This week we’re diving into ginger beers. Ginger’s a root, right? Ginger beer dates to 19th century Britain, making it a might more old than ginger ale, itself invented in the 1907 with the coming of Canada Dry.
Cock’n Bull Ginger Beer
First brewed up in 1940’s, Cock’n Bull struck popularity when John Martin, who had decided to import vodka to the US and just couldn’t sell it, shared his pain with Jack Morgan of Hollywood’s Cock’n Bull Restaurant. Jack had a pet project making his own ginger beer that also wasn’t selling at all, so they decided to get together. According to legend another customer at the bar had a load of copper sitting around and said “I want in on this game, too.”
Anyway, Cock’n Bull advertises itself as the original Moscow Mule mixer, and the Moscow Mule wikipedia article is so obviously full of lies and half-truths, including claims about a Polaroid camera playing into Martin’s marketing that’s a bit anachronistic. But who am I to argue with Wikipedia?
Cock’n Bull is now bottled by Orca Beverages, a name we’re seeing a lot on the show.
Spicy, but almost tastes more like a slightly stronger ginger ale. On that front I’d compare it to Schweppes, though there’s definitely more bite here with a spiciness that hits fast and lingers. The color is a bit more like a ginger ale as well. Keep this one as a mixer, as it’s pretty bland to just drink straight up as a ginger beer.
Boylan Ginger Beer
Boylan Bottling Company Teterboro, NJ
We talked about Boylan as a company a few weeks ago. They first started making Birch Beer in 1891. The Ginger Beer is a much later addition, and as far as I can tell might be a one off. It’s certainly in a different style bottle than the regular Boylan’s products, coming in a diminutive 10 oz bottle. It’s not even listed on their website. I’ve no idea how old this bottle may be.
The color here is much milkier than the Cock’n Bull, and I’ll admit on seeing it I was reminded of the Spruce Beer and taken aback a bit. It’s got the same citrusy undertones as that devil drink as well, though at the forefront is a nice strong ginger spiciness. If you can find it, I recommend it.
Reed’s Jamaican-Style Ginger Beer
Reed’s, Inc, Los Angeles, CA
Reed’s has been brewing sodas since 1987 after founder John Reed researched century-old recipes. There’s a super annoying video on youtube if you want the corporation’s version. This is also the most widely available of the three we’re tasting, showing up in grocery stores across the country.
Golden in color, almost like a pineapple juice which is in here and it shows. Spicy on the back of the tongue but the fruit juices hit first. Balanced and delicious.