Dedicated to my fellow ginger beer lovers, here’s an updated list of my favorite craft ginger beers, including my all time favorites as well as a few more unique brews worth checking out.
My love of ginger beer runs deep, a sentiment I’ve expressed before. But considering it’s been almost 5 years since my original best ginger beers post, I figured it was high time for an update.
I scoured the internet, stalked all the local stores, sent countless emails and instagram messages to craft soda companies begging them to please please ship me some in Nashville. Needless to say, this post is the result of over 4 months worth of research (everything I do? I do it for you).
All in all I was able to sample over three dozen new-to-me ginger beers (and thanks to my friends Phillip, Billy and Mike for lending their tastebuds to this endeavor – I know I made you taste a ridiculous amount of ginger beer, but your excellent palates and honest opinions helped me out immensely).
There are a number of ginger beer brands I found that I wasn’t able to get my hands on, mostly because they simply weren’t available to me in the US (boo hoo), so this is by no means the be-all-end-all list of best ginger beers. If/when I try a new one that belongs on this list, I will come back and add it here.
Let me just say… there are some really bad ginger beers out there. Plenty of mediocre ones, but some that were truly worthy of being dumped down the drain. I will not mention those ones here (I prefer to keep this space positive), instead, I’ll focus on the ones we loved that are definitely worth a sip.
I’ve sorted my discoveries into a few different categories, including new favorites, old favorites (carryovers from the original post that I still love), as well as a few good beginner options and some uniquely-flavored wild cards that are also worth trying.
I will note that we decided, for the sake of our sanity, to limit our tastings to just non-alcoholic ginger beers, opting not to venture into the vast world of alcoholic options. We skipped over anything billed as a ginger ale as well (which usually are much sweeter and with very little spice).
Now, based on the comments I continue to receive on the original post, I do want to emphasize here that these are my opinions. My preference in ginger beer tends to skew towards the fresh-tasting, cloudy and subtly sweet; I generally don’t like Jamaican-style ginger beers, nor those made with ginger extract, artificial sweeteners, or spices or other added flavors. If you do, that’s great, but they’re not on this list because they’re just not my thing.
One of the more interesting characteristics I noted when tasting all those ginger beers was the burn… not necessarily the intensity of it (though that definitely ran the gamut), but where it burned. Some of the spiciest hit you in the back of the throat and the sinuses, another you feel on the tip of your tongue, while others might make the roof of your mouth tingle. I’m not sure why this is, but it definitely made some ginger beers easy to drink and others downright painful (I like spice, but I also don’t want to voluntarily drink something that causes me pain, lol).
(I’ll also note that this post is not sponsored; while some of these brands generously sent me some samples of their product to try, all opinions are entirely my own and I wouldn’t include a product here if I didn’t love it. That said, there are some affiliate links in this post as well.)
These are new-to-me ginger beers discovered since my last post. They are all incredibly well balanced, not painfully spicy or cloyingly sweet, and just as pleasant to drink on their own as they are when used as a mixer. Unfortunately not all of them have widespread distribution, but if you ever do come across one of these products, they’re definitely worth a sip!
John Crabbie & Co – Fresh from England, this one was a lovely surprise! Not to be confused with Crabbie’s alcoholic ginger beer, John Crabbie & Co ginger beer is smooth and refreshing with a bright ginger flavor and a dry finish. It’s fairly sweet, but nicely balanced with a hint of spice that leaves your tongue slightly tingly. This one would make a great summer mixer, as the sweetness would mask the harshness of the liquor.
→ Where to buy it: UKGoods (330ml bottles) or Amazon (700ml bottles).
Kure’s – I first discovered Kure’s this past summer when we were visiting family in Denver. I’ll admit, the cute pup on the label drew me in, but I was thrilled by what was inside! This is a perfectly balanced, ginger-forward brew with a pleasant spice. It’s not overly sweet, not uncomfortably spicy, making it a great everyday, easy-drinking ginger beer.
→ Where to buy it: currently only distributed in Colorado and Illinois.
Q – This one was designed first and foremost as a mixer, so it’s much less sweet than those designed as sodas. But you know what? I’d drink it straight and be perfectly happy, as it’s quite delicious! This one is pretty spicy but not unpleasantly so, with a clean, crisp ginger flavor that’ll leave a slight burn in the roof of your mouth.
→ Where to buy it: easy to find in most grocery/liquor stores including Whole Foods, also available on Amazon.
Empire Bottling Works – So what if I bought it for the cool retro packaging, the inside is what really counts, and this one is a winner! It’s quite spicy, with a nice burn that slowly builds in the back of your throat, but it’s incredibly well balanced and not overly sweet or unpleasantly spicy. A complex ginger flavor, not fake tasting in the least.
→ Where to buy it: online by the bottle here or by the case here.
Fentinmans Pink Ginger – Ok so I had to include this pink ginger variety even though the original Fentimans is included in my old favorites list below; in all honestly they are so completely different they might as well be different brands entirely. The pink ginger beer is perfectly sweet and pleasantly gingery, with a hint of underlying candy-like fruitiness from the hibiscus and other ingredients that give it its unique color. Plus, it’s pink, which makes it all the more fun to drink.
→ Where to buy it: World Market, Total Wine (I’m guessing it’ll get easier to find with time – a lot of stores I know carry this brand but this is a newer product still with fairly limited distribution).
Oliko – When I first saw ‘cultured vinegar’ I got a bit nervous that this one would taste like straight up kombucha, but it is definitely not the case. While it has a subtle vinegar scent and a hint of pickled ginger, it is surprisingly fresh and light, with a freshly juiced ginger flavor without any harsh burn. It’s quite lovely. Not unsurprisingly, I think this would would be amazing paired with sushi.
→ Where to buy it: currently only distributed locally in Boulder & Denver, Colorado.
If these brands sound familiar, it’s because I included them in my previous ginger beer roundup 5 years ago. After all that time they are still ones I turn to again and again when I’m craving a fresh and spicy ginger brew.
Rachel’s Ginger Beer – Perhaps my all time favorite ginger beer, I have yet to find a bottled ginger beer that beats it in terms of overall flavor and spice. Very lemon-forward with a pleasant heat from freshly juiced ginger, and available in a number of different flavor varieties. The original is amazing, the Extra is probably my favorite, but the creative flavors (hello caramelized pineapple and cucumber tarragon) are not to be missed. Rachel’s ships nationwide (they often have $10 flat rate shipping specials!) but if you’re ever in Seattle you simply must stop by their Pike’s Place shop for a mule or a ginger beer float.
→ Where to buy it: locally in Seattle, or order online.
Fever Tree – Perfect in its simplicity, with a pleasant heat and perfectly balanced sweetness, Fever Tree is still one of my favorites and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. It’s very widely distributed too, and thus usually something you can find in a pinch.
→ Where to buy it: locally in grocery/liquor stores; also available on Amazon.
Regatta – Old favorite, new look. This is a bold, full-bodied ginger beer, with a strong heat on the front but a pleasantly smooth finish. I love the small cans, as often times 12 ounces is more ginger beer than I really want to drink.
→ Where to buy it: Liquor stores, sometimes available on Amazon (albeit with the old packaging).
Fentimans – If I hadn’t included this one in my previous ginger beer post, I’d probably put it down with the wild cards as it’s incredibly unique, infused with herbs and botanicals that makes it almost taste like it’s been spiked with gin. Great for when you want the taste of a cocktail without the booze.
→ Where to buy it: World market, Target, specialty liquor stores, also online.
Maine Root – Easy to find, easy to love. With a strong ginger heat and a hint of exotic spice (normally I don’t tend to like spiced ginger beers, but this one is an exception), this is still one of my favorites.
→ Where to buy it: Whole Foods, also on Amazon.
Back to Basics
Sometimes you’re in the mood for something a bit more sweet and mellow, I’d also call these the beginner’s ginger beers. These 5 ginger beers are mild and unoffensive, with no weird spices, off flavors, or sinus-burning heat (for that reason they would make fabulous mixers).
Ginger People – Mild and pleasant and easy to find (basically it’s a win-win-win). This ginger beer is beautifully cloudy, with a light hint of lemon and a mellow candied-ginger-like spice. It’s not as sharp as many ginger beers, but has a slight burn that builds as you drink it. Would be good as a mixer as it wouldn’t overpower other flavors.
→ Where to buy it: Whole Foods, Sprouts, also available online from Lucky Vitamin or Amazon.
Bruce Cost – I included the Bruce Cost ginger ale in my original post, but now they have a new ‘spicy’ version they actually call ginger beer. It’s less sweet than the ale, but not necessarily what I’d consider extra spicy. Still, it’s pleasant to sip, with a nice sweetness and balanced ginger flavor.
→ Where to buy it: locally in New York, Sprouts markets; online at Brooklyn Food & Beverage.
Frostie’s – Quite sweet, with a pleasant, albeit slightly artificial ginger flavor. This one doesn’t taste too spicy on first sip, but definitely has a noticeable afterburn. Did I mention the downright adorable packaging?
→ Where to buy it: Supermarkets, 4-packs available online.
Sioux City – Mellow and unoffensive, this ginger beer is definitely on the sweet side but still nicely balanced. Not a ton of heat, but a nice natural tasting ginger flavor nonetheless.
→ Where to buy it: available online by the case.
Powel & Mahoney – I’ve seen this one everywhere lately. It’s got a clear appearance and a crisp, clean flavor without the harsh ginger burn. A great option when you just want something enjoyable (aka not painful) to sip on. (Also don’t pass up their blood orange flavor if you come across it!)
→ Where to buy it: Lots of stores, also reasonably priced online.
I would also add Bundaberg, Gosling’s and Barrit’s to this list, all carryovers from my original post. They’re some of the most widely available ginger beers available these days, and are certainly worth a sip. Will they blow your mind? Probably not, but they won’t turn your tastebuds either.
When you’re in the mood for something just a little bit different…
Tidal Boar – One of the spiciest ginger beers we tried, this one had a noticeable, albeit not unpleasant, burn that lingered in the back of your throat. It tastes more like candied ginger to me than fresh, with a thick, syrupy mouthfeel and candy-like sweetness. Very lemon forward, peppery with a slightly bitter finish of lemon zest. I love that it is made with all organic ingredients, including monkfruit sweetener and turmeric (I mean, it’s basically health food, right?)
→ Where to buy it: locally in St. Petersburg, Florida, also available online.
Preston’s – The only yeasted ginger beer we tried (most naturally yeasted ginger beers are alcoholic; I assume this one probably had negligible amounts of alcohol even though it is sold as non-alcoholic). If you like beer, you’ll like this ginger beer (I’d call it the beer lover’s ginger beer).
→ Where to buy it: locally in San Diego, California.
Devil’s Foot – Honey is the most prominent flavor in this Asheville-made ginger beer. I like the fact that it is sweetened more naturally than everything else we tried, although I found the honey flavor overpowered the ginger. There is a regular and a ‘fuego’ version (although neither was unbearably hot). It had a very light overall flavor and mouthfeel, more like an extra carbonated sparkling water than a heavily sweetened soda, and would be a great option if you find other ginger beers much too sweet.
→ Where to buy it: locally in Asheville, North Carolina.
Buderim – If cream soda and ginger ale had a baby, this is what it would taste like. It tastes more like ginger cookies than fresh ginger root. There are two versions of this soda, an “Aussie Hot” and a “Yank-style Cool”, although we didn’t taste much of a difference between them (the Yank-style tasted like a slightly watered down version of the Aussie Hot). Both had strong notes of vanilla and butterscotch, almost as if it was made with raw turbinado sugar, which definitely threw us off the first time we tried it. If you’re craving a fresh and spicy ginger beer, this definitely isn’t it, but, even with the syrupy sweetness, it’s enjoyable to drink nonetheless.
→ Where to buy it: seems to be available in many large nationwide liquor stores like Totalwine or Bevmo, also available on Amazon or Soda4u.com.
Sparkling CBD – CBD is all the rage these days, and this CBD-infused ginger ale is a great way to get your daily dose. It’s definitely a ginger ale, not a ginger beer, but I really enjoyed the balanced sweetness and subtle ginger flavor.
→ Where to buy it: locally in Colorado, also available online.
Bette Jane’s Blood Orange – (Not pictured bc I only had one bottle and drank it, lol). We tried the original flavor and found it overly lemony, but the blood orange surprised us in that it tasted less like citrus and more like ginger than the original. A nice, sharp spice and full-bodied ginger flavor, with just a hint of orange (almost like someone dropped an orange sweet tart in the bottle and let it dissolve).
→ Where to buy it: I found it online by the case here or by the bottle here.
We are a startup operation in Canada. We were just about to produce our first commercial run for a proper market test as Covid hit. We had just done a “homebrew” version that we tested at a small farmers’ market. We chose it as it should have been the most difficult location to sell. There was virtually no one there that understood ginger beer but it sold far better than we had even dreamed of.
I reviewed your likes and dislikes in your previous favourites. When we were formulating our product we knew we had it when one elderly Jamaican gentleman came back with “this is what my grandmother used to make!”
We started with my wife’s great, great, great grandmother’s recipe from Trinidad. We reworked it to a point where we use NO water.
So, if you would like to review this for us, we would be interested. Please let us know.
To the commenter who asked about alcoholic ginger beer: I highly recommend Hollows and Fentimans Ginger Beer. It is hands down the best one around.
It was quite interesting reading through this list, hailing from the Caribbean I’m also a lover of ginger whether in food or drinks. I had a question for you though, have you ever given any thought to alcoholic ginger beer? I myself have never had an alcoholic ginger beer, and I was wondering if their was any you could suggest to me? Or at least describe the flavor profiles of any you’ve drank so far? Thanks, and I hope you are staying safe with the current environment (COVID-19). Take care, and I look forward to your response.
I don’t really drink so I haven’t really tried any alcoholic ones. That’s the beauty of ginger beer to me is it’s something I can order when everyone else is ordering drinks. :)
I’m sure you get a ton of recommendations but I’ll leave one anyway! One of my favorites is something that I got at a rum distillery (they used it for mixers) – it’s called Pickett’s Hot N Spicy – it’s actually a concentrated syrup that you just add to seltzer but it’s become a staple at our place.
I’ve been rating ginger ales and beers for several years now, (currently over 250) and have read A LOT of articles with reviews and taste tests. I gotta say, this one is spot on. I completely agree with what you’ve written. Great post.
I’ve had most of these, but you’ve also given me some new ones that I’ll have to try to hunt down. My go-to’s are Maine Root, Fentimans, and Bruce Cost. If you’re ever in Utah, there’s a locally made one called Garwood’s that’s fantastic. A lot like Rachel’s, but more ginger and less lemon.
I tried to get my hands on some Garwood’s but they don’t ship and never responded to my inquiries. :(
what a fun post, especially to a ginger beer amateur, Buderim seems like a winner, thank you!
Yes Rachel’s is the best! My husband and I went there everyday on a long weekend trip to Seattle. I know ask for it for Christmas and my birthday!
One of my favorites is summit sparking ginger beer. I really enjoy trying different varieties.
I’ve never heard of that one! Will have to keep my eye out for it.
I’m a huge ginger beer fan and write reviews as a hobby so this was a lot of fun to read, plus I learned about a few regional ones I need to try! Also, that Bruce Cost ginger beer is available online at Brooklyn Food and Beverage. Thanks for revisiting this list!
Oh that’s great to know! I’ll update the links. :)
Awesome list! Wish I had access to all of these! I’ve tried about 6-7 of them though. I thoroughly do enjoy ginger beer. My favorite/go-to is Bundaberg, it’s non-alcoholic but it’s naturally brewed and hails from Australia. Have you tried it?
Yep, mentioned it under the ‘back to basics’ section. ;) It’s definitely one of my go-tos. :)
Agree Rachel’s is top but a firm second is Blenheim where is that on your list?
I’ve tried it but it’s not my favorite… also technically billed as a ‘ginger ale’ which we intentionally excluded from our tastings.