Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Ginger Beer Vs. Ginger Ale

You might remember that a few weeks ago, I mentioned Seher's Old English Ginger Beer here in a post. It had been bottled in Lorain, but I had never tried it or any other ginger beer.

Fellow blogger Loraine Ritchey (from That Woman's Weblog) recommended I pick up some ginger beer at World Market and give it a try. I did just that, buying a four pack of Bundaberg Ginger Beer.

What did I think? I thought it was pretty good; very different from ginger ale. It had a very deep, very woody taste. It was a totally different drink than Vernors.

Ironically, I had been feeling a little off earlier that night. Just like Vernors used to settle our stomachs when we were kids, the ginger beer did the same thing.

And the bottle caps were pretty cool. No bottle opener needed, and no twisting. You just pull the tab and the cap popped off.

The funny thing is, the spouse saw me sitting in the easy chair and drinking it, and she didn't recognize the bottle. Since I rarely have any reason to drink a beer since both my father and my father-in-law died, she became alarmed that I was suddenly becoming a booze hound.

There's no chance of that. I'd much rather drink pop.

Fellow blogger Alan Hopewell mentioned that he couldn't find Vernors down in Texas – and he has my sympathy. Along with Pepsi Throwback, it's my favorite pop.
Vernors used to be headquartered in Detroit, Michigan. It has an interesting origin story and company history, which you can read here on the Vernors website.
Back in 2000, Vernors had a neat promotion. For a limited time, Vernors was available in real glass bottles that were sort of a replica of the old style design we remember as kids. (That's my collectible bottle at left.) As a kid, I thought the gnome on the bottle looked like one of the little men who got Rip Van Winkle drunk.
In the last few years, I wondered if Vernors had changed their recipe, because if I drank it out of a plastic bottle, I never coughed or sneezed – and what fun is that? I discovered that you have to serve it in a glass to get the desired effect – and drink it while it was still popping and fizzing.

Here's a phone book ad from the early 1960's showing that the Cotton Club Hires Distributing Company handled Vernors in Lorain County.
1960's ad from Lorain phone book
And look what else they distributed: Smarty Ginger Beer. Check out this can from the National Pop Can Collectors website.

Image courtesy www.canogram.com
Those kids look as happy as if they were drinking chocolate milk! I guess ginger beer was more mainstream than I thought!


-Alan D Hopewell said...

I remember seeing that can, but I don't think that that was the ginger beer I'd drank.

Do you remember Lawson's Chocolzate Cola?

Dan Brady said...

I'm afraid all Lawson's meant to me was: lunch meat! Was it like Yoo Hoo? (Or if you prefer – the Wacky Package version was Boo Hoo--the tear flavored drink!)

Loraine Ritchey said...

Glad you enjoyed the Ginger Beer now you must try a TIZER and also if you are feeling under the weather Lucozade :)

Doug Majka said...

Yoo Hoo was more like Choc-Ola, which were both non carbonated with dairy products added. Lawson's Chocolate Cola had carbonation. Wacky Packages sure brings back memories. I had those stickers on everything I owned.

-Alan D Hopewell said...

There was a product called Fairmount Apple Beer, back in the early 70's, that was pretty good; I was in Nebraska, where it was made, so I dunno if they had it here.

Randall Chet said...

Loved Vernors as a kid. But if you ever get down my way try some red cap Blenheims Ginger Ale. Vernors tastes like water in comparison. Looks like the closest you can get it is in Canton, OH. www.blenheimgingerale.com

Anonymous said...

NYC has no Vernors, so about once a year I rent a station wagon, drive to Ohio (Pennsylvania doesn't have Vernors either and pick up around 100 2-liter bottles, enough to last a year.

Ginger Beer is fine, but it's not Vernors.