Day: May 22, 2015

Regatta: Ginger Beer

History: Stan Rottell knows the beverage industry. He’s been involved in every facet, from accounting to product development. He was big in the development of Snapple Teas. He even was behind a flavor re-engineering of Barritt’s Ginger Beer that turned the island favorite brew into one made with natural ingredients. This is where things started. After five years of babysitting the Barritt’s brand, the company decided to go a different direction and handed over their business to Gosling’s and went back to cheaper ingredients. This wasn’t the path Rottell wanted for himself or the products he endorsed. So he then made his own ginger beer. As an avid sailor, he named it Regatta Ginger Beer. Regatta typically refers to sailboat races. To this day, it’s still a one-man operation in Westport, Connecticut. Regatta Ginger Beer actually sponsors a fair share of sailing races across the country. As for the ginger beer itself, Rottell says “It’s got a bite, but it’s certainly going to be easy to drink…. I was looking for something that wouldn’t overwhelm what it was mixed with, but could be enjoyed on its own.” He wanted a ginger beer that was bold, but also a little fruity. In order to achieve that, he imports ginger root from the Caribbean, Africa, and sometimes Australia that possess slightly fruitier notes than other ginger roots that are more spicy or earthy. Like many ginger beers, this one is also designed mostly to be paired with alcohol. Rottell estimates 90% of Regatta Ginger Beer goes into some type of cocktail. The company often partners with well-known spirits like Russian Standard Vodka or Mount Gay Rum. Regatta Ginger Beer is made with pure cane sugar and limited preservatives. “There’s no magic,” Rottell adds. It’s all in the ginger root. For now, Regatta solely produces Ginger Beer, but Rottell is open for flavor expansion. He pauses, collects his thoughts and says with focus, “I’m constantly looking for a better ginger ale.”

Where to get: Regatta Ginger Beer is sold in 26 states and is particularly popular on both coasts. You can buy it in cans directly from the company or in single glass bottles from Keg Works.

Nose: Classic strong ginger beer. Smells like ginger fire is coming.

Taste: Ginger; spiciness; sweet sugar. Regatta’s take on ginger beer won’t make you cough from the spiciness, but it’s still got a kick. Soft little bubbles flood the mouth before you get a tinge of sweetness followed immediately by classic ginger heat. This contains just the right amount of sweetness for a ginger beer. Enough for flavor, but not distracting from the heat or flavor of the ginger roots. The ginger flavor is nice and varied flowing back and forth between the fresh-peeled root and candied ginger. There’s also some fruity notes that are difficult to accurately nail down. Mild apple undertones seem most prominent in a supporting role along with some citrus. The combination of ginger flavor, mild heat, moderate sweetness, and crisp carbonation make this one of the more refreshing takes on ginger beer on the market today.

Finish: Mildly earthy ginger with notes of rock candy sugar. Not overpowering, something for a ginger beer that can be hard to attain. This finish begs for additional sips.

Rating: This is a ginger beer you may not be familiar with, but it’s one you should get to know immediately. Its beautiful sea green bottle, yet simple design may not scream “Buy me!” but sometimes the most unsuspecting things are the best. Take my wife’s Porsche for example. I would’ve never expected with our combined income we’d buy it… until she went back and used my credit card without telling me. She’s the best! Regatta has bottled up a delicious, fruity ginger flavor profile using both Caribbean and African ginger roots and paired them with a level of sweetness that doesn’t distract from that classic ginger heat, yet provides additional flavor and balance. It’s about a six on the ginger beer heat scale. Perhaps the highest compliment we can pay to this ginger beer is that’s it’s refreshing and deserves to be consumed entirely on its own. But we all know most ginger beers are made to be mixers. And I’m not afraid to write this: Regatta Ginger Beer is the best ginger beer I’ve had for Moscow Mules or Dark and Stormy’s. You would be doing yourself a disservice not to try this with alcohol. I’d be surprised if this didn’t immediately make a dent in your top five ginger beers. Pull out your credit card, unless my wife somehow has yours too, and add this Florida-brewed ginger juice to your life.