Saturday, May 4, 2013

Left Hand Good Juju review

Left Hand Good JujuGrowing up as a child, I was a fan of Ginger Ale and liked the different taste that ginger gave a beverage. Now that I'm a lot older and my taste buds have matured a bit, I found myself anxious about trying a ginger beer. I've had ginger cider before and a Ginger honey beer in the past and liked them. So when Left Hand Brewing Company of Longmont, Colorado offered to send me a couple of free samples of their Left Hand Good Juju - I said yes!

Good Juju has been around for 19 years, although up until 2010, it was known as Left Hand Juju Ginger. In 2010, most all of the Left Hand beers got a make-over and this was one of them. Not in recipe, but in the label design and name. During the brewing process, Left Hand adds 20 kilograms of ginger per 60 bbl batch. And after they squeeze out all the ginger they can, they put all of the ginger pulp into a muslin cloth bag and put it into the brew.

Left Hand Good Juju has a Pale Ale base and a lot of organic ginger added in. It belongs under the Herb / Spice Ale category. It weighs in at 4.5% ABV, so it's designed to be sessionable. And it's modestly bittered at 20 IBU with Centennial, US Golding and Sterling hops. It's designed as a beer perfect for Spring and getting out of the Winter blues.

Appearance: Good Juju poured a bright golden color with great clarity. There was a bright white 1-2 finger head that rose in the glass that faded within a minute or so. Swirling the beer left very little lacing and what was there quickly slid back down and did not cling to the glass. The beer appeared adequately carbonated. I love the brightness of this beer - wonderful color.

Aroma: No doubt about it - you can smell the ginger in this beer from a long way away. Not granted, it didn't smell anything like a ginger ale (soft drink) as there were some malts and hops mixed in with the aroma. There was no mistaking that this beer was spiced with ginger however. The malts gave off a subtle sweetness. The hops gave this an earthy tone. But it was the ginger that took center stage in this aroma. Powerful, curious and tempting.

Good Juju close-upTaste: I make a rule about spiced beers to give the beer a thorough tasting before judging how the spices blend with the beer. The firsts taste was surprising, awakening and made me sit back and want to study this beer further. Ginger in this beer does give some reminder of a ginger ale, only there was a malt background and a noticeable bitterness throughout the taste. The beer tasted clean and finished on the dry side, yet made my mouth water a bit afterwards. I chose to drink this beer on the cold side as I had just finished up mowing the yard on a sunny 60 degree day and was in need of some liquid refreshment. I must say that it tasted good on the cold side and became even more flavorful as it warmed up.

I expected to see the hops make a statement in this beer and they did. The hops added an additional bitterness which countered the sweeter malts nicely. The ginger added a kick on the front and back end. It's more notable in a beer than it is in a soft drink for sure. I liked how Left Hand made a point to accentuate the ginger here.

Overall: It took a good 3 to 4 sips to get totally accustomed to this beer, but once I did, it made for an enjoyable beer to relax with after doing some yard work. Granted, ginger beers aren't on my top 10 list, but it was well made and the taste did make a me sit up and take note. Will you like it? Depends on your experience with ginger. Those new to the spice may take some getting use to the taste. I ended up finishing this beer without any difficulty.

Left Hand also left word that they intend to create an Imperial Good Juju called "Great Juju" later in 2013. It will be Step 3 in their Ambidextrous Ale series. Get ready to be spiced!

Disclosure: This beer was offered to me as a free sample from Left Hand Brewing Company in exchange for a the promise to give this a review on my blog. I was not paid to write this review.

Related articles:
- Left Hand Brewing continues tremendous growth spurt. (2013)
- Left Hand Twin Sisters Double IPA review. (2013)
- - Left Hand Fade to Black Volume 4 review. (2012)

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