BC beer week continues here on the blog (it’s BC beer week, if you missed it). Next up in line is another one of the better known micros from BC, Phillips Brewing Co. Keep6 Imports has brought a few Phillips products into Ontario through private orders, so you might have come across, say, their Hop Circle IPA (wonderful stuff). Their Ginger Beer was brought in, in very limited quantities, for summer. It won’t be at every LCBO, but if you’ve got a local that gets the specialty beer releases (think things like Unearthly, Thornbridge, the Tree Brewery feature, etc), it’s likely they’ll have a couple of cases of Phillips Ginger Beer. And I wouldn’t be surprised to see more Phillips products on LCBO shelves sooner than later.
From a very attractive 650ml bomber, Phillips Ginger Beer pours a slightly hazy orangey-amber. About 1/2″ of head drops to a nice film and dense ring that laces a bit for the top 2/3 of the pint. Aroma is amazing, definitely ginger, but with a floral hop that reminds me of wildflower honey. Add to that a touch of sweet malts and this promises to be a lovely beer. Taste has a whole lot more ginger to it, and is quite hot, though not as much as a hardcore Jamaican ginger beer. With the floral hops and the characteristic astringency from the ginger, there is a medicinal nearly soap-like quality to the mid-palate, but the finish is dry hops and hot ginger. Sweet malts have nearly dropped out, and I assume are just lending an element of balance to the very big ginger bite and notable hops. Hey now, I just did some research and discovered that ginger beer was a creation blending ginger (imported from Asia) and cane sugar (imported from the Caribbean) and fermented into an alcoholic drink that was hot with ginger. It wasn’t really beer, as it didn’t contain any grains. It’s still made in places in England and North America, though most people are more familiar with dry ginger ale (the soda) or non-alcoholic ginger beer (popular in Jamaica and other parts of the Caribbean). I was going to go into great lengths about how this beer actually did both things well, it was hot like a ginger beer, but had some beer-like qualities too. But this is moot, as it actually is part of a style. It is made with barley instead of cane sugar, but this is not uncommon now. If you like ginger and aren’t afraid of a drink with a little heat, totally pick up some bottles of this. Pick up lots. Before I clear the place out. Because I want more. As noted on the label, I want this with sushi. And also with a Thai curry. Or just sitting on the balcony wearing boardshorts and a straw hat while it’s 30*C outside. Actually, I need to get more, as I really should save some for Erika, but that’s not happening. I’ll be finishing this off forthwith.
People often talk nervously with me about the fact that they like a lemon wedge with their weissebeir, etc. I’m always totally cool with it, and tell them so, but you get the impression that “regular” beer folk think geeks never add stuff to their beer. Well, for the last 1/3 or so of a glass, I added 3 peels of lime zest. And it’s lovely. A hint of bitter lime (no tartness, though a squeeze of juice would probably work well too) adds another layer of taste that really compliments it well. Go ahead people, play with your beer! Just don’t put ice cubes in a Westvleteren 12 or Cheezwhiz in your 3F Dark Lord. Or, at least, don’t tell me about it……
Cheers Phillips. This is one heck of a beer!
About The Brewery
We are a small-batch craft brewery located on the bottom of a medium-sized island on the left coast of a very large country.