Last Updated on December 24, 2019
EDITOR’S NOTE: Updated with more information related to the ginger beer’s ingredients.
Ginger is a flowering plant from China. It is well-known for its medicinal benefits, established by science. It is a popular component of many beverages, including the cult favorite kombucha and the legendary ginger ale.
Ginger beer is a cousin of ginger ale, although it differs in a couple of respects. One, ginger beer is brewed, whereas ginger ale is a carbonated ginger beverage. Two, ginger beer can contain alcohol, where ginger ale does not.
In other words, ginger beer is a kind of beer, while ginger ale is a kind of soda. Both are carbonated and both have ginger, but the differences in preparation lead to different beverages.
Aldi sells a ginger beer. Sort of.
Summit Sparkling Ginger Beer is sold at Aldi for $2.99 for a pack of four 12-ounce bottles. It’s a Seasonal Favorite, meaning it’s available in stores for extended periods through select seasons. (In our area it is in stores around the Christmas holiday.) We typically find it nestled among the other carbonated beverages in the store, such as the sodas. It’s stored at room temperature in-store, but you’ll want to refrigerate it before consuming.
This brew is, as the bottle and packaging clearly note, a non-alcoholic concoction.
To crack it open, you’ll need a bottle opener.
If you’ve never had ginger beer before, you may be wondering how it tastes compared to ginger ale. The answer is that it’s significantly different.
For one, the ginger flavor is a lot stronger. A lot. Where ginger ale has more a subtle, sweet ginger flavor, the ginger flavor in ginger beer is sharp and prominent. For the ginger ale fan who has never had ginger beer, it’s a definite adjustment.
Two, the ginger beer has more of a burn going down. I thought the burn got stronger as I drank more, but suffice to say that it does more to the throat. If you like some burn in your drink you’ll like this; if you prefer something mild and smooth, this is not it.
Nutritionally, ginger beer is a typical carbonated beverage, with a high sugar content.
But what’s more notable is the ingredients list:
The ginger beer contains the likes of sugar, citric acid, food starch (modified), vegetable oil, and the ever-mysterious “natural flavors.” What isn’t listed is, well, ginger.
So, what’s the deal?
Apparently there are different kinds of products that fall under the umbrella of ginger beer, and in the non-alcoholic versions, ginger may not be a component. Coca-Cola, for example, makes a non-alcoholic ginger beer popular in east Africa called Stoney that, as best as we can tell, doesn’t contain any ginger.
In other words, some ginger beer is an authentic ginger beer, while other varieties are more of a ginger beer soft drink that adds flavors to imitate ginger beer. The Aldi version looks like it falls in that latter category. We’ll leave it to individual consumers to sort out how they feel about this.
Summit Ginger Beer is a fascinating drink, with a strong ginger flavor and no small amount of burn going down. If that’s your style, then you’ll want to give this a try. On the other hand, if you’re a ginger ale fan and you like a mild beverage, be aware that this isn’t ginger ale. It’s also worth noting that this beverage doesn’t appear to actually have ginger in it, so make of that what you will.
The ingredients of this ginger beer are: “carbonated water, invert sugar, citric acid, sodium benzoate (preservative), food starch modified, natural flavor, eater gum, caramel color, and brominated vegetable oil (soybean and sunflower).” No ginger. And vegetable oil.
Thank you for pointing that out. We try to be conscientious about talking ingredients, but for whatever reason I didn’t discuss it here. I’ve revamped the review with a fuller discussion on the topic.
I can’t seem to find any of these summit glass bottles at the Aldi in north Carolina
The post mentions this ginger beer usually only shows up at Aldi during the winter holidays. Wait a couple of months and you might have more luck finding it in stores.
Mid October, 2022, non-standard item advertised in Pennsylvania flyer @3.99. If you Rachael would like to accompy me to Jamaica, B&G Ginger beer is what you seek but is a bit sweet. Check the ethnic isle in your supermarket. Labels toute virtues but this GB review & ingredients list makes it a non-purchase. Fell for it with another brand once.
Thanks to the other commentors.
the natural flavors come from chili peppers (ie the “burn” you feel). Damn shame it’s not real, was hoping for something cheap for mixers.
I was fooled by summit as well, aldi’s was out and I was on the hunt. Found a ginger beer drink at BJs and did a comparison that when I found out there was no ginger and high sugar content un summit. Now Fever tree is only 110 calories and has organic ginger. This is now my go to drink
If it has no artificial flavor, isnt the natural flavor ginger? Otherwise, where does the ginger flavor come from?
Natural flavors are not manufactured all that different from artificial flavors. While the natural flavor in this might contain something related to ginger, it’s not pure ginger. Here’s more information on what natural flavors are: https://www.cnn.com/2015/01/14/health/feat-natural-flavors-explained
Sure has a burn going down. Might be better over ice. Might be good for soaking meat in it before smoking. I’ll give that a try. Otherwise not for my taste.
I love ginger beer and was excited to see this Aldi. So excited that I didn’t look at the ingredients until after tasted it. The flavor wasn’t bad, the burn was spot on to ginger. However, my tastebuds knew that they had been fooled. I read the ingredients with disappointment. I was sad to see this was an imposter. Especially since Aldi has such a nice variety of healthy foods, and organic fruits and vegetables.
We love ginger beer and will read the ingredients next time. We were excited to see it in Aldi and at a great price but prefer the ginger.
Is this product gluten free
My husband loves Aldi’s, Summig Ginger Beer. This is his drink of choice year round. We would really like to the the seasonal selling to year round selling of this great alternative to colas and beer. Also, when inclined, it helps make a good Mule!
Did you find in your Moscow mule it was very bitter? We used it in out with vodka and it was very bitter unsure why. We even added the fresh squeezed limes.
I was also disappointed that there was no ginger in this drink. Psychologically I’d like some ginger to offset the high 200 calories. lol 🙂 … I’ve taken to adding 1/2 teaspoon of ginger to the bottle.
What for of ginger do you add?
I contacted Aldi’s and asked them specifically if Summit Ginger Beer contains any ginger. The following is their rather unconvincing response:
Thank you for contacting us.
The requested information is below:
The Summit Ginger Beer does contain ginger.
Disclaimer: It is important to understand this information may vary for this product from time to time and by region due to differing product suppliers and formula changes. While we can confirm the information provided above is accurate based on the specific product information you provided at this time, the nutritional information may not be the same for all product nationwide or for future product purchases. We encourage consumers to check both the ingredient list and contains statement each time they buy a product.
Should you have any further questions, please contact us at (800)325-7894. Our hours of operation are Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm. To better assist you, please provide the case number located above by pressing 7 in the main menu when contacting us.
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Does this ginger beer have caffeine?
My Aldi has ginger beer right across from the checkout lines pretty much all year. Caribbean customers seem to think it’s pretty authentic.
Wow! I was shocked that ginger is not one of the ingredients in summit ginger beer. Spent all afternoon looking for this brand. I love it though and, hope Aldi will resume the sale of this product. Love it with Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey & lime over ice.
Very good on flavor & pop since I like my ginger strong. But i can tell real ginger from fake. This is really an asian version ginger beer whereby they use some sort of chili or spice pepper to imitate the ginger burn. I’d bet Aldi’s “Natural Flavor” includes some sort of pepper. Nevertheless, I love to this as a mixer for mules, bourbon and rum drinks. beware the 200 calories & 48g of Sugar.
I’m so disappointed in Summit beer. This was an exceptional product when it contained ginger and real sugar. The taste now is leaves an aftertaste from the inverted sugar (fake sugar taste) and the “spices”. I have an allergy to corn syrup and sugar substitutes so this was perfect for me as I love Moscow Mules and Summit is much cheaper than Cock and Bull (half the price) but I no longer will be buying Summit.
I hope the company saved enough money but making these new changes–which I’m presuming were cost cutting measures, because they make lose a lot of money from disappointed customers like me.
Careful with the canned Summit Ginger Beers, they have High Fructose Corn Syrup listed as the 2nd ingredient!
I was wondering about that – was hoping to find that it Was Not the case in this article but I don’t see it addressed so I assume (to prevent allergy reactions) that it is corn syrup 🥺
It’s invert sugar, which is not the same as corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup. Invert sugar is just made from table sugar and water. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/invert-sugar#the-basics
First and last time we’ll buy Summit Ginger Beer…found the calories, but where is the Ginger?!
Disappointed..grabbed 2 of the 4 paks to get home and notice that it was not what I thought…taste is ok..very sweet and spicy but not the taste of real ginger beer.
The 6-pack cans of Summit Ginger Beer is so watered down that it’s basically Canada Dry. Terrible compared to the bottles.
Aldi’s Summit ginger beer is as close to the Maine Root brand of ginger brew as one can get. I could care less whether it contains REAL ginger, is organic or not, etc. It just plain tastes refreshingly good anytime but especially on a hot Summer’s day!
Enjoy it for what it is, not what you think it should be.
I agree about tasting good, which is why I continue to buy it (only in my community’s two locations during end-of-year holidays). I had no idea there was no ginger in it, because I didn’t feel it necessary to read the label. However, I do feel they should not be calling it “ginger beer” if there is no ginger in it… but I suppose it would look awkward to label it as Ginger(-like) Beer…
Would you address the question of invert sugar? One of my kiddos has an allergy, so we prevent him from drinking this since invert sugar can be code for corn syrup or for HFCS. I’d love for you to clarify that this is NOT that, so he can join the rest of the family without skin rashes or digestive problems …😁
No guarantees, but Aldi might be able to tell you: https://www.aldireviewer.com/contact-aldi/
It looks like invert sugar is just table sugar and water. No corn syrup. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/invert-sugar#the-basics
A better buy and more authentic real ginger beer is Goya 2 liter Jamaican style, about $2/bottle.