Yo ho ho and?
April 14, 2010 6:11 PM   Subscribe

Can you point me to a good (e.g. Stewart's-esque) ginger beer? My nights are bright and tranquil, and it's getting depressing.

I do love me a good Dark n' Stormy, but I'd like a better ginger beer for it.

My favorite used to be Stewart's, which had a distinct, strong kick to it but yet a somewhat creamy mouthfeel, a little like a good root beer. After not being able to dig it up anywhere, I find it has been discontinued after Stewart's got bought out by Dr. Pepper, the bastards.

Can anyone point me to its equal? I've switched to Goya for now, which is strong --- and I do like a strong kick, otherwise what's the point --- but it's a little front-loaded and burn-y and doesn't have that creaminess that Stewart's did. I've tried Read's, the one they have at Whole Foods, but it tastes a bit off to me, I think they use fructose instead of cane sugar.

I'm not opposed to making my own if anyone can give me a trusty recipe. Most of the ones I saw online were either some variation on making a ginger simple syrup and siphoning it with some club soda or --- pretty ersatz, it seemed to me --- or strayed into weird, kombucha-like territory (which may have been how our Regency forefathers made the stuff, but seemed unlikey to produce a flavor akin to modern soda).
posted by Diablevert to Food & Drink (25 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
If you like creamy, I'd suggest Barritts, which is hands down my favorite for a Dark n' Stormy. The bad news is that it's increasingly harder to find outside of Bermuda since the Gosling's folks got into the ginger beer market. You can order it online but the shipping costs are fairly prohibitive. Good luck to you.
posted by dhammond at 6:17 PM on April 14, 2010

My friend has made his own ginger beer, probably from a recipe like this. It's very delicious, similar to a Reed's but a little more pronounced yeast flavor. (I like Reed's, so I'm fine with it, but I'd bet you'd be free of your fructose taste.)
posted by emkelley at 6:18 PM on April 14, 2010

Did you try more than one Reed's flavor? They've got a few different blends that taste different - "original," "extra" (has more ginger, but I actually think that one has a milder flavor), and "premium" (which, according to their website, is sweetened only with honey and pineapple juice).
I've never tried Stewart's, so I can't compare it, but it might be worth it to try the other kinds.
posted by wondermouse at 6:25 PM on April 14, 2010

Wow, that sucks, Stewart's was my favorite. Never cared for any of Reed's- they seem weirdly thin, even if spicy. I suggest Bundaberg if you can find it.
posted by oneirodynia at 6:34 PM on April 14, 2010

If you can find it near you, the Grown Up Soda (GUS) brand Ginger Ale is pretty great and as an added bonus, real sugar in it too.
posted by merocet at 6:36 PM on April 14, 2010

Fentiman's isn't cheap, but it's good. Bundaberg's is also good. Both have some creaminess, and can be found at World Market.

Like you, I think Reed's tastes odd; Maine Root is better. (Regatta is weedy.) I prefer D&G in its UK version to the HFCS version made for in the US. Blenheim is the much-loved local contender, which has lots of heat (even in the tamer version) but is probably a bit too front-loaded, though not as much as Goya.

Still, try a ginger beer plant, just for fun.
posted by holgate at 6:40 PM on April 14, 2010

It's not really an official Dark N' Stormy unless it is Barritts. I can Fed-Ex you some if you want, or you can come see us in Bermuda.
posted by jasondigitized at 6:48 PM on April 14, 2010

Huh. I've always been happy with Reed's, except for the price point. Goya has been hit-or-miss for me. If you want to try an assortment, you can order from KegWorks.com which has a variety of brands. I've heard the most buzz about Fentiman's.

(Full disclosure: I'm friendly with some people who work at KegWorks, but the most financial gain I've ever gotten off of them was a round of beer. Mostly I love their whole notion of existence.)
posted by knile at 6:49 PM on April 14, 2010

Came here to suggest Blenheim, it's awesome
posted by ghharr at 7:03 PM on April 14, 2010

Vernor's had a kick, and a bit of creamy taste. There are much stronger ones available though. There was one from South Carolina or someplace that advertised in Gourmet and wow that was strong. I can not remember the name.
posted by caddis at 7:04 PM on April 14, 2010

When we don't have Bundaberg on hand and don't feel like going two miles to the store to get some, we make an ersatz ginger ale with a homemade ginger syrup (based on a recipe from Imbibe Magazine) and club soda or seltzer.
posted by Lexica at 7:31 PM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]

Cock N Bull Ginger Beer is excellent - very earthy with actual bits of ginger at the bottom. BevMo has it in-store and online.
Vernor's is also good, and very strong - just don't inhale it as you open the bottle (it'll get ya!)
posted by Cookbooks and Chaos at 7:32 PM on April 14, 2010

Personally, I consider Goya the epitome -- Stewarts' is a little nasty if you ask me, and I learned to love the Goya bite. I've had J&B's, I believe it's called, which is a Jamaican import -- very common in corner stores in NYC; don't know about elsewhere. It's more sugary than bitter. I don't like Reed's at all... it's almost a totally different drink.
posted by zvs at 8:27 PM on April 14, 2010

Well, hello!

I do actually have strong opinions on this topic. My favorite gingerbeer, hands down, is Ginger People gingerbeer. My second favorite is Jackson Hole, which can be hard to get ahold of, and which can vary from batch to batch. I will, in a pinch, drink Cock N Bull or even Bundaberg.

I have a friend who has been brewing up batches of gingerbeer. Get the right kind of yeast, would be my advice. It seems to vary quite a bit from batch to batch.
posted by gingerbeer at 9:14 PM on April 14, 2010 [3 favorites]

The smoothness is quite likely vanilla. You could try adding about an eighth of a teaspoon or less to your drink if it's just the smoothness you are missing.
posted by chairface at 10:48 PM on April 14, 2010

Natural Brew's 'Outrageous Ginger Ale' makes an excellent Dark 'n' Stormy. Might be Pacific Northwest specific, though.
posted by dizziest at 11:12 PM on April 14, 2010

Here I am putting in my vote for Regatta even though holgate (who I hear kicks puppies) says it tastes 'weedy'.
posted by komara at 7:12 AM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: 2nding, zvs, but it's D&G Ginger Beer.

I grew up drinking ginger beer, being from Jamaica, and when I try other brands here, I am always disappointed by the lack of kick or bite. D&G definitely has this. My boyfriend tried a Dark and Stormy with this brand for the first time last year and now he's hooked.
posted by alice ayres at 7:36 AM on April 15, 2010

A good place to find out about sodas and purchase the hard to find ones is the soda pop stop.
posted by caddis at 8:48 AM on April 15, 2010

My memory is fading, but I seem to recall a brand called Old Tyme Ginger Beer. But a googling resulted in nothing. But a label I seem to remember, has me thinking of Reed's.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 9:22 AM on April 15, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks, everybody! I shall have to do some taste testing and come back and mark best answer.
posted by Diablevert at 6:28 PM on April 18, 2010

Haha, yeah, I meant D&G. Memory fading, obviously...
posted by zvs at 11:21 PM on April 18, 2010

Update: I recently found Stewart's Ginger Beer at a Fairway in NYC - and it wasn't some dusty remains of old stock. I guess they're making it again, so take a look around and see if you can find it at your purveyor of fine sodas.

Also: yay!
posted by sciencegeek at 7:34 AM on February 27, 2011

Response by poster: I regret to inform future readers of this thread that after hearing of sciencegeek's luck I contacted Stewarts to find out if there was any place selling it near me and they say it's still out of production. I am very sad now. (also since posting this I have tried barrett's, fentiman's and d&g and like d&g the best but defer ultimate judgement until I've tried blenheim's and vernor's, etc.)
posted by Diablevert at 12:27 PM on March 3, 2011

Regatta ...
posted by komara at 2:07 PM on March 3, 2011

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