I’m excited every time I find a ginger beer I haven’t tried before. You can say I’m a bit of a fanatic. For me, the spicier the ginger beer, the better. When I try a new ginger beer, I’m honestly quite disappointed when they aren’t spicy and I don’t get that throaty burn of a fresh ginger beer. There are some ginger beers that I actively seek out due to this higher concentration of ginger and nice spiciness. Spicier ginger beers are amazingly refreshing when chilled, have robust flavors, and can take cocktails to the next level.
What Makes Ginger Spicy?
Ginger gets it’s spiciness from the compound gingerol. It’s responsible for that nice throat burn you get from taking your first sip of a ginger beer. Gingerol is related to capsaicin, the compound in hot peppers that makes them hot as well as piperine from black pepper. If you’ve had a spicy ginger beer before this is likely not surprising since the experience can be similar to what you expect from hot sauce or peppers.
You may be surprised that one of my favorite spiciest ginger-based drinks is ginger ale and not ginger beer. Somehow, the team at Blenheim has made a delightfully spicy ginger ale that rivals some of the best ginger beers I’ve ever had. Blenheim is located in my home state of South Carolina and is one of the oldest and smallest independent soda bottling companies in the USA. They began their mission of providing the best ginger ales in 1903 and I personally have to say they have accomplished it.
Blenheim’s ginger ale has a very strong ginger taste with a nice throat burn. Their ginger ale is bottled and comes in less spicy variations for those who aren’t ready to experience “a firecracker exploding in your throat.” I pick up Blenheim’s every time I see it in the store because it’s just that damn delicious.
If you’re looking for a tried and true ginger beer that tastes great but doesn’t keep the heat going with every sip, then you may enjoy Reed’s Strongest Ginger Brew. It’s widely available and tastes pretty great. However, it doesn’t pack the best punch if you’re truly after the sweet heat that a ginger beer can bring.
Reed’s started brewing ginger beer in 1987 and has a goal of keeping a traditional Jamaican recipe. Their craft beer operation works in small batches to ensure the quality of their product.
These bottles are small but mighty. This is easily the strongest ginger taste I’ve ever had from the ginger beer. If there were “Hot Ones” for ginger beer, they would have to include this drink. They are not for the faint at heart and they are definitely not for those who prefer milder, floral ginger drinks. This is a true kick in the teeth in a bottle. Advanced Mixology rated it the best for the most intense flavor and I would have to agree.
The Great Jamaican has recently changed its name to The Great Gentleman. The company is surprisingly based in Canada which is not a place I think about when ginger beer is on my mind. The company targets the mixed drink crowd which has helped them create an amazing ginger beer with a nice kick and an interesting flavor profile.
A Hot and Spicy Take
There’s a ginger beer for everyone but I have to say, the spicy ginger beers are my favorite. I will take a Blenheim over a milder fan favorite any day. Whether you’re mixing drinks or just want a chilled bottle, I recommend trying each of these ginger beers and making a decision for yourself.