Product Review: Reed’s Original Ginger Brew

Reeds-Original-Bottle

Reed’s Ginger Brew, bad.
Strong ginger bite, my ass. Weak.
Tastes more like white pop.

(Now I must commit Seppuku for using the term “pop”)

As it’s one of my favorite soda’s, ginger ale, brew, or beer, I enjoy trying new brands as they pop up in my local mega mart. So I was delighted to see this Jamaican style ginger ale show up.

The first thing I noticed is that the label claimed to have a “strong ginger bite” with 17g of ginger in each bottle. I was expecting this brew to have a punch like Tyson (or at least have more of a kick than Stewart’s ginger soda). Possibly even make me tear up a bit. When I made my own ginger ale I used 1.5 tablespoons grated fresh ginger for an entire 2L bottle of soda. I am not sure of the comparison as grams are weight and tablespoons are volume, but 17g (just over a half an ounce) seems pretty comparable to me.

The second thing I noticed was the ingredient list. One thing I am happy to see is a soda without the dreaded High Fructose Corn Syrup (forever now to be referred to as HFCS) which is hard to find these days (however, on a side note, have you ever tried the Mexican Coca-Cola in the large bottles in the ethnic aisle or at El Rey’s etc? They use regular sugar and in my opinion it just doesn’t taste the same). Ingredients include sparkling filtered water, fructose, pineapple juice from concentrate, honey, fresh ginger root, lemon and lime juices from concentrate, and spices. Pretty respectable list I must admit. Nothing I can’t pronounce and I’ve almost had everything listed in its regular form by its self.

Cracking open the first bottle there is little fizz, I’m OK with this as I’ve had great ginger ales that were lightly carbonated. However, in smelling the freshly opened bottle it’s hard to pick out the ginger scent. Instead it smells mostly of lemon, lime, and sweetness – No tingle in the nose. Bummer.

Alas I take my first sip of the brew and let it cover my tongue. It tingles slightly from the carbonation, but nothing noticeable from the ginger. I take a bigger gulp to get more of the flavor on my tongues sweet spots, trying to pick out the ginger flavor. However, it’s in hiding, masked by the larger flavors of the lemon and lime (mostly lemon). Disappointed, I write this off as a tart lemon-lime soda wannabe. No ginger burn or kick. Double bummer.

I finished the whole bottle, and drank another bottle a couple days later. It’s not really unpleasant, though it is a tad tangy, it’s just not my idea of ginger ale. It’s sweet, it’s fizzy, it’s tart and tangy, it’s an OK soda – it’s just not an OK ginger soda.

If you are curious my current favorite ginger ale is Vernor’s Original Ginger Soda. For me this brand is a perfect balance between ginger flavor, sweetness, and ginger heat.

Also, I love to make Alton Brown’s recipe for glazed carrots using Vernor’s – try it with your favorite ginger brew sometime.

-Chad

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