ginger beer

I really only have one requirement for ginger beer. I have to feel it.

To wit: “…the ginger beer has to sting, burn, and fire up the back of your throat. You have to feel it in your nose and down your gullet.”

I found such a ginger beer in Boston — made by Goya — and we used it in all our Black Gosling Dark and Stormys. It was spicy, opaque perfection. Once we moved out here and couldn’t find hide nor hair of Goya, I quested for the perfect ginger beer. Nothing served. Not Bundaberg, not Blenheim, not anything you can possibly name. Believe me. I’ve tried them. ALL of them.

In Andronico’s British food section, I finally found a ginger beer made by Belvoir, and it was good. It burned my nose and tingled my throat, and I was so happy with that sought-after sensation that I ignored the slight tinge of chlorine in the taste that became decidedly pronounced the more I drank.

When I met Tim Warilow of Fever-Tree to sample his newest flavors, I pestered him about ginger beer. Fever-Tree, I argued, was the ideal company to make my favorite type of ginger beer. (Because it’s all about me, right?) Tim just smiled and talked up the merits of their ginger ale. (And, as I’ve noted before, he ain’t just whistling dixie on that one. Fever-Tree makes a killer ginger ale.)

However, a year later, Fever-Tree is now making ginger beer. I got two precious sample bottles in the mail and chilled them both immediately. One I drank as soon as it was cold, but the other is in safekeeping for another month.

In order to best appreciate it, I sipped it neat and not as a mixer. I’ve come to realize that the best mixers are the ones that can be fully enjoyed without alcohol or other things tarting it up. Fever-Tree’s ginger beer is perfection. With each luscious swallow, I feel it trace a satisfyingly fiery path up my nose and down my throat.

And the flavor? Well, it was just ginger. I’m not denigrating the flavor with my “just,” there, I’m elevating it. That’s the flavor, “just ginger,” which is as it should be. There was no chlorine aftertaste, no overt sweetness detracting from what ended up being pure ginger in liquid form.

Fever-Tree’s ginger beer mixes two kinds of ginger: hot Nigerian ginger and fresh green Ecuadorian ginger. Just like all their other products, Fever-Tree’s ginger beer is all natural, which explains the slightly cloudy appearance. For me, that cloudy, opaque look is key when layering up that most perfect of New England summer sips, the Dark and Stormy.

Oh, right — guess what that reserved sample bottle is for? That’s right. As soon as I’m allowed, post-delivery, that cold little bottle is going onto my deck and into my first decent Dark and Stormy in years.

Feeling Feverish for Fever-Tree Ginger Beer 8 June,2009Stephanie Lucianovic

  • You have the right of it – it’s not good ginger beer unless you feel the burn. I am going to get out there and find this ASAP!

  • Austin Luke

    Hi Stephanie,

    I too had been on the hunt for a good ginger beer in the Bay Area and had simply not been able to find one. I’ve tried Reed’s, Fever Tree, GingerPeople and just about every other type of Ginger Beer on sale at Rainbow Grocery in SF.

    Nothing satisfied me, so for the last year or so, I’ve been brewing my own traditional bottle-conditioned Ginger Beer using a traditional Ginger Beer Plant. I’d invite you to try some for yourself – I believe it to be superior to anything else I’ve tried, including Fever Tree.

    Best Regards,



Stephanie Lucianovic

A former picky eater, Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic is a writer, editor, and lapsed cheesemonger in the San Francisco Bay Area. A culinary school grad with an English lit degree, she has written for,, Popular Science, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe. Additionally, she has been writing for KQED’s Bay Area Bites since its inception and is the website editor for KQED’s Emmy-award winning show “Check, Please! Bay Area.”

Stephanie was an original recapper at Television Without Pity and worked on a line of cookbooks for William-Sonoma as well as in the back kitchen of a Jacques Pépin cooking show. Her first book, SUFFERING SUCCOTASH: A Picky Eater’s Quest To Understand Why We Hate the Foods We Hate (Perigee Books, 2012) is a non-fiction narrative and a heartfelt and humorous exposé on the inner lives of picky eaters that Scientific American called “hilarious” and “the perfect popular science book for a reader that doesn’t think he or she wants to read a popular science book.”

Stephanie lives in Menlo Park with her husband, three-year-old son, assorted cats, and has been blogging at The Grub Report for over a decade.

Follow her on Twitter at @grubreport

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