I was watching an episode of the world’s best soap opera Prisoner (Prisoner: Cell Block H) and one of the characters was drinking ginger beer. It’s an old show from the late 70s / early 80s based in Australia.
Anyway I’ve never heard of ginger beer before. I love ginger ale. The Wikipedia article says it’s non-alcoholic, so how does it compare to ginger ale? Do you think if one liked ginger ale, they probably would like ginger beer?
Yes, but the vast majority of ginger beers are not, in fact, made by the traditional method, but are soft drinks. I’ve never even heard of commercially available brewed ginger beer - I’ve only heard of people making it themselves. I’m sure it’s available somewhere, but it’s vanishingly rare. And while we’re on the topic, lemme tell you about the time I bought Japanese ginger beer, which - much to my disgust - turned out to be regular beer with a little ginger flavor. Yechh.
Proper traditionally brewed ginger beer seems to be making something of a comeback. Local company Fentimans is only one of the firms in the UK catering to a trend for more “grown up” soft drinks, and Crabbies is not the only brewer of an alcoholic ginger beer (which is delicious, by the way).
I love ginger beer. You can get it at places like Whole Foods if you have one near you. It is very strong tasting and can even burn a little if you get one of the extra strong varieties. If you don’t like ginger, you will probably hate it though.
I’m not sure comparing it to Ginger Ale is really that fair. Sure, it’s stronger and less sweet, but it gives the impression that people who like Ginger Ale ought to also like Ginger Beer. I’ve met quite a few people who, when I’ve told them it’s just like a stronger Ginger Ale, take a sip and hate it. Ginger Ale has a much milder flavor and I think they just don’t realize how strong of a flavor Ginger actually has.
Personally, I love Ginger Beer, but I’m also the type that will just eat plain Ginger. So, if you like Ginger, Ginger Beer is 10x better than Ginger Ale; otherwise, it could verywell be 10x worse.
My brother-in-law is a big fan of everything ginger so I’ve had the chance to sample several different ginger beers (the alcoholic variety). None of them have impressed me as either being a good beer or a good way to enjoy the flavor of ginger. I really wish he would take an interest in stouts instead.
I like ginger pretty much every way you can make it. Pickled ginger that comes with sushi, matchstick pickled ginger that comes with dim sum, matchstick/sliced ginger for stir fry/mongolian barbeque, ginger paste cooked into curries, crystallized ginger, ginger ale, etc. Some of these I’ll just pick up and eat raw as a snack(sushi ginger is my favorite).
Can’t stand ginger beer. Maybe I’ve only had bad ginger beer, but I’ve tried three or four brands I pick up at the local Indian grocery stores/delis and blegh. YMMV of course.
Greg Warwick, here, from Fentimans. We’re now producing Fentimans Ginger Beer on both sides of the Atlantic, in Newcastle and in Wilkes-Barre, PA. Since there are two websites, I’m providing this as a public service. The North American site is drinkfentimans.com and the UK site is fentimans.com. We don’t yet list retailers on our website, but our Ginger Beer is available at Cost Plus World Market in the US and also at specialty and gourmet foods stores and quality restaurants around the country. If you want to purchase on-line, you can find it at jollygrub.com or kegworks.com.
What makes Fentimans different from most other ginger beers is that it is both brewed and fermented with bruised ginger, creating an aroma and flavour unlike any other. It does have lots of ginger in it, so you’ll get a little burn at the back of the tongue and throat. It is much stronger than ginger ale. Does make a killer Dark & Stormy (rum) type drink or a mean Moscow Mule (vodka). Cheers!