I can remember drinking versions of Whisky Mac almost from early childhood, we always had Stones Ginger Wine in at Christmas and of course the odd bottle of blended Scotch (no chance of single malt in those days for us) and as I had the odd experiment, (as you do), whisky and ginger seemed perfect partners.
I seem to recall it being a big hit with my brother, in fact when I mentioned this to him recently, he actually asked me to bring him a bottle. I left open-mouthed and in somewhat of a daze as he is a dedicated drinker of Carling Extra Cold and him wanting to try beer of any other kind is something unheard of, rare as rocking horse shit no less…
Anyways enough reminiscing, getting up to date, I love a good ginger beer but sadly rarely ever get one. The stuff in the supermarkets is generally utter dross unless you are lucky enough to stumble across Robinsons Ginger Tom, sweet syrupy ginger alcopop is probably a more fitting description for most. So when I heard that Michelle at OffBeat had crafted a new ginger beer called “Unhinged Ginger” if course I was interested. When I heard she’d barrel aged some in Glenfarclas casks I was EXTREMELY interested.
It was then I had my first stroke of luck, the last cask of it was shipped to my local pub. It was delicious, in fact I recall the cellar-man texting me as he tapped it, goading me as I had to wait another day.
The second stroke of luck came I’m the form of my first visit to Firsty Friday, OffBeats monthly open session. There on the shelves were bottles, bottles and more bottles, something quite new to the brewery and among them Weird Whisky Mac, I made purchases with great haste..
I’ve tried a few at home now and actually think it suits the bottle, it’s probably a serving temperature/carbonation so maybe it would work on keg to, especially in the summer months. On the first sniff of the glass you get the briefest hint of honey followed by soft whisky notes. This is quickly replaced by aromas of freshly chopped ginger root.
After such a big ginger thwomp up the hooter your senses tell you this is going to be hot, harsh even, but it’s not. It’s actually cool, spritzy and refreshing, in fact you could be forgiven for even being slightly disappointed, this is a 6.1%abv beer but drinks like a low strength session pale. Do not be fooled though, this is a wolf in a big Scottish ginger sheeps fleecy coat.
That cool fresh drinkablity remains throughout, but as you drink warm ginger flavours begin to creep back up from deep within your belly, hitting the back of the throat and spreading across the tongue like a liquid tartan electric blanket, all the time without any cloying sweetness, it’s quite dry and bitter, just as it should be.