Genuine ginger beer plant (GBP) is a rare culture of antiquity. Centuries ago it was popular among the British Isles in making a carbonated alcohol beverage with ginger for flavor. The culture is not really a plant, but a group of tiny grains, like semi-transparent rice granules. This 'plant' was used to ferment this sugar-water-ginger solution until popularity died out and ease of using conveniently dried baker's and brewer's yeast replaced it. These substitutes produce a gingery beer, but are not the same, just as bread and sourdough bread are not the same. The symbiotic qualities of bacteria and yeast of GBP, as with all of our cultures, make for a unique live and self-propagating culture that produces a truly rich flavor.
Most genuine ginger beer plant today has its origins from the German Culture Bank (including ours), one of the few places that preserved this symbiotic culture before it became completely extinct. Be cautious in buying GBP on the web, as many sources are simply sustained cultures developed from dried yeast or water kefir hybrids and are not the 'plant'.
We are so excited to add this to our collection of cultures. Our passion is to sustain and share these truly remarkable and oft unknown live cultures such as GBP- passing them along to others who also have a passion and appreciation for keeping such gems from nature alive for each generation and enjoying their many benefits.
We enjoy drinking this ourselves as a treat (has a bit of a kick to it, like a mix of kombucha and water kefir), and are very meticulous in making sure we nurture, feed and gently handle our GBP to promote a vibrant and healthy culture. It comes from our clean, smoke-free home and never comes in contact with any harmful metal or chemicals of any sort.
Ginger Beer vs Water Kefir
Both are symbiotic colonies of bacteria and yeast and perform similar functions of fermenting sugary-water, but that is about where the similarities end. Just like milk kefir and kombucha are cultures of the same principle yet totally different, the same can be said for ginger beer and water kefir.
Their shape, translucency, diet preferences, fermenting time and even mineral preferences differ. The resulting taste is also notably different. Ginger beer having a more sour bite - some even feel it's like a mix of a tart kombucha and sweet water kefir. The grains never get nearly as large as water kefir's greatest size, and do not form the same angular, clear grain - instead they are like a murky brown puffed rice. They can range in size from tiny little tapioca globs, to extra big pea-size blobs. GBP also grows much more slowly. It's easy to strain water kefir in a colander, but you might lose your ginger beer doing the same! Sometimes, you may even get a kombucha-like scoby on the top at the end of a ginger beer ferment (depending on time, ingredients and temperature)!
Try them both, and see for yourself! :)
Ginger Beer Plant
Traditional Live Culture
• Live, active and ready to produce ginger beer upon arrival.
• Available for International shipping as well
• For U.S. purchases we ship priority every Monday through Wednesday to ensure timely arrival and to avoid any delay over the weekend.
• Step-by-Step Instructions on how to make Ginger Beer