Jeremy Sulzbacher overlooking a batch of his beer. During one Passover holiday, he longed to drink beer so much, that he developed a kosher for Passover beer to the delight of not only Antwerp's Jewish community but also to gluten allergic beer enthusiasts.
One of Belgium’s recent addition to the craft brewing craze is Antwerp’s Ginger Tipple, a gluten-free alcoholic ginger beer. Brewed without grains, using organic and exotic sugars, Ginger Tipple is a blond triple style beer with a refreshing zing of ginger overlaid with the aroma and flavour of the cascade hops.
The brewer, Jeremy Sulzbacher, is a religious Jew who enjoys drinking beer. During the spring Passover festival, Jews do not eat or drink anything with fermented grains, including beer, for eight days. To solve the problem he experimented in his basement and developed a ginger based beer style drink.
“When I look back, the early versions were a long way from being called a beer, but the technique we developed for handling the ginger had potential.” The final result is a 9% alcohol, dry and refreshing drink which is lightly effervescent after the second fermentation in the bottle. Great by itself or as a mixer for cocktails.
A different problem they faced was that legally the drink is not a beer, as it does not contain any grains. In the UK and US ginger beer and ginger ale, even alcoholic versions have no problem using the words ‘beer’ and ‘ale’ in their names, but in most continental countries that is prohibited. “We thought long and hard about the name,” explains Sulzbacher, “we decided on Ginger Tipple, as a tipple is an alcoholic drink, and it looks a lot like a triple!”
Today, Ginger Tipple is sold in stores and bars around Flanders and southern Holland, and online at Belgibeer. Future products include a ginger kriek, an amber ginger ale, a lower alcohol sweet version and strong organic ginger wine aged with oak.