Let me first state that I am a big fan of ginger. Its unique citrus character is the foundation for many of my favorite Asian-themed dishes I cook at home.   But would I want to drink it? As hypothetical questions go, I would be wary of that one as it sounds more like a dare. But now, a new ginger beer is in our market and to enjoy it isn’t much of a challenge.   A few years ago, there was a rise in what I call “old time” sodas; sarsaparilla, birch beer and ginger beer. That experience was nearly enough to put me off for keeps. These beverages were based on that old time western theme, because when I think of the old west, naturally my mind defers to their understanding of refreshing soft drinks.   The problem for me is that ginger beer has a great opening, but then kind of goes off the rails. The start is a big citrusy explosion, right on schedule. However, on that mid-palate, it gets very spicy and peppery. It's a big piquant bite that only makes me purse my lips and shake my head. It isn’t just spicy, it becomes almost hot. It's something I just can't get my head around. That was it. I was done with ginger beers. Or so I thought.... Crabbie's Original Alcoholic Ginger Beer has just arrived Scotland and I have to say it's really surprising. So surprising that it made me change my mind about ginger beer. Wondering where the alcohol comes from? It is created by the use of a live culture which then produces carbon dioxide, just like other beers.   Sure it is nice that it is a “hard” ginger beer, but how does it taste? The flavor at the onset isn’t a big surprise. Naturally, there is a big citrus bump up front, with a hard candy/lemon drop intensity. It's sweet, but not sugary, and it still manages to remain dry with this great creamy mouth feel. The kicker is the fact it is balanced and much more soft and friendly on the finish. It becomes slightly spicier as it warms up, but is still is very approachable to most palates.   For anyone going to a B.Y.O.B. establishment, the versatility of this beer makes it an easy choice, even if you're going in a couple of different directions. For sushi, Crabbie's is a classic fit with the pickled ginger and the bright flavors of fresh seafood. The acidity helps cut the heavy quality of curry in Thai food, and it's a great pairing with most kinds of stir-fry.   With the weather getting warmer and temperatures rising, Crabbie's is certainly a crisp and refreshing way to relax and start your night. How you choose to spice up the rest of your evening is entirely up to you.