The ginger beer landscape has changed sense I wrote this post in 2013. Check out our new website The Better Mixer for an up to date list of the best ginger beers. You’ll also be able to leave your own rating, write a glowing review, or rant for the world to see.
The most popular posts on the 2 Out of Three blog are our ginger beer reviews. And while each of the five tastings we’ve conducted used identical judging criteria, the lineup of ginger beers has varied. This has made comparisons a bit cumbersome and doing a quick lookup for specific beverages on this site can be downright frustrating. Well, we’ve set out to remedy this situation by shining a light on the American ginger beer landscape with a comprehensive guide. It is one you can download to your mobile phone for a quick consultation at the market, or print and store in your wallet for those who prefer an analog version.
Consider this a public service for those of us who go weak in the knees at the thought dark rum, ginger beer, and a splash of lime mixed and poured over ice; the devoted legions who take their ginger with vodka; or, those who prefer their ginger beer served straight and cold.
Over the years our judges — whose training consists primarily of drinking an above average number of Dark n’ Stormy’s — have settled on two favorites out of the 32 different ginger beers they’ve tasted: Fever Tree and Bundaberg. Both qualitative and quantitative evidence make it a no brainer for us to recommend you pick up one of these two when in doubt. But, personal favorites vary, so below (and in downloadable format) we’ve put together a ranking of ginger beers available in the United States with tasting notes and scores with a scale ranking between 1 and 10 (read our original tasting for details on the judging criteria).
No ginger beer strikes a better balance between sweet and spicy than Fever Tree. Starting sweet, it lures you in, then wakes you up with a kick of ginger on the finish. While you certainly taste the fresh ginger in each bottle, at no point does it overpower or outstay its welcome. Neat, this beverage is the best drinking ginger and an excellent partner for any mixed drink.
There are very few faults with Bundaberg. It’s refreshing and sweet, making you want to go back for another sip before you’ve finished the last. While it’s light on the spice scale, it mixes up one hell of a Dark n’ Stormy, making it the gold standard for ginger beers.
DG Ginger Beer
We recommend you take DG Ginger Beer out on the next hot summer day, find a shady spot, and sip away while soaking in your surroundings. This ginger is refreshing, with a sweet and light taste that finishes with a medium hit of spice.
Cock ‘n Bull
Cock ‘n Bull has a brisk start and a smooth finish, and when mixed into a D ‘n S, our tasters all agreed it’s a top performer. Tasting notes included a stronger ginger scent than taste, a clear appearance and a low spiciness score.
This is an easy drinking ginger beer with low carbonation and very little bite. A pleasant ginger flavor with notes of citrus comes alive when mixed with rum. Average on it’s own, Barritts shines when mixed into a Dark n’ Stormy.
Regatta does a lot right: mixed with rum and a lime it’ll give you picture-perfect storm clouds for your D n’ S. It’s very refreshing, with low levels of spice, and it has a unique chalky texture due to the stoneware bottles it’s kept in.
A fresca-like color hides a solid kick of spice that intensifies as it lingers in your mouth. Its consistency is a bit syrupy and it’s flavor is more unique than most ginger beers. Support this site by picking up a couple four packs on amazon →.
You might call Fentiman’s the “Ike Turner” of ginger beers. It’s just sweet enough to convince you to keep sipping, while in the back of your mind you know the spice is going to hit you soon enough. You might not want to be married to this ginger beer but it certainly has it’s moments.
Schweppes could aptly be called the “champagne of ginger beers.” While it lacks any distinctive flavors, it serves as a good combo in a D n’ S. Not the best but far from the worst.
A serviceable ginger beer that fulfills its primary purpose as a mixer for a Dark n’ Stormy very well. Its an oddly smoky bouquet with a light trace of ginger. It has a modest spice that trails off quickly at the end. Buy a six pack, support this site →
Sweeter than most ginger beers, Sioux City manages to balance nicely with its medium spice. It’s a decent ginger beer that mixes well with rum.
There are likely other flavors in this ginger beer but they are difficult to detect under the spice. If you like your cocktails with a long, slow burn, this is the ginger for you.
Goya Ginger Beer
Goya’s ginger beer takes late spice to a new level, crawling and coating your entire mouth. Its flavor is actually pretty decent, but its major flaw is an overpowering spice which crushes any mixed drink.
This is one beverage you’ll either love or hate. A strong lemon flavor and notes of lychee left us enjoying the drink but comparing it to non-alcoholic offerings you might find at a trendy restaurant.
A consistent burn begins early and continues rolling through until well past the after-taste. Consider this an average ginger beer with medium spice.
Buderim comes strong with the ginger flavor upon first taste, then lingers with a medium hit of spice. Mixed into a cocktail, the flavor is muted with the ginger being overpowered by the rum and lime.
Containing “raw ginger” and lacking carbonation, this beverage has more in common with raw drinks like Kombucha and is not recommended as a cocktail mixer. A sweet introduction, with notes of pineapple and ginger candy, lead to a hardy spice.
Rachel’s Ginger Beer
Appropriate given its taste, lemon is placed ahead of ginger on the ingredient list— its tart flavor can suck the moisture out of your mouth. Rachel’s is a decent soda but not ideal for a cocktail.
The sweet sugar cane in this beverage is too strong, muting the ginger flavor. It’s best described as a “bad soda.” Go ahead try it yourself →
Lacking spice; with a medicinal scent, and a clear appearance, we liken Jackson Hole to a flat cream soda.
The Ginger Peoples
At first pour you’ll notice a cloudy, almost grapefruit-looking appearance, as well as the strong scent of ginger.
Reed’s Extra Ginger
Reed’s is a divisive beverage. Some people love it, and others can’t stand it. Our judges fell into the latter category. Our opinion, as ginger beer tasters, is that it tastes like crap, with a few malted notes.