Phillips Brewery has never been afraid to experiment or bring out new products and they are continuing this with a number of new releases. They have a new Hop Box mixer pack out featuring four different hop heavy beers, a new Belgian IPA, Hoperation, that will be replacing Surly Blonde Belgian Triple, as well as a returning beer, Double Dragon Imperial Red Ale. For those of you who aren't hopheads they've also released a ginger beer that I recently sat down to enjoy.
I'm not exactly sure what the difference is between Phillips Ginger Beer and their old Gentleman Jim's Real Ginger Ale. Phillips is notorious for retooling recipes, renaming beers, and generally keeping Victoria's beer drinkers unsure whether their beer is the same as it used to be, or whether its now known as something else. This is not all bad, it has created some of the most enjoyable beer debates that have a tendency of coming up when Island beer drinkers come together. Is Skookum really the same recipe as Black Toque? What was the difference between the Draught Dodger and Slipstream and is it true they changed the recipe long before they changed the name? What beer is better, the old Phillips IPA or Hop Circle, and what is really the difference? The one that has been biting at me lately is the outgoing Surly Blonde Belgian Triple and the suspiciously similar Hoperation Tripel Cross Belgian IPA. Is it the same thing but with hops chucked in to cash in on the current IPA craze? Check out my next post when I'll look at both of these beers.
Back on topic, in the glass Phillips Ginger Beer is a deep gold with a light ginger aroma with notes of citrus. It has a spicy ginger taste that is strong but not overpowering. Its spiciness reminded me of having a ginger beer from the corner store when I was a kid, except this one is 5% abv. It has a rich and silky mouthfeel that is one of the most appealing aspects of this beer. It has a fairly long but mild ginger finish and is quite refreshing, however this is not a beer that would have me asking for a second. In fact, by the end of the glass I was over the novelty of its flavour and it became somewhat difficult to finish. For something a bit different this beer was pretty good, but I can't give it that high a recommendation just because I don't think it's something I would choose to go back to again.