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Idris Ginger Beer - ewwwwww

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I just tried some "Idris fiery ginger beer" that I purchased at a British Imports booth at a recent Scottish fair. What a disappointment! Not only was it not fiery, but it was sweetened with aspartame IN ADDITION TO sugar. Alas, I'm one of those unlucky people who can't stand the taste of aspartame. I can't rinse that awful chemical taste out of my mouth!

Why, oh, why did they add chemical sweeteners to a beverage whose first ingredient is sugar? What were they thinking? Luckily, I only bought one can. Never again!

And, because it wasn't spicy in the slightest, I wanted to post this to warn others who might be tempted by the misleading name.

So now I'm back to my quest for some super-spicy ginger beer for my Moscow Mules. I've tried Reed's "Extra Ginger Brew" - it's wimpy and too sweet for me. I really need to find a place in town that carries Blenheim ginger ale.

Anne

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  1. Have you tried Goya ginger beer? Its pretty gingery spicy - and if that's not enough, they add a pepper extract to make it extra biting/hot on the tounge. I have found it in about half of the grocery stores in my area.

    1. I'm going off of my faded memory - it's been a while - but if I remember correctly, Bundaberg ginger beer has an intense snappy bite of ginger to it, and I'm pretty sure they sweeten with cane sugar - not corn syrup like Reed's. I actually like (not love) Reed's but mixed with a good rum on a warm summer night. In general, ginger beer and ginger ale are popular in Australia and New Zealand. They can range from somewhat on the tame side to very pungent. I've also seen quite a bit of ginger-based products that originate from Australia - this tells me that ginger is huge Down Under. Maybe you can try some ginger brews from there.

      On the Blenheim website, they do list locations where you can get their products in the Minnesota area. I'm glad you brought up this product as I like to down an ice cold hot ginger brew from time to time. According to Blenheim's website, there's a local distributor just a few minutes from my house (Beverage Warehouse in LA) so I'm going today. Thanks, Anne!

      1 Reply
      1. re: bulavinaka

        I eagerly marched down to Beverage Warehouse (OK, no one marches in LA - Angelenos hop in their car and tool down the driveway just to pick up the newspaper) to pick up the coveted Blenheim ginger ale, and guess what? They only carry the whimpier "Not as Hot" version. Is this one worth getting?

      2. Idris isn't so good, but Fentimans, Old Jamaica and Fever Tree all do excellent versions. Most non-diet soft drinks in the UK are sweetened with sugar rather than HFCS or aspartame, so if that's a concern look for the full-fat UK imports!

        3 Replies
        1. re: babybat

          Fentimans has a real bite to it and is botanically brewed and fermented over seven days, which really gives it an interesting taste profile. It does have less than a half percent alcohol due to the fermentation, but it's still considered a soft drink. You have to hunt around for it a bit, but it's worth it.

          1. re: babybat

            > Most non-diet soft drinks in the UK are sweetened with sugar rather than HFCS or aspartame ...

            Yeah, that's what I thought, but not Idris. I bought the non-diet version, expecting that the sweeteners would be "full-fat" (love that! :-). The can wasn't marked "diet", so I certainly didn't expect aspartame. Bleah!

            Oh, well - live and learn.

            Anne

            1. re: babybat

              Babybat You can get FEVER TREE Ginger beer?!?? Around me that's one of the two "lost" fever tree flavors (The other being the lemonade) the ones that none of the stores that carry fever tree stock.

              Oh and for those who have acess to one, Chef Central has plentiful supplies of the Fentimans Ginger beer along with the other Fentimans flavors (except for the Shandy and the Dandelion and Burdock, I guess those are too "British" to sell well.

            2. Thanks for the tips! I need to start hunting for a place that sells six-packs of ginger beer. I can get Blenheim's at a few restaurants in town, but I don't want to pay restaurant prices for a bottle to take home. (Still, it's probably cheaper than mail order.)

              In the meantime, I've started soaking ginger pieces in vodka for my Moscow Mules. It's quite tasty, but it's not ginger beer...

              Anne

              1. I agree. I got sucked in by the "Try me if you dare!" and bought two cans. Also who puts sugar AND artificial sweeteners in a soda??? And the ginger content was pathetic about the same as Canada Dry but not as good. Reed's is also crappy.

                GOYA is my favorite now followed by Old Tyme which is harder to find anyway. I hear stories about Blenheim, but still haven't tried it.

                I'm trying to contact the company what a piece of crap!

                1. I don't know what stores you have in your area but here (NC/USA currently) I pick up ginger beer (other than Goya, and occasionally Reed's, which I buy at the grocery store) at World Market. I go in every three weeks or so and pick up some type of ginger beer, along with my jelly babies, hobnobs, chocolate bars, tea, whatever looks interesting, etc. The reason I like the place is that whenever I go in they usually have different brands of ginger beer in stock (such as Bundaberg, Ginger People, or Fentimans), and occasionally have even more obscure (to me) labels to buy and try. Now if they would just carry spruce beer.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: blackoak

                    World Market closed all their stores in Minnesota, so we don't have a source for Bundaberg. A few local places sell Reeds and Ginger People, but I find them both too sweet and not gingery/spicy enough.

                    I'm still searching for Goya Ginger Beer - it sounds like I'd really like it. But I keep forgetting to look when I'm in a Mexican grocery store. (I've been making my own ginger syrup to tide me over, but even that isn't spicy enough.)

                    Anne

                    1. re: AnneInMpls

                      Bundaberg is the spiciest Ginger Beer that I've found. Trader Joe's used to carry it but no longer does. World Market does but, locally, Reno, NV, only have the diet on a regular basis, the non-diet about every three months so I always stock up when I find it. No other ginger beer comes close.

                      1. re: LeftyS7

                        Just got back from a trip to Australia and fell in love with Bundaberg ginger beer. Is there anywhere to purchase it in the US? I'm in the \Southern California area. Thanks!

                  2. The Goya brand is just hot because of the capsicum added. The Fentimans is very good, as is the Fever Tree. Trying to find those brands can be a long search though.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: MsDiPesto

                      On the basis of your having listed two (Fentimans, Fever Tree) of the three ginger beers that I consider to be, by far, the three best, I'd say the chances are excellent that we share similar tastes. Therefore may I suggest that you search ceaselessly until you've found a retailer in your area that stocks Bundaberg.

                    2. Have literally been around the world looking for great ginger beer, and little was better than what I can get in my own backyard thanks to a Chowhound tip: Bundaberg ginger beer from Austrailia that can be found at Cost Plus World Market for the lowest price and at Bevmo and specialty liquour stores occasionally for quite a bit more.

                      On a trip to Bevmo to see what the action was, I walked out with every single brand of ginger beer they had and none of them were worth the extra cost compared to Bundaberg, though one of them from Australia was close but not at BevMo's jacked up prices.

                      Recently had some very good ginger beer in Sri Lanka, Penang Malaysia and on the high seas Indian ocean with Schwepes ginger beer from the ship's bar, that I don't think you can get in the US. It was great and too bad they don't make it available state side.

                      Ginger beer, and Bundaberg ginger beer is a vastly underappreciated dining quaff.

                      1. Hi Anne,
                        You need to order Blenheim via www.beveragesdirect.com or Kegworks.com
                        I live here in God's country too. So far haven't found any where nearby.
                        PEACE

                        1. http://blenheimshrine.com/Blenheim%20...
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