Our Overall Ratings:
Best: Bundaberg - all around, the best performer both on its own and in mixed drinks. Consistently ranked in the top two. Plus, we like that its actually fermented.
Second: Cock 'n Bull - the "original" for Moscow Mules was one that we preferred for mixing, even though we didn't like it as much on its own (but who drinks it that way anyway)
Third: Fentimans - the most unusual (in a good way) of the bunch, with less sweetness and more rich spice, with a genuine-tasting flavor
We did not care at all for the Reed's Original or the D&G's Old Jamaican. The Barritt's was certainly acceptable, but not our preferred choice if we have one, and the Ginger People version seemed somewhat limited in its application. Although we used it at our event, we probably wouldn't choose the Sioux City again, unless someone asked for it.
Tasting Notes on their Own:
- Cock 'n Bull - clear in color, sweet, relatively light, with a bit of ginger tang/spice. Very bubbly, like a soft drink ought to be.
- Ginger People - very gingery, not really spicy though, sweet and lightly carbonated, with caramel notes. It was a very light yellow/tan color.
- D&G Old Jamaican - Very bubbly, sweet, with ginger tang and heat. Dominant lemon/citrus notes, but with a less genuine flavor than the other two above.
- Reed's - Dominant honey smell and taste. Had ginger and spice notes, but the honey dominated the flavor. It was sweet, with medium carbonation.
- Bundaberg - Nice ginger flavor, with a bit of tang - more ginger than Cock 'n Bull. Sweet with medium carbonation.
- Fentimans - Spicy, a blend of ginger and other spices (we could smell the juniper). Left a bit of heat in the back of my throat. Less sweet, well carbonated.
- Barritt's - Gingery, with a tiny bit of tang. Sweet, with a bit more flavor overall than Cock 'n Bull, although very similar to the Cock 'n Bull.
- Sioux City - darkest in color (colorings are added). Spicy, in a nondescript kind of way, with a nice ginger nose. A hint of heat, but very soda-like.
- Cock 'n Bull - a light, refreshing version of the drink, with moderate sweetness and light ginger. Well balanced.
- Ginger People - I liked it better with the lime, and would use a lot of lime with this ginger beer. My other half did not like it and thought it conflicted with the lime. The ginger is a true ginger flavor, and it lingers on the finish.
- D&G Old Jamaican - Overbearing, overwhelmed the drink, with an artificial taste. The citrus notes dominated, with nondescript spice in the finish.
- Reed's - Neither of us liked this one for this drink. The honey flavors dominated, and it didn't really work in the drink at all.
- Bundaberg - Nice balance of ginger flavor, with a bit of tang - more character than Cock 'n Bull, but seemed a tad sweeter.
- Fentimans - Had the most character & spice, and was less sweet than the others. One of us loved that peppery spice, while the other of us merely liked it.
- Barritt's - Light ginger, very bubbly. It was well balanced and had ginger and spice flavors, but seemed rather average.
- Sioux City - One of us thought it was boring, and that the alcohol came through over the beer (despite my rigor in pouring it exactly the same way 8 times). One of us thought it was spicy in a nondescript way, but too much like cola.