GinGa…or JinJa? This was a question I had after discovering Roundabout Brewery’s Ginga Wheat a couple years ago at the 2014 Brewer’s Ball. Admittedly, wheats are not my go-to preference. But this particular beer leaped off the page at me at first taste. Light, refreshing, notes of ginger and a light hint of lemon tartness, it quickly became a local offering I was happy to sip in solidarity while relaxing on the patio on a warm summer’s night or take to picnics and gatherings via growler throughout the warmest months of the year.
But, the pronunciation of Ginga threw me off. I said it as looked: Ginga…but was quickly corrected and told it was ‘jinja,’ an homage to one of its key ingredients. Months later, referencing Jinja Wheat in a conversation, I was corrected again and told it’s pronounced ‘ginga.’ Wondering why I hadn’t gone straight to the source to solve this Sherlock-esque mystery, I finally did just that and learned from Roundabout’s Steve and Dyana Sloan that it is, in fact, pronounced ‘ginga.’ Lord be praised.
Proper pronunciation not withstanding, facts are facts: Ginga Wheat is just damn good beer. And now that summer is officially upon us, it’s only fitting this local summertime classic finds its way into the Beer of the Month spotlight.
To help get you better acquainted via prose with Ginga Wheat, Dyana was willing to provide the lowdown found below. Consume with your eyes…then get to Roundabout STAT to consume with your mouth and enjoy this masterpiece for yourself.
Dyana, the mic is yours.
Ginga Wheat | Pale Wheat American Ale | 5% ABV
The most common comment we hear after someone tries Ginga Wheat: “I hate wheat beers, but this tastes really good!”
Where did the inspiration for Ginga Wheat come from?
When I moved back to New Zealand in 2003, I fell in love with a beer called Ginger Tom from a brewpub called Dux de Lux. It was a ginger lager. We researched ginger beer and found honey and lemon were also used. We tried these ingredients with lagers, but they didn’t have the mouthfeel we were shooting for…so we tried them with a wheat. We really liked that combo and Ginga Wheat was born. The Dux de Lux brewery closed after being severely damaged by two earthquakes five years ago. The Ginger Tom is now contract-brewed by Three Boys Brewing for DdL.
What characteristics should we know about Ginga Wheat?
The ginger, lemon, and honey really work together to create a refreshing, lively flavor perfect for Spring and Summer weather.
What particular flavor notes should people expect to discover in Ginga Wheat?
The astringency of the ginger is cut by the sweetness of the honey, which is subdued by the tartness of the lemon.
What foods pair well with Ginga Wheat?
If you like wasabi with your sushi/sashimi, then the Ginga will make a great drink choice. We always grab a round of Ginga and Pacific Ring IPA when we are heading out to our favorite Thai place, Pusadee’s Garden.
Can we find Ginga Wheat at any craft beer destinations in Pittsburgh or specifically in your taproom?
We rarely let this one out of the tasting room. You may find it at Piper’s Pub or Allegheny Wine Mixer on occasion, otherwise you’ll find it on tap in the tasting room. While everything rotates in and out of our tasting room menu, the Ginga stays on tap from March until September (baseball season).
Look for Roundabout to return to the Beer of the Month stage in the winter when Heini’s Good Cheer, their Old Ale that just won a Silver Medal at the World Beer Cup in May, is available for consumption and discussion!