And where-o-where did you find ginger beer? Stewart's hasn't made any for years. And everything I've been able to find has been over-priced, stale ginger-ALE.
ginger beer (the kind Steward's used to make) is a strong tasting soft-drink that i like quite well - but yes, it's hard to find. THIS stuff (what we had for Easter) is made by a local brewery that focuses mainly on various forms of mead. It's about 8% alcohol, and lightly sparkling - so it's more like a very spicy pale yellow, slightly murky (they leave in some of the dregs - nice touch) wine. I'd offer to get you some - but for reasons beyond my ken, it's illegal to ship alcoholic beverages in or out of Massachusetts unless you have a distributor's licence.
However, it's not hard to make. All you need is some form of beer yeast, sugar, water, a carboy with an airlock, and a little patience and practice. You also need to be CAREFUL. Ginger and yeast have a major love affair, and once you cap the stuff (in STRONG bottles) you can only leave it out of the fridge for a few days - maybe a week - for the carbonation to develop. Then it has to be refrigerated or the ginger and yeast will keep reproducing CO2 until you get an amazingly messy explotion.You can use plastic pop bottles to avoid this - but I just don't like to use plastic if i can get away with not. Here is one set of instructions
- read the comments too - as they have good tips in them.
- use brewer's yeast form a brewing supply house, not bakers yeast.
- use FRESH ginger (if it seems messy - make a strong tea of it before adding it to the brew rather than adding the ginger root directly )
- use real lemon or lime - and some of the zest - not the white part of the peel as it can get quite bitter. Try to get organic (unsprayed) fruits - at least when you are using the zest.
- If you want to add dry fruit - use golden raisins and again, try for organic. the point here is just to avoid getting chemical pesticides in your brew. Not only is it bad for you - it's bad for the brewing process and you get a cleaner result if you can leave those chemicals out. The reason for the golden raisins here is simply color. In a light yellow brew, it keeps the color nicely pale. You don't need many - I use maybe 10 in a one gallon carboy. They add a nice subtle flavor and they have a wild yeast on them that adds a pleasant quality to the end product.
BTW - if you want the soft-drink - just stop the brewing process before you get (much) alcohol, and leave out the raisins. BUT - since there will be more active yeast in this than in the alcoholic version - don't leave it out capped longer than over night - then keep it in the fridge and open it over the sink. This stuff can FIZZ!
Easy peasy - HONEST!