The British have been drinking ginger beer since the 1800s. Originally, this antique bottle from England held a fizzy alcoholic beer. It would have tasted liked brown toffee, with a ginger twang aftertaste. It would have been a refreshing drink, probably enjoyed in the summertime.
The recipe for ginger beer includes sugar, ginger, water, maybe some lemon, and a fermenting agent called “Ginger Beer Plant”. GBP is a yeast and bacteria mixture which fizzes, sweetens and ferments the beverage. In the 1800s, the beer would have had an alcohol content of 11%, double of today’s American beers. The stoneware bottle would have had a cork stopper to keep in the carbonation.
It was bottled and distributed by the Urmston Brothers Brewery in the small township of Tonge. It is north of the city of Manchester in Lancashire, next to Bolton.
Have you tried Ginger Beer? This weekend, we opened some Ginger Beer bottles to let the family sample the non-alcoholic version. It was not a big winner. The ginger was overpowering and most disappeared down the kitchen drain.
FYI: Nonalcoholic Ginger Ale was invented in 1851 in Ireland.