GOOD DIRT: Anthony Rehbein with some of his raw ginger which derives its highly regarded flavour from the rich, red volcanic soil of the Bundaberg region.

GOOD DIRT: Anthony Rehbein with some of his raw ginger which derives its highly regarded flavour from the rich, red volcanic soil of the Bundaberg region.

From soils to schooners

Ginger gives extra kick to beer


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Anthony Rehbein's ginger, grown in rich, red, volcanic soil, gives a locally brewed beer an extra punch.

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GINJA Ninja is a beer whose brewing is as clever as its name.

The official product description reads: "A unique all grain 'proper' ginger beer. Brewed with pale and RedX malt, three additions of fresh, locally grown ground ginger from Bunda Ginga and back sweetened to produce an amazing, aromatic, rich, refreshing full bodied signature ginger beer."

It's the creation of The Bargara Brewing Co, a microbrewery established in the Queensland horticulture hub and sugarcane region of Bundaberg.

Ginja Ninja's secret weapon, the thing that gives it a kick (pun intended), is Anthony Rehbein’s locally grown ginger.

Along with wife Kate, Mr Rehbein manages Bunda Ginga and Hummock Produce, growing watermelons, ginger, pumpkins, potatoes and a small amount of sugarcane.

The business not only produces raw ginger for the food sector but processed products such as ground and pickled ginger, plus crystallised "ginger bites".

As with most savvy operators these days, all products can be purchased online through the company's website.

In fitting with the harmony of the product, the ginger is grown "a hop, step and a jump" from Bargara itself.

The temperate climate, reliable water supply and rich volcanic soil provide the ideal mix for growing ginger.

The beer utilises a Queensland ginger variety that has high oil content.

"What's special about it is the flavour profile it holds even after it's dehydrated," Mr Rehbein said.

The raw product is processed within 36 hours of being harvested by hand.

As far as he's aware, Bunda Ginger is producing the only Australian-grown dried ginger on a commercial scale.

The founder of The Bargara Brewing Company, Jack Milbank, was Mr Rehbein’s agronomist, which led to many discussions about ginger.

"We knew we had a quality product which we could then turn into another quality product," he said.

Mr Rehbein said after tasting an initial batch of his dehydrated ginger compared to an off-the-shelf imported variety, it was clear the local product was superior.

"It was then we knew we had a winner," he said. "It (Australian ginger) is a bit like air conditioning- once you've experienced it you never go back."

Mr Rehbein said the taste is one thing but even the aromatic qualities of fresh ginger indicate a superior product.

The business began from a trial plot of ginger in the early 2000s.

From there the family developed the Bunda Ginger brand and has continued to turn the heads of foodies.

Earlier this month, Bunda Ginger was awarded a gold medal in the prestigious Delicious Produce Awards for its ground ginger product.

"That has given us some credibility and really cemented for us that we are on the right track," Mr Rehbein said.

Ginja Ninja has continued to gather fans since the brewery opened two years ago.

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