Ginger beer vs ginger ale, know the difference

Introduction

Ginger (Zingiber officinale Rosc.; Family: Zingiberaceae) is an herb. It is widely grown in tropical and subtropical regions. Ginger root (rhizomes) is commonly called ‘Ale’ or ‘Adrak’, is used as a spice and medicine for over 200 years. Dried ginger powder is especially used as a flavoring in bakeries such as gingerbread, cookies, as well as various drinks like ginger ale and ginger beer (1). Ginger is also used as a spice added to hot coffee, tea, and soup. The following articles give a detailed description of and comparison of ginger beer vs ginger ale.

Ginger root contains a high amount of general and bioactive compounds such as magnesium, manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, copper, and vitamin B6, vitamin C. It also contains bioactive compounds such as flavonoids, phenolic compounds mainly “gingerol” which is responsible for the rich unique fragrance of the root (2)

Ginger root has long been used as herbal medicine to treat various symptoms including vomiting, pain, cold symptoms, arthritis, cramps, sprains, sore throats, rheumatism, muscular aches, pains, vomiting, constipation, indigestion, hypertension, dementia, fever, and infectious diseases (3).

What Is Ginger Beer?

Ginger beer is a beverage, made up of lemon juice, sugar, ginger, water that’s fermented with yeast as well as bacteria (Lactobacillus, Leuconostoc, Bacillus, Staphylococcus, Candida, and Saccharomyces). Real ginger beer is made from fresh root ginger, which gives its spicy and aromatic flavor. Two types of ginger beer are available in the market alcoholic and nonalcoholic beer. Earlier, ginger beer was alcoholic with the content being at most 11 % but today’s ginger beer alcohol content is no higher than 0.5% which means it meets the FDA’s requirements for a non-alcoholic beverage. 

It is a less toxic, very popular soft drink in various countries such as America, Canada, Britain, South Africa, and Ireland. Ginger beer is consumed in large quantities, especially during the festive Christmas period. Ginger beer spicy zing can be enjoyed alone as a soft drink or as a mixer with the Dark ‘n’ Stormy (made with rum and ginger beer) and the Moscow mule (made with vodka and ginger beer). Some famous ginger beer brands are Old Jamaica, Fentimans, Fever-Tree, Cock ‘n’ Bull, Bundaberg, and Reed’s however, you can also make this amazing beverage at home. Ginger beer is found in convenience stores, supermarkets/hypermarkets, specialist stores, and others (4).

Health benefits of ginger beer

1. Presence of minerals

Ginger beer contains a high amount of minerals such as potassium, followed by magnesium and sodium. This high proportion of potassium: sodium in beer stimulates ionic pump activity and balance of these minerals in the body (5)

2. Helps to decrease Nausea and Vomiting

Intake of nonalcoholic ginger beer may provide relief from nausea, vomiting, and dizziness in early pregnancy without any adverse effect for the mother or her future baby. It also helps to treat vomiting and nausea after chemotherapy and surgery, and motion sickness during traveling (6).

3. May improve cold sensitivity

Ginger beer contains a high amount of gingerols which may increase the temperature in the skin surface thus ginger beer may help to improve cold sensitivity in people suffering from abnormally cold sensation on specific parts of the body (7)

4. Good to reduce anger

If you are feeling angry and want some relaxation and assertiveness (not too passive and not too aggressive) especially women, non-alcoholic ginger beer is a good option thus ginger beer helps to manage anger without any side effects on health (8).  

5. Antimicrobial properties

The presence of monoterpenoids, sesquiterpenoids, phenolic compounds, and its derivatives, aldehydes, ketones, alcohols, esters in ginger, inhibit the growth of different bacteria, fungi, and viruses (9)

Precaution

Dental erosion is the loss of the enamel on teeth when the environment is acidic (pH < 4.0) by food or beverages. Ginger ale and ginger beer both have a pH of 2-4 which increases the risk of erosion of teeth. Therefore, the intake of ginger beer and ginger ale in a moderate amount is safe and not toxic at all (10)

What is ginger ale?

Ginger ale is a carbonated drink, containing sugar or high-fructose corn syrup, with artificial or natural ginger-flavor. Ginger ale is mainly used to relieve stomach-ache and improve mood. Nowadays commercial ginger ale does not contain ginger extract, but artificial flavor therefore it isn’t applicable for the treatment of nausea and vomiting. It is also flavored using artificial flavors such as lemon, lime, can sugar, and others. There are two main types of ginger ale, golden ginger ale and dry ginger ale (golden is rare found). The golden ginger ale is golden in color and has much more ginger flavor while the dry ginger is pale in color and has a mellow ginger flavor. Ginger ale is consumed by mixing with alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks. It is available in the market with brand name Canada Dry, Rock, Schweppes, Vernors, and Seagram’s (11).

Ginger beer vs ginger ale

Both ginger Beer vs. ginger ale are obtained from ginger, bubbly drink and have an identical taste but have few variations. Ginger ale is a non-alcoholic, simple carbonated beverage made with water and flavored with ginger (artificial or natural). While ginger beer is low-alcoholic, brewed, and fermented by yeast or/and bacteria. And contains the fresh or dry root of ginger. 

Ginger beer contains a stronger flavor, spicier, less sweet, and fizzy. Whereas ginger ale is much milder, with high sugar, gentle flavor. Moreover, ginger beer is darker in color and available in with or without a cloudy appearance. Ginger ale is plain carbonated water that is light in color and mild in flavor. 

Q &A

Are ginger ale and ginger beer the same thing?

Nope, Ginger ale is a non-alcoholic, sweetened, carbonated beverage flavored with ginger whereas ginger beer is a low alcoholic, brewed, and fermented beverage (by yeast).  

Is Ginger Beer considered a soda?

Ginger beer is naturally fermented using real ginger rather than simply carbonated (soda), flavored with ginger syrup-like ginger ale. Therefore ginger beer has a stronger, more dynamic flavor.

Is Ginger Beer healthy? 

Yes, ginger beer is healthy because it contains very few or low amounts of alcohol. And is easily prepared in a home as well as nutritionally valuable. 

What is the best ginger beer?

The best of real ginger beer should taste like freshly juiced ginger. Here are some spicy and famous ginger brands is as follows

Angus Oneils, Q Drinks Spectacular, Bruce Cost Unfiltered, Old Jamaica, Fentimans, Fever-Tree, Cock ‘n’ Bull, Bundaberg, and Reed’s however, homemade ginger beer is best. 

Know in one minute about ginger beer vs ginger ale

Ginger in the form of ginger beer or ale increases flavor and nutrition. Ginger beer and ginger ale both are obtained from ginger. They are characterized as bubbly drinks and have a similar taste but have few variations. The difference between ginger beer and ginger ale is as follows

  1. Ginger beer is a very less or nonalcoholic fermented drink with a pungent, spicy ginger flavor. Ginger ale is a highly carbonated ginger-flavored drink with sweeter and much milder in flavor.
  2. Another difference is ginger beer is highly nutritious because made-up of real ginger. And lots of medicinal properties such as antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, treat nausea, vomiting, motion sickness. It also improves cold sensitivity, relaxing, and mood-improving properties.

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