The most popular posts on the 2 Out of Three blog are our ginger beer reviews. And while each of the five tastings we’ve conducted used identical judging criteria, the lineup of ginger beers has varied. This has made comparisons a bit cumbersome and doing a quick lookup for specific beverages on this site can be downright frustrating. Well, we’ve set out to remedy this situation by shining a light on the American ginger beer landscape with a comprehensive guide. It is one you can download to your mobile phone for a quick consultation at the market, or print and store in your wallet for those who prefer an analog version.
Consider this a public service for those of us who go weak in the knees at the thought dark rum, ginger beer, and a splash of lime mixed and poured over ice; the devoted legions who take their ginger with vodka; or, those who prefer their ginger beer served straight and cold.
Birthdays are a big deal at Kiva. Especially among our Product and User Experience Team, they’ve evolved as an opportunity to celebrate the fun personality quirks of each team member. As readers of this blog will know, my particular quirk is a fondness for ginger beer. So when my birthday arrived, the team skipped the cake and ice cream, opting instead for a gathering with ginger beer, limes and dark rum. This stellar event was organized as homage to the tastings 2 Out of Three has conducted over the past few years. Six different ginger beers were grouped into tasting stations where participants could write a review and rate each product on a scale of 1 to 10. Also included were the necessary ingredients for a Dark ‘n’ Stormy: organic limes, ice, and Gosling’s Dark Rum.
Over the past few years on 2 Out of Three we’ve tasted our fair share of ginger beer. In four separate tastings we’ve sampled and scored over twenty-five ginger beers. Disappointingly, it had begun to appear that we had exhausted the ginger beer possibilities in the US of A. So it was with great excitement when I was served Artisan Elixir, a new entrant to the ginger pool, at the Mission Cheese Shop.
Artisan Elixer made an immediate impression with a classic yellow label and bold block text declaring itself a “Golden Ginger.” Upon inspection it was obvious this was going to be a beer to be reckoned with, with clouds of ginger and lemon sediment formed into bands throughout the bottle. On the back of the bottle the creator’s intentions are spelled out: “Perfect for MIXING / Excellent for SIPPING.” While this is a broad statement, a glance at the simple ingredient list – filtered water, organic agave, organic lemon, organic ginger and organic lemon emulsion – assured us Artisan Elixir is out to make a high quality bottle of ginger.
It’s been eighteen months since 2 Out of Three’s first ginger beer tasting was held in South Lake Tahoe. In that time the ginger landscape has changed. The old classics, Bundaberg and Cock N’ Bull, have seen their reign as ginger beer of choice challenged by a new breed. So it seemed like the perfect time to hold another tasting. This time the location was San Francisco’s Outer Sunset neighborhood. We gathered the new upstarts (Fever Tree and Goslings) and got our hands on a few classics that eluded us during the first tasting.
Last year 2 Out of Three provided a public service to all red blooded Dark & Stormy drinking Americans by tasting and reviewing as many ginger beers as we could get our hands on. With one notable exception our final reviews were well received by all who commented. Coming off this positive feedback we’ve taken our public service to the southern hemisphere where we recently traveled to taste and review the finest ginger beers that the great nation of New Zealand has to offer. The country has a long tradition of brewing excellent ginger beers and it was a pleasure to travel the island, easily finding this great beverage in most cafes and markets.
It’s only been a week since the release of the first installment from our Ginger Beer Tasting and we’ve already heard reports of a more educated public because of it. With seven reviewed brands down, we’re excited to present the final eight ginger beers from our South Lake Tahoe tasting.
A public service is any service rendered for the greater good of the public interest. And in that spirit 2 Out of Three, in association with the Best Cabin ever, held it’s first ever ginger beer tasting on March 21 in South Lake Tahoe. The mission was to establish a pecking order for ginger beers, specifically in the mixation of a Dark ‘n Stormy. The blue ribbon panel consisted of veteran Dark ‘n Stormy tasters, including, but not limited to William Lavery, Robert “Frodo” Sostak, Bea Leung and yours truly.
New Mexico has an alarmingly high number of natural & health food markets including the standards like Whole Foods and Wild Oats, the smaller local varieties as well as the international Talin Market. Between Albuquerque and Santa Fe I’ve been to half a dozen different markets in the week and a half that I’ve been here, and the combined population of these two cities is less than that of San Francisco. Because of this easy access, the state is bursting at the seams with an unprecedented variety of ginger beer. The New Age hippies and their younger counterparts – the “dreamcatching yoga greenies” – must have developed a bit of a ginger habit. The thing I can’t seem to wrap my brain around is what are they doing with the stuff? I’ve yet to stumble across a single bottle of Goslings – or any top shelf dark rum for that matter – so they can’t be using it for Dark and Stormies? Are these health nuts just drinking the stuff straight? A prospect I’ll never understand – and one, that personally, is a bit offensive. Could they be wasting away their afternoons stumbling over tumble weeds in the high desert tripping on Moscow Mules?