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.
After four separate reviews I’d begun to worry that I’d written all there was to write about ginger beer. But during the second half of 2011 my luck began to change as I stumbled upon a handful of new varieties. A chance discovery at Mission Cheese Shop, a couple overlooked gingers, and a bountiful trip to Seattle led to a full cooler of five beverages yet to face the gauntlet that is a ginger beer tasting.
With the product lineup established, an esteemed panel of tasters gathered in San Francisco’s Noe Valley. Representing a cross section of experience, our judges, seven in total included veterans William Lavery, Beatrice Leung, and yours truly along with rookies Andrew Stewart, Peter Rive, Natasha Dvorak, and Wendy Wallin. In order to calibrate each judge’s palette a pre-tasting was undertaken to establish where previous ginger beers had been ranked. The criteria remained the same as our first tasting two years. Each ginger would be sampled solo and next mixed into a Dark ‘n’ Stormy – dark rum and ginger beer over ice. Judges then assigned a score between 1 and 10. Finally, an average score was computed to arrive at an overall total. After weeks of hype we settled down to the task at hand and a couple hours later the results were in.