Local Ginger Beer
Think ginger beer is a sweet, faintly tart drink that you drink at your grandma’s or when your stomach hurts? The difference between ginger ale and a real ginger beer is like the difference between instant coffee and fresh-brewed espresso. Ginger beer lulls you in with sweetness, but its mid-palate (to use my brother-in-law’s wine vocabulary) taste is strong and spicy, with a gentler finish of cloves or cinnamon.
Ginger beer (both alcoholic and nonalcoholic) has been brewed in New England since colonial days. It was drunk by the men working the harvest. Both the copious amounts of sugar and the revitalizing ginger helped give them the energy to finish the job. No egrets and I were only harvesting groceries when we picked up a bottle of AJ Stephans’ ginger beer at Crosby’s: official independent chain grocery store of the North Shore. It was nice and strong, and produced in Fall River (previously brewed even closer to home, in Stoneham). Some official tasters thought that it contained too much ginger “flavoring” along with actual ginger, but other tasters were so impressed by the layered flavors that they didn’t notice.
All this talk of ginger put us in mind to make some ginger and molasses cookies. Anyone know a source of fair trade molasses?