- Name: Crabbies Alcoholic Ginger Beer
- Brewery: John Crabbie & Company
- Style: Alcoholic Ginger Beer
- Origin: Scottland
- ABV: 4.8%
Whether or not Crabbie’s is technically a beer is a contentious issue. Many argue as it is not a true beer, aligning it with the hard soda or wine cooler market. Regardless of how it is defined, I grew up drinking traditional, non-alcoholic, ginger beer and so I jumped at the chance to try an alcoholic version.
In recent years, ginger beer has slowly gained popularity in the U.S. on the back of the rise of Moscow Mules. Typically speaking, ginger beer is non alcoholic, and while it may be easy to confuse it with ginger ale by name alone, it’s completely different. Ginger beer is spiced and typically has some heat to it. In my experience it is also “thicker” and sweeter than a ginger ale.
Going into this review, I had high expectations. With ginger beer being much bigger in the UK, and Crabbie’s originating in Scotland, I anticipated a particularly good experience. Having now tried Crabbie’s, I’m ambivalent, heres why;
- Crabbie’s has a somewhat artificial flavor. Something about the ginger flavor just doesn’t seem right. It may be due to the fermentation process and the alcohol content, but it’s different in a bad way.
- Crabbie’s lacks the spicy heat I’m accustomed to with a ginger beer. While the flavor exists in some capacity, its very much toned down and disappointing. This ginger beer is like a toothless tiger.
- Despite the flavor issues presented, it’s not inherently bad. Ultimately, my opinion of this ginger beer is formed through the lens of someone who has enjoyed non-alcoholic versions for years. Unfortunately this does not stand up in my realm of experience, but I may have enjoyed it more out of context.
The one thing worth noting is that Crabbie’s apparently has two different formulas. When researching this beer I found that the UK variety is gluten free and the one sold in the US is not. That’s a fairly significant change of recipe, which leads me to believe it may have been modified for an American palette. There’s a pretty good chance that the version available in the UK more accurately reflects my experiences and expectations, so if you’re reading this in the UK and think I’m crazy, this will hopefully give you better context.
Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer is an interesting take on the brew. In my opinion, its flavor is artificially unpleasant and lacks the spice and heat I would expect. If you have not drank ginger beers previously, you may enjoy this. Either way, it’s worth trying once and seeing how you like it.
Question of the Day
What is your favorite ginger beer brand? Let me know!
Learn more about Crabbie’s at their website (it is not listed on Untappd or Beer Advocate).