When distributors or ginger beer producers are coming and presenting their product, I cannot wait, to tell them how easy it is to make homemade ginger beer and how great it taste.
I've experienced commercial ginger beers as always slightly "medicinal" - even "artificial" tasting. This usually comes from the dried ginger [or ginger extract], which seems to be pretty much industry standard.
Don't get me wrong - products like East Imperial Ginger Beer and Fentimans Ginger Beer are great... but yeah - house-crafted is better, much cheaper - and it seems questionable, why anyone would buy a product, which he/she easily can produce in a better version.
So I thought until now.
I came across Cawston Press in one supermarket [I believe it was Spinney's] and as always when I see beverages, which I don't know yet, I had to buy them and try them.
Now - I bought, the "plain' sparkling apple, the lemon sparkling apple, the apple & rhubarb and their ginger beer. The "lemonade" was my least favorite [quite acidic, but without soothing and clean lemon flavors], followed by sparkling apple [a bit boring]. My favorite was Apple & Rhubarb- the tartness of the apple works fantastically with the Rhubarb - which isn't that dominating, but gives the whole "kinda soda" the edge. The ginger beer, I forgot in the fridge [because of the above mentioned cockiness].
Today I just tried it, because this was the last one, which wasn't yet "discovered". And - wow!
Upfront spicy ginger aromas however the apple is fighting successfully the "dried ginger" characteristics. The apple is also giving it a really nice mouthfeel and body. After that comes the clue - as they are using a bit of chile in their beverage, the aftertaste is rather an after-glow! Not really spicy and it doesn't taste like chile - however it is different than the ginger spiciness - absolutely amazing.
Is it so good, that it cannot be replicated [like Coke - you can go great lengths to reproduce Coca Cola - but at the end, you will end up with a copycat product which isn't that great...]?
Nope - I am sure, if you are using a bit sour green apple juice, and maybe a hint of chile [thinking of a fraction of gram of my lactofermented habanero chile powder] - and a bit of tinkering, I am sure, that you will end up with a similar product, which might be even slightly better.
However Kudos to Cawston Press to come up with a completely different product, which is definitely as good if not better than even the best house-crafted ginger beers - and it is commercial.
Truth has to be told: it won't be your classic ginger beer [still will go for my homemade one] - because it is just too different. But I guess, it will be fantastic in a Dark'n'Stormy [or if you really want a Moscow Mule] - or any other ginger beer drink!