Hawkes Alcoholic Ginger Beer review

Ginger. It's a flavour that brings back a lot of memories... from drinking cans of Old Jamaica Ginger Beer on street corners with friends when I was a child, to mum force feeding me root ginger when I was ill, the bottles of Stones Ginger Wine we always had in the house at Christmas (Note: I was led to believe that literally nobody drinks it at any other time of the year), to my first taste of pickled ginger in Japanese food. I think ginger is a flavour that evokes memories in a lot of British people, regardless of age.

It's a flavour I've always liked in it's pure and hot form, but then a couple of years ago the craze of Alcoholic Ginger Beers started, mainly with one big brand - Crabbies. I hated that stuff. It tasted way too artificial and sweet so I really couldn't get on with it. I questioned myself at first, thinking "Is this what ginger always tasted like?" and didn't really seek out any others.

So let's fast forward instead of telling you about my life for the last few years (I'm sure you saw that on Twitter anyway). Just after Christmas I got a message from a company called Hawkes who are making a new 4% Alcoholic Ginger Beer wanting to send me a couple of bottles. I wasn't going to refuse, especially considering the lovely Melissa Cole appears to be a fan. It must be nice!

So what is Hawke's Alcoholic Ginger Beer like?

It pours as you'd expect - a light orange/ginger colour with a head that fizzes away very quickly. Very much like a carbonated soft drink, actually.

When you stick your nose in the glass, those childhood memories of ginger beer are evoked... just so fresh and pure with the tingling of the nostrils from that little bit of heat.

You taste it and it has a nice level of root ginger, balanced with some candy sugar sweetness meaning that it's not as spicy and hot as I remember.

Naturally the mouthfeel is fairly similar to most soft drinks, yet not quite as carbonated making it slip down rather easily.

Overall: I think it's a very nice drink and is definitely one of watch rise in the ranks of top summer drinks of 2014, along with Harry Brompton's London Ice Tea. I can see myself drinking this on the beach, in the sun while reading a book. You should definitely buy this!


  1. When I helped Pete do a great big alcoholic ginger beer test, we quickly realised there were two categories of ginger beer -- the ones that were basically sweet pop, a lot like the drinks we enjoyed in childhood, but which happened to be alcoholic, like Crabbies -- and regular beers that had ginger flavour as well as the usual. I don't remember which ones won, now, though ask Pete and he'll dig it out for you if you like. We got our hand on a LOT of ginger beer for the test, and had a panel review them. I bought them in to the panel in glasses so they didn't know IDs, for proper blind tasting.

    1. That sounds like a really cool idea - this is an emerging market I think. I'll see if Pete can find the results as I would be interested in trying more!

  2. Sod the alcopops, naylors ginger beer for me! Though for a hot summer afternoon I get the idea. Though to be honest I don't need the alcohol so a can of old Jamaica works fine.


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