Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Left Hand Good Juju


3.4
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
Chad9976 (599) - Albany, USA - JUL 16, 2011
I always appreciate a beer that uses a spice, fruit, vegetable or rare malt or hop strain that no one else tends to use. Technically, you could classify such a beer as gimmicky, but if it results in a good beer it’s forgivable. Left Hand Brewing Co. out of Colorado has taken such an approach with Good Juju Ginger: a summer-style light-bodied ale brewed with ginger. It’s an interesting variation of the typical fruity summer brews as the ginger imparts a sweet spiciness. However, I find the flavor something of an acquired taste since there isn’t a lot else here to appreciate.

APPEARANCE AND AROMA

I poured a 12oz bottle into a goblet. I was pleasantly surprised by how attractive the appearance was. It’s a pretty shade of orange with next to no carbonation. It produces a two-finger, white, frothy (almost creamy) head which lasts throughout the life of the drink and leaves some lacing on the glass.

The brewery makes a point of saying you will notice the ginger in the nose immediately, which I did, but found it to be a rather mild scent. In fact, there isn’t a lot going on aromatically here, it’s a touch of ginger with some underlying malts and hops akin to what you’d find in an American pilsner.

TASTE

Left Hand Good Juju Ginger is almost two beers in one. After pouring and taking my first few swigs I found the palate to be light, refreshing, smooth and slightly sweet from the ginger flavor. It tastes like the real thing (and from what I understand it IS the real thing, although Left Hand’s website doesn’t specify how and where the ginger flavor comes from). Much like the nose, this drinks like an America pilsner as it has a mild palate with noticeable maltiness and a touch of hop bitterness in the finish.

I was really satisfied by the first half of the beer, but as I drank on I found it a little fatiguing. The ginger initially leaves a slightly sweet, slightly spicy aftertaste, which is tasty and refreshing. But the more I drink the stronger the ginger flavor becomes. The malts and hops and pilsner qualities I originally tasted took a back seat to an increasingly strong ginger flavor. The aftertaste becomes drier and a little annoying. I suppose if I were a bigger fan of the taste of ginger in general this would be pleasurable, which leads me to believe the average beer drinker will have a similar reaction to this beer.

DRINKABILITY

Though technically a perennial offering, Good Juju Ginger is the type of beer you would really only want to drink during the warmer months. It’s extremely light-bodied with a thin, almost watery mouthfeel and is as easy to drink as juice. It does finish clean at first and I suppose it would finish equally as clean by the end if drank fast enough. The ginger flavor becomes stronger the more you drink, but it’s easily tolerable.

At only 4.2% ABV this is essentially a "lite" beer with a lot more flavor. It could easily be sessioned, although I think it would work better as a complement to lighter fare such as salad or chicken (especially if those foods are made with ginger seasoning).

FINAL THOUGHTS

If you’re a big fan of ginger then Left Hand Good Juju Ginger is definitely the beer for you. If you’re not, well, you’ll probably still be able to appreciate how unique it is and have no trouble doing so since it’s extremely smooth.

Grade: 6/10