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An Open Letter to Crabbie's

Dear Crabbie's

Last year, after 39 years of singlehood, I married a lovely woman and we went on our honeymoon to Ireland, Scotland and England. There I had the great pleasure of tasting Crabbie's Alcoholic Ginger Beer. Just as the chalkboard inviting us in to the Phoenix Pub in London suggested, it was indeed tickety-boo on a hot day.

Whilst on our trip, I did my very best to enjoy Crabbie's wherever I could, an effort that lead to a sense of well-being and pleasure that has rarely been rivaled in my life. Of course, this isn't saying much, as on the whole my life has been one with only the modest pleasures that a middle-class upbringing can provide; nothing like the posh extravaganza that must be life at the Crabbie's corporate office.

My extensive research, which consists of googling a bit, and bitching to my friends, has informed me that Crabbie's is not available in the United States. This is a keen disappointment, somewhat akin to making a dear friend while on holiday and then never seeing them again. You know that warm glow of companionship when one meets a kindred spirit, the sudden delight in finding shared interests and that ineffable something that is sympatico? And then never again? It's not quite crushing...but it does add to the pile of rather dreary things that make one's life anything but tickety-boo.

In desperation, what I can not purchase here in Los Angeles, I am prepared to make myself. I have all the requisite equipment to brew some delicious ginger beer, but I simply don't have the recipe. I have done even more extensive research - which is to say, more googling, and being encouraged by my friends to shut up about Crabbie's and make them some. I have no recipe. I am bereft.

Dear people at Crabbie's, bringers-of-the-boo-which-is-tickety, I implore you - lend me your recipe. Or a reasonable facsimile thereof. I do have many friends, and they are all anxious to taste the things that I brew, much of which turns out fairly satisfactory. Imagine this as an opportunity to seed the States with a sort of 5th Column of Crabbie's partisans, ready to take to the hills and ...well, drink delicious things. And spread the word!

I would gladly be your ambassador to the States, or at least to Venice, California. Or at least to my block. Surely I would qualify for that. Will you help me out?

Yours etc;
Davy Krieger


Apr. 18th, 2012 04:45 pm (UTC)
What does a "beer professional" mean? Also, can you provide some citation for Crabbie's being a cider? I mean, it's marketed as a "ginger beer" not a "ginger cider" and I don't recall its ingredients have apples.

Not to seem argumentative - it just doesn't sound right to me.
Apr. 18th, 2012 07:28 pm (UTC)
Hm. Well, it was past midnight when I started to look so all I did was ask my buddy Cameron via gchat, who's a British homebrewer and apiarist out in Wilkes-Barre. He`s the one that told me it was a keeved cider. After a cursory google, I see that ratebeer.com agrees with him, and that site is the second-most reliable beverage site online. Also, in Australia it`s beeing marketed as the "new cider".

None of this is conclusive, and it's entirely possible that Cameron and ratebeer are both wrong. In any case, it`s obvious that it`s not a true ginger beer (which is a different animal than a malted grain beer), since they steep the ginger to add the ginger flavor instead of fermenting the ginger using that weird ginger beer slime. I mean, I suppose it could just be an alcopop, like Mike's Hard Lemonade or Smirnoff Ice, in which case you're screwed. You can't make that kind of stuff at home.

If you think I'm wrong, which is a possibility, why not try a kit like Cooper's? http://www.makebeer.net/item.asp?idProduct=54&idCategory=104&idSubCategory=0

Alternatively, just look up some "true" ginger beer recipes, buy the yeast slime from a yeast supply company, and go to town.
Apr. 18th, 2012 07:36 pm (UTC)
Yeah, the ratebeer guys seem pretty convinced that it's a fruit-based beverage with no fermentable grains and added flavorings, ie a cider. They're the kind of nerds I would trust, so I'm going to stand by my initial statement.
Apr. 18th, 2012 08:23 pm (UTC)
I am puzzled, as I receive many answers, none of which accord with each other. I basically made some home-made non-alcoholic ginger beer, but it was cloudy and not terribly sweet, which was unlike Crabbie's. I really doubt that it's alcopop like Mike's, but I suppose it's possible.

I might try the Cooper's kit - what's the harm, really? If it's not right it's probably still drinkable. I'm just loathe to invest in the time-consuming process of a full 5 gallon batch with something that won't turn out right.

Could you like me to the ratebeer article you're looking at?
Apr. 19th, 2012 02:55 am (UTC)
Explains why it's not a rateable beer and calls it a keeved cider with ginger added:


Sseveral posts in the Sainsbury's thread, including one that indicates that they contacted the brewery and found out that it was gluten-free, which means it's not any kind of brewable grain:


Again with the no grain thing:


This guy says it's a flavored fruit cider:



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