were surprised at how well-balanced and relatively light the ginger flavors were - this is definitely a "beer brewed with ginger" and not a "ginger beer" (which we think often has a fairly assertive and spicy ginger flavor). It's refreshing, easy to drink, and at 4.2% ABV, a beer we can sip all afternoon while hang out in the sunshine!
Food Pairings: Try this with Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Japanese cuisine, especially seafood dishes. It's a good pairing with anything spicy. We could also see it working with light fruit desserts. Like ginger itself, this beer is versatile!
Have you tried Left Hand's Good Juju Ale? What do you think of it?
Related: Five Ways to Eat: Fresh Ginger
(Image: Emma Christensen)