Can I make you hungry? It was warm and sunny today, finally. Still not enough to get out into my garden, but enough to get out on a patio or, dare I mention, a beer garden? Add to that some spicy, nicely layered Asian cuisine,and something cold that takes the edge off the day. But could that something be Ginger Beer?
So this is the deal. I’m pretty much a purist when it comes to beer. Not quite militant, such as strict adherence to the old German Reinsheitgebot-the purity law for beer, but I expect a beer to taste like a beer. I can endlessly appreciate a beer layered with different ingredients. Hinterland’s Maple Bock, Anchor’s Christmas ale, Revolution Brewings’s A Little Crazy Ale, Anything from Ommegang and Great Lakes, Half Acre’s Daisy Cutter, 5 rabbit’s offerings, and a long list of other great beers come quickly to mind. Crabbie’s Original Ginger Beer is something entirely different than any beer I’ve tried before.
With a modest 4..8%ABV punch, it isn’t quite beer, but there is still something oddly interesting about it. Lindsay, Brian and I sat down with a couple bottles last night during a strategy meeting. AJ was already working on the menu. The recommendation is to pour Crabbie’s over ice with a slice of lemon. We poured into some fine glassware like a more traditional sort of brew.
So at long last, here’s a look behind the Revolution and Beer curtain. Welcome to the (brew)Matrix, the nerve center, the bunker, our Magic Mountain. Some might call it the Area 51 of beer, where all the secret ruminations and schemes are hatched, implemented and proliferated towards our goal of dominating the planet with fine beer. Our friends and family certainly would love to know what the hell we are up to on a regular basis. As for dominating the planet, it will happen. We will sweep the globe, storming into bars and spilling cheap mass-produced liquids parading as beer, particularly the ones that print calories on the label! AND THEN…best not to get too carried away yet.
For now, it’s all about grassroots, activism, great beer and great food. That said, life is also about variety and shaking things up a bit, which is what Crabbie’s Original Ginger Beer offered; a little something different. Crabbie’s poured to a bright white half inch head, which I expected to dissipate quickly. Instead it lingered nicely in the glass. The color of the beer was a clear pale orange sherbet with big, bright carbonation.
Make no mistake, this is indeed a Ginger Beer. The spicy cool aroma filled the top of the glass, layered fully with a malty sort of sweetness. Both were readily apparent to the nose. There were no surprises with the taste, except that true ginger bite, taking the place of a hoppy bitterness in more traditional styles. The sweetness came through strongly at first taste, finishing with the ginger. It was the ginger that stuck with me. The week before AJ Francisco, our chef, sight unseen offered the Asian pairing angle. The ginger brought to mind Thai and Indonesian cuisine, Sushi, as well as Persian, Indian, Pakistani and Mediterranean cuisine. Now while I know of a number of beers that would work nicely with all of those regional tastes, Crabbie”s Original Ginger Beer adds an entirely different dimension.
I got home from our high-tech Alehouse Oz to find that AJ had left a message in my email. Featuring the beer on our Saturday TV show taping(which will air in June) AJ was putting together tender shrimp & pork Siu Mai. ( potsticker or dumpling) filled with crisp green onion, fresh garlic and fresh ginger. The second course, which we share with our guests each week is grilled pork skewers marinated with a garlic & ginger rub and a sweet and spicy Hoisin glaze, teamed with a light Cucumber Salad teased with fresh cilantro, bright green jalapeño, crushed peanuts, and a light homemade Sesame Ginger Dressing.
Shouldn’t that be enough to surrender completely to Revolution and Beer. Welcome to the (beer)Matrix. We have your table over here. Tonight we’re serving Crabbie’s Original Ginger Beer and inspired Asian cuisine courtesy of Chef AJ Francisco…
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Catch the beer of the week review with 900poundgorilla’s WC Turck and Brian Murray each Sunday 8-9am only on Our Town, at Chicago’s Progressive Talk, WCPT AM and FM, and streaming online. And check out the weekly food pairings for our featured beers with innovative and original dishes by Chef AJ Francisco. Friend us on Facebook at Revolution and Beer. And find all of the great beers we review each week at Louis Glunz Beer Inc., http://www.glunzbeers.com