I used to be a fan of sweet drinks. Those sickly, syrupy ones that make your teeth feel fuzzy after a couple of glasses. More recently though my tastes seem to have changed. I now prefer a gin and tonic over a vodka and coke, red wine over white and ginger beer over fruit cider. Maybe it comes with getting older, maybe I just have too many memories of getting silly drunk on sweet drinks and I need to start again!
Whatever it is I’m pleased it’s happened. Not only do I not have to cope with fuzzy teeth plus a hangover (and a small child) anymore. I’ve started being a little more experimental with my drink choices.
Tom has been a big fan of alcoholic ginger beer for a while now but it’s a relatively new drink choice for me. I’ve always drunk it on its own but when I went for a little behind the scenes sneak peek at Umbrella Brewing in Holloway I was treated to a gin and ginger beer cocktail. Definitely my new favourite and a good alternative to a gin and tonic on these cold days!
Umbrella Brewing is an independent brewery, based in North London, striving to create the best alcoholic ginger beer on the market. Chief brewer, Matt Armitage, definitely pours a lot of pride and passion in his ginger beer. The fact that, on startup, he decided to go with a recipe he liked and completely eschew a taste panel proves how much he believes in what’s in these little brown bottles.
I’ll be honest, if I was him I would be too. It’s really good.
There are only natural ingredients used in Umbrella’s Ginger Beer – freshly pressed ginger, hand squeezed lemon and demerara sugar. This gives it a rich, sharp taste with a good spicy kick. It’s not going to blow your head off but you definitely know there’s a whole lot of ginger in there! 75kg per batch, to be precise.
Watching the care being taken over the brewing of their Ginger Beer I was excited to discover they were starting to diversify. There was a test batch of cider being brewed while I was there that I had a chance to taste. It was really good. I’ll be keeping an out for that!
There are 12 (ish) bottles of Ginger Beer currently sat in my fridge. I’m one of the lucky ones because they are currently only stocked in Oddbins and an ever-growing list of independent bars and coffee shops. Check out their list of stockists to see if there is somewhere by you to get your hands on a bottle or two.