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Assortment of ginger beer bottles containing Moscow Herbal, Bundaberg, Aqua Monaco, Thomas Henry, Goldberg and Fever-Tree bottles.

Traditional ginger beer is a naturally sweetened and carbonated, usually non-alcoholic beverage. It is produced by the natural fermentation of prepared ginger spice, yeast and sugar.

Its origins date from the colonial spice trade with the Orient and the sugar producing islands of the Caribbean.[1] It was popular in Britain and its colonies from the 18th century. Other spices were variously added and any alcohol content was limited to 2% by excise tax laws in 1855.[2] Few brewers have maintained an alcoholic product.[3]

Current ginger beers are often manufactured rather than brewed, frequently with flavor and color additives. Ginger ales are not brewed.

Ginger beer is still produced at home using a symbiotic colony of yeast and a Lactobacillus (bacteria) known as a "ginger beer plant".

Ginger beer has experienced a marked increase in popularity in recent years accompanying the popularity of cocktails based on it, such as the Moscow Mule and the Dark 'N' Stormy.[4]

Contents

HistoryEdit

As early as 500 BC, ginger was used as a medicine and for flavouring food in Ancient China and India. In the western hemisphere, ginger was used to spice up drinks. During the Victorian era, it was used to brew an alcoholic beverage termed "ginger beer".[5]

Brewed ginger beer originated in Yorkshire in England in the mid-18th century[6] and became popular throughout Britain, the United States, Ireland, South Africa and Canada, reaching a peak of popularity in the early 20th century.[7]

Brewed ginger beer was brought to the United States of the Ionian Islands by the British Army in the 19th century, and is still made as a local specialty known as tsitsibíra (τσιτσιμπίρα) by villagers in rural Corfu.[8]

ProductionEdit

Alcoholic ginger beerEdit

Brewed ginger beer originated in the UK, but is sold worldwide. Crabbie's is a popular brand in the UK.[9] It is usually labelled "alcoholic ginger beer" to distinguish it from the more established commercial ginger beers, which are not brewed (fermented), but carbonated with pressurized carbon dioxide.[10] Another popular ginger beer is Hollows & Fentimans.[11] Hollows & Fentimans claims its ginger beer to be gluten-free. Crabbie's ginger beer is free from gluten in the UK, but not the US.[12]

Ginger beer plantEdit

The ginger beer plant (GBP), also known as "Bees Wine", "Palestinian Bees", "Californian Bees", and "Balm of Gilead",[13] is not what is usually considered a plant but a composite organism consisting of a fungus, the yeast Saccharomyces florentinus (formerly S. pyriformis) and the bacterium Lactobacillus hilgardii (formerly Brevibacterium vermiforme),[14][15] which form a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). It forms a gelatinous substance that allows it to be easily transferred from one fermenting substrate to the next, much like kefir grains, kombucha, and tibicos.[16] The GBP was first described by Harry Marshall Ward in 1892, from samples he received in 1887.[15][17][18] Original ginger beer is brewed by leaving water, sugar, ginger, optional ingredients such as lemon juice and cream of tartar, and GBP to ferment for several days, converting some of the sugar into alcohol. GBP may be obtained from several commercial sources. Until about 2008 laboratory-grade GBP was available, only from the yeast bank Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen in Germany (catalogue number DMS 2484),[13] but the item is no longer listed. The National Collection of Yeast Cultures (NCYC) had an old sample of "Bees Wine" as of 2008, but current staff had not used it, and NCYC are unable to supply it for reasons of safety, as the exact composition of the sample is not known.[13]

A ginger beer plant may also refer to a fermenting liquid mix of water, brewer's or baker's yeast (not from SCOBY as described above), ginger and sugar. This is kept for a week or longer, with sugar regularly added (e.g. daily) to increase alcohol content. More ginger may also be added, which will increase the ginger flavour. At the end of the period, this concentrated mix is strained, diluted with water and lemon juice, and stored (e.g. bottled).[19][20][21][22][23][24]

Ginger beer soft drinkEdit

Non-alcoholic ginger beer is a type of carbonated soft drink flavoured with ginger. An example is Stoney, a product of The Coca-Cola Company widely sold in southern and eastern Africa.[25] Other examples include: Rocky's Ginger Beer, made in America by Rocky's Beverages.[26] Kure's Ginger Beer, made in Colorado, USA by Kure's Craft Beverage Co.[27]

Mixed drinksEdit

The ginger beer soft drink may be mixed with beer (usually a British ale of some sort) to make one type of shandy, or with dark rum to make a drink, originally from Bermuda, called a Dark 'N' Stormy. It is the main ingredient in the Moscow Mule cocktail (although in some cases ginger ale is used as an alternative, where ginger beer is not available).

Brands and PackagesEdit


See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Old Jamaica". Retrieved 21 May 2016. 
  2. ^ "Barritts Ginger Beer". Retrieved 21 May 2016. 
  3. ^ "Story - Crabbies Ginger Beer". Retrieved 21 May 2016. 
  4. ^ http://www.saveur.com/article/collection/ginger-beer-and-ginger-ale-cocktails
  5. ^ "The Old Fashioned Way: Homemade Ginger Beer". Tori Avey. Retrieved 21 May 2016. 
  6. ^ Thomas Sprat (1702) A history of the Royal Society of London, page 196 "of Brewing Beer with Ginger instead of Hops"
  7. ^ Donald Yates (Spring 2003). "Root Beer and Ginger Beer heritage". Archived from the original on 2008-08-21. Retrieved 2006-12-06. 
  8. ^ Nick Edwards & John Gill, "The Rough Guide to Corfu." Rough Guides (2003) p.87
  9. ^ Bassett, Win (November 15, 2012). "Crabbie's, The Original Alcoholic Ginger Beer, Debuts in United States". All About Beer Magazine. Retrieved 24 November 2013. 
  10. ^ Knowlton, Andrew (January 22, 2013). "A Bottle in Front of Me Crabbie's". BON APPÉTIT. Retrieved 24 November 2013. 
  11. ^ "Fentimans North America". Fentimans North America. Retrieved 21 May 2016. 
  12. ^ "Top Gluten-Free Alternatives to Beer". Meadist. Retrieved 21 May 2016. 
  13. ^ a b c "Beeswine". National Collection of Yeast Cultures. Archived from the original on 17 May 2008. 
  14. ^ "Ginger — ginger beer plant". Plant Cultures. 16 June 2006. Retrieved 2012-09-15. 
  15. ^ a b "Lactic Acid Beverages: sour beer, (milk) & soda" (PDF). 22 June 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-06. 
  16. ^ Walter Donald Daker; Maurice Stakey (14 September 1938). "CCLI. Investigation of a Polysaccharide Produced From Sucrose by Betabacterium Vermiformé (Ward-Meyer)" (pdf). Biochem. J. 32: 1946–8. doi:10.1042/bj0321946. PMC 1264278 . PMID 16746831. 
  17. ^ "Harry Marshall Ward : Biography". Retrieved 2006-12-06. 
  18. ^ Vines, Gail (28 September 2002). "Marriage of equals". New Scientist (2362): 50. (Subscription required (help)).  Alternative source
  19. ^ Burke's Backyard Ginger Beer Fact Sheet
  20. ^ ABC Radio - Recipes Ginger Beer
  21. ^ Warwick Daily News, 12 Nov 1951 How to Start a Ginger Beer Plant
  22. ^ Science in School Ginger beer: a traditional fermented low-alcohol drink
  23. ^ Western Mail, 9 Apr 1953 Ginger Beer Plant
  24. ^ The Western Australian, 9 Dec 1947 Starting a Ginger Beer Plant
  25. ^ "Stronger than the strongest thirst". Coca Cola South Africa. Retrieved 23 February 2012. 
  26. ^ "Ginger Beer". Retrieved 21 May 2016. 
  27. ^ "Home". www.kuresgingerbeer.com. Retrieved 2017-11-17. 

External linksEdit