I can’t remember the first time I had a Dark and Stormy, but it’s been my official go-to drink for the better part of the past decade, if not before. Whenever I notice a bottle of spicy ginger beer behind the bar, I immediately look past all the other options and order one up. Rum. Lime. Spice. It’s a combination made in heaven. Man, I kind of want one right now.
So when the folks at Small Town Brewery were nice enough to send me a few bottles of Not Your Father’s Ginger Ale, I was intrigued, and took them up on the offer. Alcoholic ginger ale? Sounds right up my alley.
You’ve probably heard of Small Town’s Not Your Father’s Root Beer. The alcoholic soda was one of the first to make a big splash (now Budweiser has its own version: Best Damn Root Beer). It’s pretty delicious, and the Ginger Ale follows its lead fairly well.
Out of the bottle you’re immediately hit with the spicy smell of ginger. It pours just like you might expect any other soda to, with significantly more carbonation than your average beer.
The notion of an “average beer” is an important thing to note. Small Town says that the Ginger Ale is an “ale brewed with ginger.” While that’s technically true, there isn’t anything remotely beer-like about the drink except the bottle. I’ve had pale ales brewed with ginger before, and this is far, far, far from that. Taste-wise, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were actually sipping on a glass of Canada Dry. It smells, looks, and tastes just like your normal ginger ale.
As a spicy ginger beer fan, that sugary-soda sweetness is a bit disappointing. I tend to gravitate toward dry, spicy ginger beers, and found Not Your Father’s Ginger Ale to be a bit sweeter than I would normally go for with a cocktail. That said, it isn’t claiming to be anything but your average Ginger Ale, and it hits that taste spot on. I’m not normally one to just sip on ginger ale at home unless I’m sick, but I would definitely drink one (or a few) of these.
But can I mix it with booze?
It’s an important question, and one I definitely needed to answer. Outside of my yearly stomach bug, I tend to only drink ginger ale/beer when it’s mixed with booze, so why not try it with alcoholic ginger ale as well?
I made myself two tiny cocktails: one with bourbon (Maker’s Mark), and another with rum (Sugar Island Spiced rum). They were both drinkable, the rum cocktail more so, perhaps because I opted for spiced rum and tend to gravitate that way flavor-wise normally. The whiskey I found overpowered the taste of the ginger ale a little more than I would have liked, however, it was still definitely passable, and even something I would consider making again. If you’re going for more of a ginger ale taste, I’d go for a little lighter pour than you might normally when it comes to stronger-flavored liquors. The ginger ale itself comes in at 5.9%, so that’s probably not the worst idea, in general.
Bottom line: If you’re a fan of ginger ale, then you’re going to love this stuff. In fact, I might just crack open that other bottle now…
Brewery: Small Town Brewery
City: La Crosse, WI
Style: Herbed/Spiced beer
Availability: Year Round