Review: The Larder’s ginger beer

Wansteadium’s new food blogger, Suki Orange, writes:

It’s a great thing for Wanstead to have a deli/coffee shop the quality of the Larder. So like me, most E11 foodies will naturally feel obliged to support any of its enterprising ventures, cost permitting. So new on the scene, then, is Christmas Ginger Beer from The Larder (and if you don’t believe me, check out the label).

Brewed by Essex-based Pitfield Brewery, it’s organic, and though costing £3.50 a bottle will nevertheless appeal to lots of people who might want to turn up to a Christmas party bearing something more refined than a Seven-11 four-pack.

But designated drivers taking it along expecting it to provide them with some harmless fizzy pop – or worse, anyone buying it as an innocent pleasure for tweenagers – will be in a for a surprise if they fail to read the label. It’s not so much ginger beer in the Enid Blyton sense as ginger-flavoured ale; 5.0% abv. Oh yes, this ginger beer certainly has bite.

But just as it’s no ginger beer, it’s certainly no alcopop either. This is not sweet, not fizzy, and only mildly gingery. In fact for some reason ginger doesn’t actually appear as an ingredient (it’s just water, barley, hops and yeast). The label describes the taste as being “initially malty followed by a ginger finish”, but my taste buds, half expecting the rich, sweet, hit of childhood ginger beer, found it a bit hard to hide their disappointment. Will hardened ale folk think it too much a novelty? And will non ale-folk be expecting ale?