I love Whole Foods. I love both the food and the beer I can pick up there. They don’t have a terrible different selection than Bevmo or Total Wine, but they do have a few nuggets here and there. A few weeks back I picked up two that I haven’t had before. Both were Old Tom’s. One was a Ginger Ale and the other was a Chocolate Ale.
Old Tom Ginger Ale
Ginger is one of those flavors that can either be horribly harsh or wonderfully enjoyable. Ginger chew candies are more on the pungent side of things, but a nice clean slightly tangy ginger ale can hit all the right notes. I wasn’t sure of Old Toms Ginger Ale. It was certainly different than typical ginger beer. Mostly because the ginger is some sort of added flavor to an Original Old Tom recipe. I did enjoy trying this out purely for the sake that it was a style I hadn’t had in a really long time. But, how was it at the end of the bottle?
Ginger is a particularly tough flavor to sell. Old Tom has certainly managed to harness the flavor and let it come through, despite fermentations best efforts to rid itself of it. Definitely gingery. It was more like an alcoholic Ginger Beer than a Ginger Ale. Thank God!
The Middle Ground:
I enjoyed the unique flavor and the craftsmanship of it. A quality product with natural ingredients.
It is hard to pair this beer with much food. While ginger has it’s place somewhere on the palate, you don’t really find yourself repeatedly subjecting yourself to ginger; I don’t think I could have more than one of these in a row.
3 of 6 for me. Try it. Enjoy it.
Wife recommends having one with asian cuisine. Specifically, she says Thai food.
Old Tom Chocolate Ale
A good chocolate ale is hard to compare with any other beer. But, I find there are two types of chocolate ales – ones that taste like chocolate flavored beer and ones that taste like a beer flavored chocolaty drink. Toms tastes like the former. A great ale with a chocolate element to it. That is what I like though. Slight carbonation, light mouthfeel. Malty and toasty. It was just what the doctor ordered
I like that however this particular ale was flavored, I could taste the beer first and chocolate second. It was an accent to the great ale rather than being completely defined by it. My wife says it would go great with a chocolate or raspberry dessert. She would be correct too.
The Middle Ground
Nothing of note. It wasn’t extraordinary but it was pretty darned good. I would definately buy again
The bottle is pretty small. Not that it matters much, really.
Again, a 3 of 6 for me. It was average. Personally I think Youngs Double Chocolate Stout(in a glass bottle – the can is much different) has a much more pleasant creaminess to it that I didn’t find in Old Toms. I also think Samuel Smiths Chocolate Ale and Maui Brewing Companies
Bak’Tun’ (no longer available)Ale are both much much better and more drinkable for this style of ale. Just my 2 cents though…
Extraneous Factors in this review
- David Bowie played the entire time I wrote this
- I drank the beers about 2 weeks apart from each other(ginger beer first)
- I am drinking a Sam Smith Winter Welcome Ale at the moment
Have a different opinion? Please comment!