Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Is Ginger Beer Really Different From Ginger Ale?

By David Marcheschi

First brewed during the colonial period, Ginger Beer and Ginger Ale are beverages that have been part of history. Since it was conceptualized in the year 1700, both beverages have proven their staying power in the market. During that period, they were considered "Small Beers", because in spite of having natural alcohol content from the fermentation process, the 2-10% alcohol content they had was much smaller as compared to the amount of alcohol in beer or other liquors from that time period.

Nowadays, you can only find Ginger Beer and Ginger Ale brands that have alcohol content in other countries. In America, all brands available no longer have any alcohol content to it, since they are now being marketed as a type of soda.

In alternative medicine, ginger root has been known to ease nausea and sore throats. This is the reason why many take Ginger Root and Ginger Beer of Ginger Ale to help treat and ease the discomfort that they feel whenever they have these health conditions. Another use of Ginger Beers and Ginger Ales are as mixers to form different alcoholic cocktail drinks. The popular cocktail Dark N' Stormy drink is made by mixing Ginger Beer with Gosling's Black Seal Rum and it is also known as "Bermuda's National Drink". Ginger Beer can also be mixed with vodka to make the refreshing cocktail drink Moscow Mule.

Now, What Is The Difference?

Despite all of these similarities, ginger ale and ginger beer are very different sodas. The main difference between Ginger Beer and Ginger Ale is in the amount of ginger each type of beverage contains. The amount of ginger root used to make Ginger Beer is much higher than that used to make Ginger Ale, and as a result, there is much more of a spicy ginger flavor to Ginger Beer.

Besides the ginger content, other factors that mark the difference between Ginger Beer and Ginger Ale are the levels of its sweetener, carbonation and flavoring content. Ginger Ale is sweeter since it has more sweeteners in it and it also appears less cloudy than Ginger Beer since it has a higher carbonation level. Also, the amount of fruit juice flavorings in these beverages differ. Each soda uses different amounts of lemon, lime or even pineapple.

Besides what has been stated, there is actually no difference in the process of making these two drinks. Since they are now been branded as sodas, most Ginger Beers and Ginger Ales are produced by adding carbonated water and syrups together just like the many other large scale sodas. However, there are still a few independent companies that stays true in making Ginger Beers and Ginger Ales using the old fashioned method of making it in small batches. These smaller companies avoid the usual high fructose syrup and the artificial flavors and colorings that can usually be found in soft drinks.

Ginger Beers and Ginger Ales are two of the most versatile kind of beverages. There are a lot of brands available that have created different flavors and recipes of Ginger Beers and Ginger Ales that will surely suit each and every palate. Give each brand a try and enjoy what makes each beverage different and unique in taste.

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