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searching for great ginger ale

I recently returned from a trip to the Pacific Northwest, where I drank a ginger ale from a small company called Thomas Kemper. It was as perfect a ginger ale as I've ever had: plenty of ginger, not sour or acidic, flavored with cane sugar (not high fructose corn syrup).

After some research, I've found I can't get Thomas Kemper here in the Boston area. I have sampled several non-HFCS ginger ale options (Whole Foods house brand, Reed's Ginger Ale and Reed's Ginger Beer) but have yet to find one that is as good.

Does anyone have any suggestions of good ginger ale? I live in Cambridge and can't travel to the burbs (no transportation).

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  1. I particularly like Fever Tree ginger ale, a dry not-too-sweet product made in the United Kingdom. It is made with cane sugar. Their ginger beer is quite good also. Some Whole Foods carry them.

    1. Fever Tree makes a good one.

      1. Blenheim is the best (imho), but you can't get it locally, we order from the website.

        http://www.blenheimgingerale.com/

        4 Replies
        1. re: grumpyspatient

          I'll second Blenheim, it isn't cheap to get it shipped, but I had it with my gf in Charleston, SC and we were hooked. The spicy one is really spicy, I prefer the Gold Cap, 'Not as Hot' over the Red Cap. Makes great cocktails too!

          1. re: grumpyspatient

            I think you can buy Blenheim at the Boston Shaker.

            1. re: johncb

              what/where is the Boston Shaker?

          2. Fever Tree was disappointing. Too sweet for our tastes.

            Our favorite is Blenheim Red Cap. You can have a case shipped to you from them directly. we are lucky to have family couriers who bring a case each time we see them.

            1. I have certainly had Thomas Kemper ginger ale before, but I can't remember from where I got it, but I suspect it was local. I suspect you can order on-line too for a reasonable price. But I do know where I get Saranac Ginger Beer (less spicy than most sodas labeled as ginger beers, I'd classify this one as a deep ginger ale, like Vernor's): Wegman's. I think I've seen it at a couple other places. I really like it. I also like Natural Brew's "Outrageous" Ginger Ale, which I have gotten at Foodie's among other places. Vernor's Ginger Ale is also very good.

              Also, why the HFCS hate? I do not think that cane sugar is inherently better than corn syrup as a sweetener. They just have a different mouth feel, and sometimes one is more appropriate to a certain flavor profile than another. I don't think Saranac uses HFCS, but Vernor's does; both are excellent and well suited to their flavors.

              1 Reply
              1. re: lipoff

                I don't like the taste of HFCS (yes I can tell the difference), hence my preference to steer away from it.

              2. Have you tried the Grown-Up Soda (GUS) version? I like it as it's not too sweet, but it is also not as gingery as it could be, either - widely available around Cambridge -Iggy's Bakery on Fawcett St. near Fresh Pond rotary always has several flavors available - and it is listed on the website as available at Central Bottle, Whole Foods, and Pemberton Market

                1. Q makes one as well, but I haven't tried it.

                  1. I recommend Bruce Cost. Very simple, a bit spicy, and extremely refreshing. And a great digestif after a rich meal. They also make a pomegranate ginger ale but I haven't tried it yet.

                    13 Replies
                        1. re: Allstonian

                          I bought some Bruce Cost at H-Mart tonight. Turns out I've had it before, at Petsi Pie, where they sell it by the bottle.

                          Thanks for the recommendation.

                      1. re: eclecticsynergy

                        Never had it, but it sounds great with real ginger (not extract) and real sugar. Sold at H-Mart in Amherst.

                        1. re: grampart

                          The Burlington H-Mart has it as well (I haven't looked at the new Central Square one). The pomegranate one is delicious although always has a lot of sediment in it.

                          The GUS and Maine Root ones are also quite good -- GUS is very mild but also very low in sweetness, whereas the Maine Root is spicier and sweeter.

                          1. re: antimony

                            I really like Maine Root's Ginger Beer - do they also make a Ginger Ale? Where is it available in the area?

                            1. re: rlh

                              I think all of us mentioning it mean the "ginger beer" -- I've never heard someone try to distinguish between ginger "ale" and ginger "beer". I get it at Whole Foods.

                              1. re: antimony

                                No snarking intended - to me, they are fundamentally different products in that true ginger beer is produced by fermentation (and requires more patience to make) whereas ginger ale is a flavored, carbonated beverage (non-fermented)- here's a longer discussion for further reference:

                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/391817

                                1. re: antimony

                                  You can't make a Moscow Mule with ginger ale. Well, I guess you could, but it wouldn't be a Moscow Mule.

                            2. re: grampart

                              There is no H-Mart in Amherst. It appears that Bruce Cost ginger ale is sold at Atkins Farm in Amherst, and at H-Mart in Burlington (and possibly also in the Cambridge H-Mart.)
                              http://www.freshgingerale.com/where-t...

                              1. re: Allstonian

                                Just reporting the info on the Bruce Cost website.

                                1. re: grampart

                                  ??? So am I. I think you may have mis-read it. See the link in my post.

                          2. I'm a Thomas Kemper aficionado from way back, their root beer in particular. I once found Thomas Kemper at the Wegmans in Northborough but it's not at the Chestnut Hill store, which is accessible via the T. It's available seasonally at Harry & David stores. I know the OP doesn't have transportation but thought I'd add this info to the list for other TK soda fans out there.

                            Also, donlan, keep an eye on the company website because I read awhile back that they're planning a national expansion.

                            1. Your question inspired me to open a bottle of ginger ale I bought a little while ago and never got around to trying. "Q Ginger - Superior Ginger Ale." Lists organic agave, ginger extract, extracts of lemon juice, coriander, cardamom, cayenne, orange peel, rose oil. Slightly frosted wine style bottle with white and red label. Good stuff, trouble is I don't recall where I bought it. Possibly Whole Foods.

                              1. I think Ginger People is excellent, especially if you like it strong. (Although you can modulate the strength by how much you roll the bottle to pick up the ginger sediment before drinking.) Some Whole Foods carry it. As a runner-up, Maine Root's Spicy Ginger Beer is very good. Whole Foods has it. Both are made with sugar cane and ginger; no extraneous junk.

                                1. Foxon Park in East Haven, CT makes a terrific ginger ale. I discovered it at Pepe's a few years ago. Rumor has it that you can get it at Wegman's but I have not sought it out yet.

                                    1. I've become quite attached to the Bruce Cost ginger ale "Original", which, as recommended, I can buy from H-Mart in Central Square.

                                      My officemate also kindly bought me "Golden Ginger Ale" from Tendercrop in Newbury, Massachusetts, and I love it. They have a "Pale Dry Ginger" which I haven't tried yet, and also a Ginger Beer. I'll be asking for additional Golden Ginger Ale at the very least.

                                      Lastly, I scooped up some Maine Root from Whole Foods, which I don't like as much as Bruce Cost or Tendercrop, but is better than the Whole Foods 365 brand (it's much more expensive, though).

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: donlan

                                        I didn't like Maine Root (though I love their blueberry soda!) and the Fever Tree. They both had this medicinal ginger funk/ater-taste that ruined it for me. I really enjoyed the Bruce Cost though. It had nice spiciness and no funk. It's not the favorite of the kinds I've tried.

                                      2. Doesn't meet the OP's criteria (due to HFCS), but it's worth noting that one can finally buy Vernors fairly reliably at Wegmans.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: dtremit

                                          Unfortunately, HFCS is the least of its problems. Vernors sadly doesn't taste anything like it used to.