The days are getting longer and brighter… A little juju voodoo is right around the corner! Each year, as the spring snow melts and we set our clocks an hour later, we look forward to those warm summer evenings of sipping Good Juju on the Tasting Room patio.
But Good Juju is no passing trend… Our pale ale brewed with ginger has been in production almost as long as there’s been a brewery to make it! Originally called Juju Ginger, the beer was one of Left Hand’s original 5 beers, first hitting the market in 1994. Founders Eric & Dick sought a lighter spring offering, but wanted to do something different than the very popular fruit wheat style at the time – raspberry wheats in particular, being all the rage. So a pale ale brewed with fresh ginger came to be. Where did the name come from you ask? The dictionary – yes, the dream of the 90s is very much alive in this beer. Eric & Dick were searching for a word that matched ginger and when flipping through the J’s, stumbled upon juju – a term used to describe the religion and mystical objects of the West Indies. Juju was also used as similar inspiration for the label, incorporating red, yellow & green and a lion for a Rastafarian feel.
Back then when it came time to submit a new beer, we sent all the beer’s new specs to the ATF: Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (nowadays, we work with the TTB). A part of the process is describing how we would promote Juju Ginger: as a beer brewed to celebrate the vernal equinox. Weeks later, Eric received a letter (again, #90sProblems) from the government asking what the vernal equinox was? Oh boy…
Flash forward to the present, 19 years later and our ginger beer is still kicking. In 2010, it got a new name – Good Juju and the label is more in touch with its American cousin, rocking a voodoo witch doctor / New Orleans theme these days. The light ale is brewed with fresh organic ginger straight from Peru. Beginning this year, we don’t just add the ginger to the brew – we juice a whole whopping 20kg of ginger per 60 bbl batch using an industrial juicer. (It should be noted, that this is also the greatest smelling day in the brewhouse.)
Instead of discarding the rinds after we’ve added in the juice, the brewers throw all the leftover pulp into muslin cloth bags and throw that into the brew too. Giant ginger tea bags if you will.
The end result is fantastic light and refreshing ale with a spicy aroma of sliced ginger & malty graham cracker and finishes with spicy herbal hop notes and a dry ginger flavor. Good Juju is a perfect pairing with Asian dishes like stir fry or sushi, shellfish or white fish, and even at dessert with ginger snaps or coconut ice cream.
Lastly, 2013 brings a special beer… Step 3 in our Ambidextrous Ale series is actually and Imperial Good Juju – GREAT JUJU! So if you are a ginger lover and are ready to get your senses rocked, make sure to get a glass of the limited beer with its incredibly pungent aroma and spicy ginger heat!
Written by Emily Armstrong | Mar 15, 2013
Emily has been lucky to be on the craft beer track from the get go, starting at Left Hand at the ripe age of 21 as a marketing intern. In the years following, she’s been to over 50 beer festivals, learned the ins & outs of social media, and even mastered how to back up Left Hand’s draft trailer. These days, Emily spends her time promoting Left Hand’s latest and greatest, seeking out photo ops throughout the brewery and spreading news of good beer!