Glacier Ginger Brew, Whitefish

Story and photography by Lido Vizzutti
Autumn is a time of transition. We exchange the spoils of summer for cooler days, marked by the red, yellow and gold of the changing leaves and the quieting of summer’s adventurous spirit.

It is the time of harvest. Iconic flavors of fall awaken our palates as we want for the richness of apples, mushrooms, pears and squash. And this is a beautiful time for ginger – a bridging spiciness that can cool on the hot days of summer and burn within the cold days of winter.

Glacier Ginger Brew’s non-alcoholic ginger beer is a brilliant beverage. It balances freshness, sweetness and subtleness with a spice, heat and lemony effervescence. A simple brew made with peeled and juiced raw ginger root, fresh-squeezed lemons and a light simple syrup infused with vanilla, the flavor complexity is perpetual.

“Everything is fresh,” said Lesley Thompson, co-owner with business partner Jen Cronin. “It’s not pasteurized, heated or processed in any way.”

The flavor profile is exotic and the spice builds long after it is swallowed. Both Cronin and Thompson said they have had numerous patrons try a taste, think nothing of it and walk away, only to come back moments later – after the full body of the spice revealed itself – and purchase a growler or two.

Careful, she kicks!

Careful, she kicks!

The taste “ends in your throat,” said Cronin. “And it stays in your throat for a while.”

“It also builds on itself somehow,” added Thompson. “The more sips you take. It leaves a great taste sensation in your mouth.”

“And ginger is insanely good for you,” said Cronin.

Ginger is known for its anti-inflammatory effects and its aiding in immunity, circulation and digestion. Ginger also has more vitamin C than citrus and notably treats many forms of nausea. Cronin and Thompson said that pregnant women have used their drink to quell morning sickness and chemotherapy patients to treat nausea.

Not only is ginger beer superb on its own, it is an excellent cocktail mixer – as proven by the growing popularity of the Moscow mule over the past few years.

Ginger beer originated as a stand-alone beverage in the mid 1700s England where fermenting ginger, sugar and water and adding ginger-lemon extract created a sweet and spicy drink with alcohol by volume of up to 11 percent. Non-alcoholic ginger beer, like Glacier Ginger Brew’s, isn’t fermented but kegged immediately and carbonated.

Along with the original, Glacier Ginger Brew offers assorted flavors including blackberry and strawberry rhubarb. For another culinary challenge, try experimenting using ginger beer in soups or build an exciting marinade.

Recipes

Moscow Mule: For its delicious simplicity, you can’t go wrong with the traditional Moscow Mule. Fill a copper cup with ice, add your 1 ounce (or 2) of vodka, a twist of lime and top off with Glacier Ginger Beer.

The Montana Toddy: For a warming cocktail perfect for autumn, try a Montana Toddy. Heat 4 ounces of Glacier Ginger Brew in a saucepan and pour over 1.5 ounces (or 2) of whiskey. No need to add honey to this toddy due to the sweetness of the beer, but a squirt of lemon juice adds a nice complexity.

Where to get it

You can find Glacier Ginger Brew inside the Stumptown Marketplace at 12 Spokane Ave. in Whitefish. Numerous restaurants, bars and taprooms offer the ginger beer on tap or in bottles, and many retail stores from Whitefish to Missoula sell its products. For a full list or to ask questions about availability, visit the company’s Facebook page or call (406) 624-9789.