When you think of ginger ale you probably think of a pretty watered down soda used to soothe a stomachache or mix with drinks. But, what comes to mind when you think of ginger beer?

The differences between the two have been widely discussed and while they share plenty of similarities, there are a few things that differentiate the two:

  • Ginger beer is fermented while ginger ale is carbonated water flavored with ginger.
  • Ginger beer has a stronger taste but isn't as carbonated.
  • Ginger ale is non-alcoholic while some ginger beers still offer an alcohol content of 0.5%

Ginger Beer

It's rumored that ginger beer first made its appearance in England back in the 1800s where the alcohol content was much higher, tallying in at 11%. As reported by Huffington Post, ginger beer used to include "ginger, sugar, water, lemon juice and a bacteria called 'ginger beer plant'" back in the day. Though, the recipe changed throughout the years with the alcohol content dipping from 11% to 0.5% -- sometimes they're non-alcoholic entirely.

Some ginger beer will have a stronger taste than ginger ale given that some companies tweak the ginger levels to be significantly higher. It can also appear a bit cloudy whereas ginger ale comes out with a clear yellow color.

Though it's more common to find traces of alcohol in ginger beer, there are non-alcoholic brands of it as well such as Rocky's, Stoney, and Kure's. Some of the more alcoholic brands are Q Ginger Beer, Fever Tree Ginger Beer, Crabbie's Original Alcoholic Ginger Beer, and several others.

Ginger Ale

Ginger ale is typically non-alcoholic and is often used as a remedy for nausea. The roots are said to be from Ireland, but it really made its stride in Canada back in the 1900s. Huffington Post reported: "Ginger ale was purported to be first invented in 1851 in Ireland, but modern-style ginger ale came about many years later in 1907 when Canadian John McLaughlin invented it and it eventually became Canada Dry."

Ginger ale is lighter in color, often more carbonated than ginger beer, and will likely have a weaker taste. Ginger ale might also contain small amounts of alcohol, but the chances aren't very likely.

There are plenty of non-alcoholic ginger ale brands to choose from such as Canada Dry, Canfield's, Hansen Natural, and Schweppes.

The Bottom Line?

Ginger beer and ginger ale really don't have that big of a difference between the two of them. Aside from one being a little more cloudy than the other, it all really boils down to the kind of taste you're looking for. If you want something a little on the sweeter side, ginger ale is your best bet. If you're looking for more ginger in your beverage, ginger beer is the way to go.

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