JARED’S NOTE: One of my favorite craft beer finds isn’t beer at all. The B. Nektar Meadery from produces a first-rate range of meads and ciders from its home in Ferndale, Mich., just outside of Detroit. The Wife and I happen to love their work and Al Dente is devoting this week to reviewing the meadery’s six year-round offerings.
Ginger has emerged rather recently as a beer flavor in the craft beer/cider world. Left Hand, New Belgium, Shiner, Nine Pin, and Angry Orchard each spike their beverages with the root, adding that familiar sharp spice to the libation.
I happen to like ginger as a cooking ingredient, sushi garnish and beverage flavor. While not always my first choice, you really cannot go wrong with ginger ale. And, perhaps this is a sign of age, I enjoy those little ginger candies you find at health food stores.
If B. Nektar made seasonal beverages, Slice of Life would be its summer varietal. Dry, tart and light, this is precisely the type of drink you want on a hot day. Note that I said light. Ciders like Woodchuck and Angry Orchard get the construction of their drinks all wrong. They are way too heavy to drink over and over during the same session. Bloat isn’t fun and neither is filling your stomach too early.
Slice of Life follows B. Nektar’s blueprint for ciders. Lightweight, bold flavor, well-balanced, and enjoyable enough where I would drink one of them during the winter.
B. Nektar Meadery Slice of Life
Container: 500mL bottle
Price: $5.49 Point of Purchase: The Party Source, Syracuse, N.Y.
To The Eye: Clear and straw colored. Fizzier than the rest of the ciders, but not much of a head stays on this one. Very champagne-like in that regard.
To The Nose: Strong notes of ginger and apple. Faint lemon smell.
To The Palate: Very balanced in terms of flavors. Ginger gets you right up front while lemon lays low and reminds you that it’s part of the picture.
Aftertaste: Very dry, as you might expect for something that includes ginger.
The Wife Factor: Not her favorite, but she will drink it.
Boozy Factor: It’s there.
On a Scale of 1 to 10, with 10 as highest: 8