The first soda made in the United States was Vernor's Ginger Ale. It was made in Detroit, Michigan in 1866 by a man named James Vernor. He owned a drug store for 30 years and sold the ginger ale there. He later opened a factory to producer it on a large scale.
Ginger beer, on the other hand, has a much stronger ginger flavor than ginger ale. It is made with fermented ginger, lemon juice or citric acid, and sometimes lemon peel. It is made in alcoholic or non-alcoholic versions.
Golden ginger ale is another form of ginger ale, generally sweet tasting and has a very strong ginger spice flavor. Many believe it was brought into North America by migrants from Eastern Europe.