Ale 8-1 is a local ginger ale out of Kentucky with a clever gimmick name and tagline (Ale 8-1 = “A Late One”). I spent a few weeks in Kentucky during one high school summer, years ago. I was introduced to Ale 8-1 enthusiastically by the locals.
Ale 8-1 is a straight-up ginger ale that any soda fan should easily enjoy. It’s a little less sweet than the big brand ginger ale offerings. Solid ginger flavor. That said, it doesn’t attack with a harsh, throat-burning ginger. (Like Pepsi’s recent throwback flavor). Ale 8-1 has lots of bubbles, as one should expect from a good ginger ale.
As a soda loving high schooler, I packed a few cans and bottles in my bag before I left Kentucky’s Ale 8-1 distribution zone. I drank them over the year, trying to save it for special occasions. I drank my last one before Christmas, and assumed it was probably my last “Late One.”
Fast forward ten years and I am living in NYC. I play on a bocce ball league in a quasi-hipster bar in Brooklyn (Floyd). Why do I call Floyd “quasi-hipster?” “Hipster” because Floyd proudly served beers like Pabst Blue Ribbon that Brooklynites ironically drank by the bucket. I say “Quasi,” because I would like to think I would never have intentionally hung out in a true hipster bar. I was not a hipster. Although no hipster has ever, ever, ever admitted to being one. So any protest I mount against such an allegation will fall flat.
Anyway, Floyd also served Ale 8-1. Only place I have ever seen it outside of Kentucky. Turns out the bar’s owner was from The Bluegrass State. Maybe he had a genuine affection for the stuff. Maybe Floyd served Ale 8-1 ironically to complement its working-man-style, overpriced, “cheap beer” buckets. But I was drinking Ale 8-1 before it was cool. Really, I was. I am not a hipster.