Action Figures & Their Beers - Crab Invasion, Part 1
by Beedo Sookcool
on 2012-09-17, 12:36:12
CRABBIE’S ALCOHOLIC GINGER BEER
Clawful doesn’t like you. Given the choice, he’d get your skull in his giant crusher claw, seize your tender vittles in his smaller cutting claw, and slowly squeeze until you cried like a schoolgirl with a skinned knee. Then he’d leave you in the dust, whimpering, while he nicked your sushi. Anyway, the stinging pain from the aforementioned torment from the aforementioned crab-guy would be a bit like drinking Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer, which isn’t actually as bad a thing as I make it sound. And, yes, I think I can adequately explain that. Read on . . . .
Ginger beer comes in for a fair bit of mockery these days. Here in Britain, many people think it’s a relic of a bygone era, like hula hoops, wearing fedoras, or manners. Americans just think it sounds funny (watch the wedding preparation scenes in Mickey Blue Eyes if you don’t believe me). But ginger beer has its fans, and they’re pretty vocal in their support, which means there are still several brands available on the market in this day and age, with more new ones popping up every so often. I ain’t really one of those fans, to be honest. Ginger beer is too damp to be truly spicy, yet too spicy to be truly refreshing. But I’ve tried many of the different brands, and what brought my attention to Crabbie’s was, ironically, their series of TV ads whose spokeswoman is an anachronistic, jolly, Fifties-style housewife, with pearls and everything. They even use dated slang, such as “tickety-boo,” “spiffing,” and “wizard.” Yes, you have decades-old British slang to thank for Li’l Anakin’s favourite accolade of high quality. Also what brought my attention to Crabbie’s is the fact that it’s alcoholic.
Established in 1801, Crabbie’s uses ginger sourced from the Far East, which is why they have an elephant for a trademark. Under their secret recipe which uses fruits, spices, and root ginger, the brew is fermented for 8 weeks, until it develops its “unique and balanced flavour,” as well as its 4% ABV potency. This puts it at the low-ish end of the beer-alcohol spectrum, but a staggering Infinity percent more intoxicating than the majority of the ginger beer market. Because most ginger beer isn’t actually alcoholic. Canada Dry makes ginger ale, but that ain’t really ale, either. Ginger beer is like ginger ale on steroids. It’s often not as fizzy, it’s usually cloudy, but when you drink some, you feel like someone has maced your mouth. In the words of the Dethklok guitarist Toki Wartooth from Metalocalypse, “It tastes sting-y.”
I asked a friend of mine, known as Wildman, to help assess the potency of the ginger beer you can get over here, using the American benchmark for manly, pain-inducing soft drinks: Vernor’s Ginger Ale. Wildman is an expert in all things spicy, to the point where he should receive multiple doctorates and Nobel Prizes in the subject for the development of his HazMat Chilli, Spicy Beefy-Cheese Dip, and Baradium Meltdown Curry. If he ever got into growing his own hot peppers, he’d probably develop a variety he’d call “Death Star” that would make a Dorset Naga seem like a bell pepper, and which could melt through to the Earth’s core if you dropped it on the ground. So in all things spicy, I defer to him.
The most readily available brand of ginger beer here (and, according to Wildman, which can be found in the USA, as well) is Old Jamaican, which comes in a creamy-coloured can with diagonal red pinstripes and calligraphic writing on it. And according to the expert, Vernor’s has about 80% of the burn of Old Jamaican. So, using Old Jamaican as the calibration point (125% of Vernor’s spiciness), Crabbie’s comes in at . . . well, it’s hard to gauge. It’s got kind of a cumulative burn. The first sip is just like Canada Dry. The second sip adds a bit of tingle. On the third sip, the tingle gets stronger, about 90% - 110% of Vernor’s kick, depending on the batch. However, it never really gets much spicier than that. Which is fine, because it never gets too spicy to be refreshing. But it’s not really something you can drink a lot of, either. I don’t know about anyone else, but if I have one, I feel I’ve had enough. It’s nice, don’t get me wrong, but it’s nice in the way that a really good fruitcake is nice. Once you’ve had a slice or two, well, that’ll keep you going until next Christmas. Or probably the Christmas after that. So while it’s refreshing and alcoholic and tingly and tasty, Crabbie’s is probably not the kind of brew you’ll want to be pounding down like there’s no tomorrow. Pop a cold one and get very refreshed on a hot summer’s day. Then find something else. ’Cause when I drank two of these in one sitting, I felt a bit ill afterward.
Drink this if you also like: Mouth tingle, Vernor’s, Old Jamaican, or any other spicy ginger beer or ginger ale.
Next week: another Crabbie’s Ginger Beer product, paired with a guy who makes Clawful look like Mister Rogers by comparison.
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