Surprising discoveries about ginger beer

So what is Ginger beer anyway? That was the question that I had in my head when the Dark ‘n’ Stormy started showing up on my radar. I assumed it was a low alcohol fizzy beer from England (and the name reminded me a whole lot of “butter beer” from the Harry Potter franchise).

Well, it turns out, yes, the drink originated in England, and it’s fizzy just like the more common ginger ale, but it’s not actually alcoholic – anymore. Once upon a time in England it had 11% alcohol in it, but that changed in 1855 when laws were passed requiring non-excisable beverages to contain less than 2% alcohol.

Then, I asked myself, what about alcoholic ginger beer? Isn’t that what’s required to make a Dark ‘n’ Stormy? Nope. The most commonly used ginger beer for a Dark ‘n’ Stormy is Barritt’s, and that’s completely alcohol free, as is Gosling’s own ginger beer.

I guess you learn something new everyday.

There is alcoholic ginger beer; however, despite what is said. Last weekend, at the Brooklyn Waterfront Craft Beer Fest, I tasted an excellent alcoholic ginger beer called Crabbie’s.  There’s also Royal Jamaican, Blue Tongue, Hollows, and Franks, to name a few. It’s difficult to find, though, so if you’re in the United States, don’t expect to walk into your local grocery or liquor store and happen across it.

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