Friday, April 2, 2010

Left Hand Brewing Co.: Juju Ginger Ale

Sometimes you feel like going out on a limb and trying something that sounds totally crazy. And sometimes you realize that there can be very good reasons for sticking a little closer to the mainstream.

Don't get me wrong, Juju Ginger isn't a "bad" beer, if by "bad" we mean something that's really unpalatable. By contrast, this novelty from Left Hand is pretty mild. But that's just the problem--in an effort to make a tolerable ginger-infused beer, Left Hand soft pedaled all the flavors. So what we get is a thoroughly nondescript ale that is vaguely suggestive of ginger ale. It's not quite hoppy enough to be a pale ale and not nearly malty enough to be a brown ale. It's closest in genre to apricot ales (think Curveball, #9, etc.), but whereas those brews tend to taste bright and refreshing, Juju is more of a gimmicky diversion that gets old after a couple sips. It's pretty light bodied and well carbonated, which again helps to moderate the ginger flavor, but also adds to the brew's overall impression of insubstantiality.

In the end, I'm glad I tried this beer. It was certainly something new. But even as I'm finishing writing up this post, I'm already having difficulty remembering exactly what this brew tasted like. Ah well.


Beer Drinker said...

Hey Hof.

These dudes at Left Hand already changed the name of that beer and the label too. It's funny b/c I have a review of this beer from months ago collecting cobwebs in my draft folder.

I haven't had the new one yet, but as I recall, gimmick is a good word.

Speaking of Apricot, DFH Apricot, while is sucked donkey (feet) in 2009 is now an altered recipe for this year. I reviewed it tonight and it was MUCH better.

Talk to you soon!

BrewDorkTimes said...

I always get excited when I see a ginger beer, and unfortunately, most of the time I end up disappointed :/
It's so difficult to strike a balance with a huge-flavor ingredient like ginger.
One ginger beer that I really enjoyed is the 'Double Ginger Big Eye IPA' by Ballist Point. It's big on ginger, but it's also well extremely balanced w/ malt and hops. You should definitely pick up a bottle if you come across it!