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What is the Difference Between Ginger Ale and Ginger Beer?

Posted by Beverages Direct Staff on

There are two amazing types of ginger sodas in this world, ginger ale and ginger beer. While at first glance they may seem the same beverage, ginger flavored soft drinks, they are actually two distinct beverages each with a unique heritage that have resulted in similar but different ancillary uses.

Ginger ale actually comes in two types, golden ginger ale, which is very uncommon, and dry ginger ale, like Vernor’s Ginger Soda or Canada Dry, which is what most people think of and expect when they want a ginger ale. Dry ginger ale has a light color and a mild ginger flavor, but it doesn’t mean you can’t find hot varieties of it like, Blenheim Ginger Ale HOT. Ginger ale was one of the first sodas. It was invented in America by Dr. Thomas Cantrell in the mid 1800’s. It was considered the most popular soft drink in the US between 1860 and 1930. Its popularity soared during prohibition when it was used as a mixer to take the edge off of homebrews. It continues to be a popular mixer today, with some people claiming it can mix with anything. Ginger ale is also used a home remedy for nausea and motion sickness. The combination of mixing ability and motion sickness reduction has led to ginger ale being a standard soft drink served on North American airlines while other soda flavors like root beer are very uncommon to find while flying.

Ginger beer on the other hand is a British concoction from the mid 1700’s. While dry ginger ale is light and mild, ginger beer is often cloudy and always spicy. Another large difference is that while ginger ale was originally made as a soft drink, ginger beer was originally brewed like traditional beer and could have had an alcohol content of up to 11%, though now the soda version is vastly more popular. While ginger ale is popular mainly in North America, ginger beer is enjoyed throughout the former British Empire. But, that doesn’t mean America does not produce quality ginger beers. Ginger beer is also considered a popular mixer.

So there you have it, separated by centuries, an ocean, and several levels of mouth burn are ginger ale and ginger beer. Luckily, you can try premium versions of both with an Ultimate Ginger Soda Sampler. By comparing them side by side you will definitely taste (and feel) the differences yourself as well as find yourself a new favorite drink.


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