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No, this article is not about a former girlfriend of mine (Wild Ginger) and my favorite hair cream from the 60’s (Wild Root), although I have to admit, if I ever got around to writing about them, it definitely would make for interesting reading and might even still get me arrested. This article is in fact about WG Brewing’s new alcoholic root beer and ginger beer, although I use the term alcoholic sparingly, as both are 4% ABV (Wild Ginger) and 5% ABV (Wild Root) which puts them both squarely in the average beer alcohol content; although I seriously doubt either one is going to taste like Bud or Coors, but that may actually be a good thing in disguise.

This resurgence in “alcoholic craft soda” can actually be traced back to legendary moonshiner Popcorn Sutton! Turns out that Wild Ginger Founder Jamey Grosser learned the art of brewing from Popcorn before Sutton committed suicide in 2009 rather than report to Federal prison for offenses related to moonshine production. Yes, you can still get Popcorn Sutton’s legendary Tennessee White Whiskey, but now I’m really curious to see what Jamey did with the knowledge he garnered from Popcorn. Enough of this babble, let’s get to tasting!

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Just so there is no mistaking this Ginger Beer for a tame non-alcoholic kid friendly can of soda, there is a very hot, very red, very buxom broad on the can pointing to the words Alcoholic Ginger Beer. Given that this ginger beer comes in a soda can, the mistake would be a natural one. The color of this ginger beer is dark amber that makes it look like a tawny port, but there the similarity ends. The nose is quite fizzy when the can is first opened. The aromas emanating forth are subtle and infused with ginger, beer, a slight nod toward the alcohol and a bit of citrus. The palate is more wine like than beer like, and the bit of fizz makes it quite refreshing. I perceive a touch of ginger and citrus and even a taste of grape soda, go figure! The finish is smooth, fizzy, flavorful, citrusy and ever so slightly spicy. I could drink this stuff all afternoon straight up and cold right from the fridge. I also believe it would play nice in a mixed drink, but it’s just so darn tasty by itself, I don’t even want to go through the trouble of mixing it up into something else. Currently, it’s only available in a handful of states, but they promise to roll out nationally by the end of the year, so you may yet get to enjoy this gingery delight for the holidays. It sells for $9.00-$10.00 per six pack.

The Wild Root, alcoholic root beer, comes in a brown soda can sporting one mean ass mug scowling and foaming and growing gnarly roots out of its base. Again, there is little confusing this art work with a tame non-alcoholic soda can. The color of the wild root is that of a dark beer with just a hint of foam. The nose is definitely root beer all the way. The palate is also very root beer like with just the right amount of carbonation. If I didn’t know better I could swear this tastes just like my favorite straight root beer. The finish is fizzy and smooth and sweet and very, very root beer like. I like it. I can certainly see the potential for some pretty crazy mixed drinks here. Wild Root also sells for around $10.00-$11.00 per six pack.

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By George Brozowski

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