Ask Eno: What Kinda Beer is This?

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Dear Eno,

Is ginger beer really a beer?

– Pete


Dear Pete,

Ginger beer is NOT a beer in the same way that a porter or an IPA are.  It originated in 18th century England where it was an sweetened alcoholic drink made by fermenting – you guess it – ginger!  There are still some ginger beers made in a similar fashion on the market today, like Crabbie’s or localish Farmer Willie’s.  

Many other ginger beers on the market are actually non-alcoholic, like Regatta or Goslings.  Some people use them as a component in cocktails like a Moscow Mule or Dark & Stormy, but on their own they offer a spicy and refreshing alternative to soda.  They are great for settling stomachs or when you’re starting to get a cold. 

Ginger Ale, by comparison, is a carbonated and ginger-flavored soft drink.  This is why they are much sweeter and typically less spicy than their Ginger Beer counterparts.  

Aubrie Talarico is part of Eno’s team that answers your toughest questions or curiosities about wine, beer, spirits, sake, and cider. Email questions to and read the answers in Eno’s E-newsletter!

To sign up for Eno’s newsletter visit and enter your email OR text “ENOFINEWINES” to 22828.  


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