Someone who ran across my site made the assertion that Ginger Beer is possibly Australian in origin. I hadn’t heard that before, and so now I’m off on a fact hunt.
First things, putting “Ginger Beer” into Google as your search terms sure pulls up different hits than it used to, including this site with some simple Root Beer and Ginger Beer recipes. Pretty similar to the stuff that I’ve seen before, but quite nice to finally start seeing this sort of thing around the net. I sent mail off to see what they have to say on the topic of yeasts. Hopefully something helpful.
Anyway, not too much in the way of history, so I refined to “Ginger Beer History” to see what happened. Well, not so much about actual Ginger Beer history, but I did run across a micro-Birch Beer in the Rochester, NY area. Not what I was looking for, but always good to know about these sorts of things. I also turned up this site which is billed as “the comprehensive ginger site”. Still nothing really definitive.
After a bit more searching, it looks like the party line goes something along the lines of: Ginger beer is really old. There is some evidence that the Egyptians knew about it, or something very like it, and there is still a strong presence in sub-Saharan Africa of similar beverages.
So, probably not Australia.