Ginger Beer Ginger Ale Is It Different
Ginger beer, similar in taste to the best champagne, with sparkling effervescence. It added both exquisite flavor and spice if it’s Jamaican ginger being. The yeast used in brewing the beer gives the artisan the ability to make it unique.
Ginger Beer originated in England and was England’s favorite drink for over 150 years, up through the mid-1800s, its ancestry in North America can be traced to around 1790 in Canada & the USA, which was shortly after its beginning in England. A significant portion of the American Ginger Beer was imported from England. The quality of the English Ginger Beer was so high that there was a massive demand for it even when there was locally brewed.
England was uniquely suited to export ginger beer due to its superior quality of manufacturing stoneware bottles. In 1835, England developed a unique glazing process called Improved Bristol Glaze. After filling, these bottles were corked and wired to maintain the pressure.
Ginger Beer uses yeast for fermentation and can be sweetened with honey, molasses, or cane sugar. The artist, at times, would add fresh whole ginger lemons or lemon juice.
After brewing, the Ginger Beer was poured into stone bottles, then corked to maintain the natural effervescence, produced locally in small quantities by taverns or families, blossoming after the Civil War, when it was produced commercially in more significant amounts, and transported to new markets.
The most popular region for ginger beer was Western New York State, especially Syracuse and Buffalo. Ginger Beer breweries flourished along the Erie Canal due to convenient transportation and the availability of raw materials for the stoneware and ginger beer. Ginger beer was brewed in smaller quantities in twenty other states.
Naturally, fermented Ginger Beer has an exquisite taste that the carbonation process can never achieve. This observation was made in England in 1899 and is still true today. Instead of using essence or extract, used in the carbonation process. In a way, it was similar to baked bread; the yeast is affected by its environs. Like the way mom’s bread recipe, just doesn’t taste the same when you make it in your home.
Ginger beer And Ginger Ale
Ginger Beer differs from ginger ale because it has higher gravity and a more significant portion of extractive vegetable matter. Ginger Beer was usually cloudy in appearance, and for this reason, it was typically bottled in stone bottles. On the other hand, Ginger ale was sparkling clear and often contained capsicum (extract from cayenne pepper), which increased the spice of the beverage.
Ginger Beer’s popularity in the USA hit its peak in 1920 when Prohibition abruptly terminated it. Over half of the states never had a chance to bottle Ginger Beer.
In England and Canada, the popularity peak occurred in 1935, fifteen years later. The USA had 300 Ginger Beer breweries; Canada had over 1000, and England had 3000.
Limitations in England, as a result of the Excise Act of 1855, required that nonexcisable beverages contain less than 2% alcohol, which led bottlers of Ginger Beer Bottles to dilute their brewed concentrates (ginger, licorice, hops, cloves, gentian, sugar, caramel, brewer’s yeast, & citric acid) with carbonated water creating Ginger Ale.
Facing strong competition from Coca-Cola, which was rapidly becoming America’s favorite soft drink. Today, Ginger Beer is only a memory in the taste buds of bottle historians. Aromatic Flavors of Root Beer, Spices, and Essential Oils That thirst-quenching, popular beverage named Root Beer, enjoyed by children and adults for the last two centuries, was principally made from a handful of major ingredients.
Do It At Home Recipe
- 4ounces freshly grated ginger
- 4 ounces lemon juice
- 6 ounces simple syrup
- ⅛ teaspoon commercial baker’s, brewer’s or Red Star Pasteur Champagne yeast
- 20 ounces of non-chlorinated water (filtered, distilled or spring)
- 1 to 4 grams of cream of tartar (not necessary, but traditional, to help the yeast and bacteria thrive).
- Take a 1.5-liter plastic bottle of spring water and empty it into a clean pitcher. Use some of it to make simple syrup by stirring 1/2 pound of sugar into 1 cup hot water until fully dissolved
- In a large measuring cup, mix all ingredients and stir well. Funnel back into the plastic bottle and cap tightly. Opening once or twice a day to avoid an explosion. The alternative put a balloon over the neck, then put a pinhole in the balloon. Cap after fermentation.
- Store in a warm, dark place for 24 to 48 hours. (I put mine inside a box, to contain it if it should blow.) The top of the bottle will expand and become tight. Check it and very slowly release the pressure if it’s looking groaningly tight. Some people ferment it with no top, or with the top on loosely, to allow gas to escape. I suppose if you wanted to get fancy you could spend $1.50 on a fermentation lock and stop worrying about it. If the temperature is quite warm, above 80F, a single day may be sufficient. The longer you let it ferment, the drier the final mix will be.
- After 48 hours, refrigerate it to stop the fermentation. Once chilled, you can strain out the pulp and dead yeast, which will have made a sediment on the bottom. Makes 1 liter and will keep up to a week in the refrigerator.