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Rootbeer!!!....

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someyoungguyy Feb 28, 2008 01:40 PM

Who likes good ol' fashioned Rootbeer???

I like most of the standards... A&W, MUG, Sarsaparilla, Barq's. Also Thomas Kemper is good, but one of the best Rootbeer's I've had was made by the Coca-Cola Company and only available in fountain dispenser's called Ramblin' Rootbeer. Your Thoughts??? Drink Up!!:)

check this out.... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Root_beer

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  1. FoodieKat Feb 28, 2008 06:19 PM

    I love root beer. My favorite commercial brands of root beer are IBC and Barq's. Not crazy about Mug or even A & W but will drink them in a pinch if I'm really in the mood for root beer.

    1. b
      Blush Feb 28, 2008 06:39 PM

      I've always loved Hire's Root Beer. I have friends who swear by Dad's but it doesn't seem that special to me.

      1. chefjeffd Feb 28, 2008 07:28 PM

        well I am a fan of Hank's and lets not forget about Virgil's...and of course home brewed root beer is a good way to go...

        1. livetocook Feb 28, 2008 07:30 PM

          For Diet, A&W hands down.

          1. b
            bygnerd Feb 28, 2008 07:36 PM

            Wasn't Ramblin' Rootbeer a 70s thing? It's not still made is it? I was just talking over root beer the other day with a friend and we universally disdain the "Natural" brand root beer and enjoy A&W and Barq's most out of the major national brands. It's been ages since I had a Dad's but I did recently find a consistent source of Hire's and will be trying that out again soon. There's a local brewery here in Iowa called Millstream that does a decent root beer. Goose Island out of Chicago does an ok RB as well. What about Jones Soda? Do they make a root beer?

            Also, where does birch beer fit in for you folks? I'd never had it until I went to Philly for the first time about 7 years ago. Interesting, funky, definitely quite different. It's definitely not widely available in the MW.

            1. j
              jwagnerdsm Feb 28, 2008 07:55 PM

              Mug, Barq's. I used to work at A&W and even mixed the syrup for the root beer. I liked it a lot when I was a kid but find it to be a bit sweet now.

              1. c
                chef4hire Feb 28, 2008 08:12 PM

                Stewart's is my favorite diet (yes, it's really good) and straight up the best is Abita (an Abita root beer float is dinner for me sometimes...

                2 Replies
                1. re: chef4hire
                  mrsfury Feb 29, 2008 04:17 PM

                  Abita is my favorite too. Where do you get yours, chef? I also like (and just made last week) Zatarain's root beer extract mixed with sugar and water. Been drinking that since I was a kid.

                  1. re: chef4hire
                    azhotdish Mar 3, 2008 09:58 PM

                    Here in AZ, we have a local shop that sells MANY different kind of root beers, and a good selection of them (including Abita, which I love) are available to purchase online.
                    http://popsoda.com/noname.html

                  2. madgreek Feb 29, 2008 02:54 AM

                    I really like root beer. IBC is the best. Actually, along the same line of thinking, I have recently developed a love for birch beer. It's not as refined and creamy as root beer, but has a very interesting dynamic to it that's difficult to describe. Have you ever tried it? If not, you should. Lovers of root beer would appreciate it.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: madgreek
                      s
                      spellweaver16 Feb 29, 2008 05:53 PM

                      I love birch beer. It's sharper, definitely has a good bite to it. They taste just like root beer barrel candies to me.

                    2. c
                      CDouglas Feb 29, 2008 06:29 AM

                      Boylan's makes the best I have tasted. Their birch beer is also amazingly good.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: CDouglas
                        a
                        aynrandgirl Apr 13, 2008 12:36 AM

                        Seconded.

                      2. s
                        someyoungguyy Feb 29, 2008 12:53 PM

                        http://listverse.com/miscellaneous/to...

                        nice list of discontinued sodas....

                        Coke II, WTF??? I only remmeber NEW COKE and Vanilla COKE!!! LOL!!!

                        1. im_nomad Feb 29, 2008 04:09 PM

                          Root Beer is one of my all time favorite soft drinks, i'm a fan of the diet varieties (just don't like the syrupy flavor of the regular as an adult ).

                          Stewarts is great, as is A&W but that's best served in the big frosty mugs. Diet mug tasted watery to me last time i had it.

                          A nearby microbrewery also makes their own root beer and such...mmmmmmmm.

                          1. c
                            CPunches Feb 29, 2008 04:32 PM

                            a&w, with a big frosty mug! can't go wrong with a bacon cheeseburger alongside too!

                            1. m
                              ML8000 Feb 29, 2008 07:27 PM

                              I still remember Hire's. IBC is close but not quite it. Both tend to have a dry finish. Chilled and in a root beer float, that's important.

                              Any one know where you can get Hire's?

                              1. BarmyFotheringayPhipps Feb 29, 2008 07:51 PM

                                Here in New England, Polar has just released a Polar Classics series of soft drinks in 12-oz glass bottles. The root beer is outstanding, one of the best I've ever had.

                                I take a certain bizarre pride in the fact that both my first name and my last name are the names of brands of root beer, although I don't think my last name's brand is still active.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps
                                  Aromatherapy Apr 12, 2008 04:28 PM

                                  Thanks for the tip. For those who are interested, the Polar Classic line is made with cane sugar.

                                2. revsharkie Mar 1, 2008 11:00 AM

                                  My favorite is Barq's. I moved to Oregon about the same time Barq's became available there. The commercials were hilarious..."You'll never believe it in a million years, but you live forever when you drink Barq's Root Beer."

                                  It's not so syrupy sweet, has some bite to it. But I can't get it here, except in the fountain at Subway. (15 miles away, in the next town over, you can get it at the Kum & Go, but then I can't get my bottle deposit back without driving back over there, because the local bottle place won't take them back if no one in town sells it.)

                                  1. hotteacher1976 Mar 2, 2008 04:19 PM

                                    Hire's, A&W, Barq's, and Mug gets my vote in that order.

                                    1. chelleyd01 Mar 2, 2008 04:29 PM

                                      Hansen's creamy root beer!

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: chelleyd01
                                        coney with everything Jan 24, 2009 04:27 AM

                                        Second that--since they changed from HFCS to cane sugar for sweetener we have been drinking this regularly. It has a nice deep almost anise taste. The elimination of HFCS seems to have clarified the flavor.

                                      2. a
                                        aelph Mar 2, 2008 05:24 PM

                                        Dog n Suds rootbeer gets my vote; I've never had it at the diners, but it's available regionally in glass bottles. Rich, creamy, sweet depth of flavor with none of the obsequious, heavy-handedness of some small producer rootbeers: i.e. strong vanilla or cinnamon notes.

                                        I'm amused that many Europeans can't stomach rootbeer, birch beer, or sarsaparilla flavors...they associate them with medicinal and cleaning products.

                                        1. p
                                          pengcast Mar 3, 2008 08:55 PM

                                          On a trip to the Bay area about 10 -12 years ago, I stayed at the Westin at the airport and they served the best root beer I have ever had. It had a big red apple on the label and was named something like Harvest Time. Then when we went to the Napa Valley I had another microbrewed (??) root beer that was almost as good. I think I remember the root beer long after the wine.

                                          1. meatn3 Mar 3, 2008 09:20 PM

                                            Sprecher's is tops! Not always easy to find. Definitely not easy to hoard - gremlins in the house find it fast. But it is worth seeking out.
                                            www.sprecherbrewery.com

                                            1. b
                                              Big Bad Voodoo Lou Mar 3, 2008 10:18 PM

                                              I'm a root beer aficionado, and the best I've ever tried is a cheap/discount brand called Big Shot, only available in Louisiana. I got a 2-liter bottle at a convenience store to last me for a long road trip from New Orleans back to Gainesville, FL, and it was the smoothest, creamiest root beer I've ever had -- almost like a blend of root beer and vanilla cream soda. On a later trip to N'awlins, I came home with a case of eight 2-liter bottles! Unfortunately, I haven't had it in years, won't be going back to the city any time soon, and the Big Shot company doesn't do any mail-order business or sales outside of LA.

                                              Speaking of New Orleans and root beer, the Barq's you can buy there in 10-ounce glass bottles tastes totally different from the usual Coke-owned Barq's you get in silver cans everywhere else. It tasted much better out there, and was perfect for washing down a muffaletta sandwich from the Central Grocery Store. I'm not a big fan of Barq's normally, though.

                                              As for everyday root beers, I'm still partial to IBC, with A&W as a close second. Those make the best frosty-mug floats with Breyer's Vanilla ice cream. Stewart's is good, but if I have my choice of Stewart's, I prefer their Orange and Cream soda. Now that my girlfriend and I don't drink, I'll often pick up a beautiful mini-keg of Virgil's high-quality root beer from Cost Plus World Market, and we show up to parties with it (where it is inevitably a huge hit, even among the alcohol drinkers).

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou
                                                v
                                                vttp926 Apr 12, 2008 07:51 PM

                                                oh man i didn't even think of big shot. didn't even know they were still in business. that is something i really miss from louisiana.

                                                1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou
                                                  Bill Hunt Apr 13, 2008 07:09 PM

                                                  Barq's is originally from Biloxi, MS, and the New Orleans bottlings (the Biloxi plant is long gone) IS the best. We have found it (Coca-Cola) in several areas, where we've lived, but still gravitate to the "real one," when in NOLA, or the Gulf Coast.

                                                  Glad to see that you mentioned Stewart's, as I was not sure if they were still around. I responded with a rec. for them, before finding their name in your reply.

                                                  Hunt

                                                  1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou
                                                    Bill Hunt Apr 13, 2008 07:12 PM

                                                    Speaking of New Orleans' Rootbeer, did you ever have the draught-drawn "Frost Top" offering? It is/was very good. Do not know how far abroad their franchise might have ventured. To me, it was head-n-shoulders above A&W.

                                                    Hunt

                                                  2. a
                                                    ATaleOfFiction Mar 4, 2008 09:00 PM

                                                    My main brand of root beer has been Virgil's. As far as birch beer... I absolutely love Boylan's Creamy Red Birch

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: ATaleOfFiction
                                                      h
                                                      heypielady Mar 11, 2008 07:33 AM

                                                      Mmm a second for Virgil's. That's definitely my favorite. My favorite growing up was Fanta rootbeer on tap at Friendly's- I think they've switched over to Barq's in the last 10 years.

                                                    2. k
                                                      KevinB Mar 5, 2008 05:18 AM

                                                      Our cottage is on Lake Champlain. On our many grocery trips to Vermont, there were many types of soda available that we couldn't get in Quebec - Shasta, Faygo (especially Red Pop - I was a kid, eh?), and a brand of root beer called "Nehi" that I thought was way better than Hires.

                                                      1. s
                                                        seconds Mar 5, 2008 01:58 PM

                                                        Henry Weinhard's root beer is hands down the best one I've tasted. It's only sold in certain states - the only places I've had it are Minnesota and Colorado. Far better than Barq's, A&W, and even IBC.

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: seconds
                                                          s
                                                          someyoungguyy Mar 5, 2008 02:36 PM

                                                          http://www.bevmo.com/productinfo.asp?...

                                                          Henry Weinhard's RB is sold at BevMo stores. $5.99 for a sixer and they will ship to you.:)

                                                          1. re: seconds
                                                            tracylee Jan 23, 2009 02:27 PM

                                                            It's carried in many stores here in Oregon.

                                                            1. re: tracylee
                                                              Michelly Jan 12, 2010 05:03 PM

                                                              Second Henry Weinhardt's. I find it perfectly balanced and it is my favorite off-the-store-shelf root beer.
                                                              Whenever we go to San Antonio, we go to a German deli called Shiloh's, where they make their own root beer, and you can get it by the pitcher along with your braunschweiger.

                                                          2. s
                                                            soft tofu Mar 5, 2008 03:36 PM

                                                            I love root beer! While technically not root beer, reading this post reminded me of New York Seltzer's and maybe 5th Ave root beer flavor.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: soft tofu
                                                              revsharkie Mar 9, 2008 01:42 PM

                                                              I used to love the New York Seltzer root-beer flavor! You can't still get it, can you?

                                                              1. re: revsharkie
                                                                BarmyFotheringayPhipps Mar 9, 2008 07:45 PM

                                                                There was a weird spurt of sightings of New York Seltzer items a few years ago, only in dollar stores, and bizarrely, all sugar-free with Nutrasweet. Apparently, someone bought the defunct company's trademarks and tried to relaunch it but failed. Shame: I loved their raspberry soda.

                                                            2. JMF Mar 10, 2008 04:14 AM

                                                              Mmmmmm... Root Beer! It's the only soft drink I have except for an occasional Cel-Ray. My fav is Souix City Sarsparilla.

                                                              1. s
                                                                swsidejim Mar 10, 2008 05:31 AM

                                                                My favorite root beers are:

                                                                #1 Sprecher
                                                                #2 Goose Island - made with cane sugar...mmm..

                                                                1. j
                                                                  Jambalaya Mar 10, 2008 06:19 AM

                                                                  Let's not forget the fave of Achievers everywhere - Sioux City Sarsaparilla!

                                                                  1. j
                                                                    Jimbosox04 Mar 10, 2008 06:57 AM

                                                                    I like IBC, A&W, they are the best for an Old Time "Root Beer Float".

                                                                    How about Cream Soda, did we forget that one.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: Jimbosox04
                                                                      Richard 16 Apr 13, 2008 08:50 PM

                                                                      There's a local root beer by Fitz's, somewhat "licoracey" -- but their cream soda is just amazing!

                                                                      For root beer my favorites are IBC or Stewarts.

                                                                    2. a
                                                                      aynrandgirl Apr 13, 2008 12:39 AM

                                                                      A&W is only good if you get some at an actual A&W restaurant. The supermarket stuff is horrid. Way too much carbonation, for one thing. Root beer should have very little carbonation.

                                                                      1. h
                                                                        HillJ Apr 13, 2008 10:22 AM

                                                                        When we were kids you could buy frozen root beer pops on a stick; now we make them with Stewart's rootbeer and an old Tupperware ice pop form.

                                                                        Some of the natural root beers and birch beers found at Whole Foods or TJ's are interesting..just pricey.

                                                                        Oh, and I think we'd all agree a frosty mug is the only way to go!

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: HillJ
                                                                          BerkshireTsarina Apr 13, 2008 05:55 PM

                                                                          A local restaurant here in the Berkshires, Dakota, features root beer that's made for them. Fabulous. But there's no indication on the bottle label of who's made it for them. Smart Dakota!
                                                                          When I was very young and would spend summers in El Paso, Texas, there was a drive-in chain called The Oasis that featured root beer frosteds. They were to die for (not an expression ever dreamed of in those days). I haven't come across them in the decades since, but still remember them with longing. Anyone else ever have a root beer frosted?

                                                                          1. re: HillJ
                                                                            im_nomad Jan 24, 2009 05:49 AM

                                                                            I think I remember those....weren't they called slush pops or something? Came in a load of flavours, but root beer was one of them.

                                                                            I love root beer flavored anything really...including those bottle cap candies...root beer was always my favorite.

                                                                          2. Bill Hunt Apr 13, 2008 07:06 PM

                                                                            Stewart's, if they are still around. It is/was a bit of a boutique rootbeer, but great. Who knows, the ads that I shot for them, years ago, still might be used in their PoP ads. Give this one a try.

                                                                            Hunt

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                              s
                                                                              SharaMcG Apr 14, 2008 06:44 AM

                                                                              I grew up in New Jersey and have very fond memories of Stewart's Root Beer in the frosty mug purchased at the Stewarts Stand. Thick, creamy and delish! I also recall that Sears (yes, as in Sears and Roebuck) used to have Hires Root Beer Stands in their concession area. This was a long time ago--in the early 1960s, but that was the best root beer I've ever had. Anyone else remember that? The canned or bottled varieties (Hire's or Stewart's) you can purchase in the supermarket now don't even come close.

                                                                              1. re: SharaMcG
                                                                                jfood Jun 7, 2008 02:06 PM

                                                                                Like you Stewarts in NJ was the best. The major difference was preservatives. When you bought a quart of RB from Stewarts they told you to drink it in 48 hours.

                                                                                Yeah right, what was the chance of a quart of Stewarts lasting 48 hours in any house in NJ.

                                                                            2. Soop Apr 14, 2008 01:22 AM

                                                                              Hey! I love rootbeer so much, but you just can't get it in England - not even in the massive out-of-town stores. Well you can, but one place I know charges nearly £2 (about $4) for a 250ml bottle.

                                                                              I'm gonna look for a recipe - maybe I can make my own...

                                                                              *edit* bah - it takes nearly 2 weeks to "brew"

                                                                              1. c
                                                                                cmvbbay Jun 7, 2008 02:00 PM

                                                                                Love Hires but can't find it anywhere. Last time I saw it was at a grocery store in Vacaville, CA - The Nugget - and that was about 3 years ago. I always have Thomas Kemper in the fridge and they've just released a low cal version plus one with cane sugar. The Jones rootbeer has cane sugar but it's not to my taste.

                                                                                Now in Washington, had to get used to the "pop" vs. "soda" debate, so I settle for "soft drink".

                                                                                Kemper recently stopped making grape soda, so naturally that is all I want these days.

                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                1. re: cmvbbay
                                                                                  m
                                                                                  mar52 Jun 7, 2008 08:01 PM

                                                                                  Hasn't been available for years but at the Los Angeles County Fair I used to get one on tap.

                                                                                  Ricky's Root Beer.

                                                                                  Didn't matter if it was in a plastic cup or glass mug. It was the best, smoothest, creamiest root beer I've ever had.

                                                                                  I've tried most listed here and none come close.

                                                                                  I'll keep trying.

                                                                                  1. re: mar52
                                                                                    Soop Jan 23, 2009 04:49 AM

                                                                                    Sounds small time - maybe if you find ricky, he'll give you the recipe?

                                                                                  2. re: cmvbbay
                                                                                    billieboy Jan 23, 2009 09:27 AM

                                                                                    Oh God!!! the memories. I used to love Hire's Root Beer as a kid. Haven't seen it in years. Miss Vernor's Ginger Ale too.

                                                                                    1. re: billieboy
                                                                                      tracylee Jan 23, 2009 02:29 PM

                                                                                      We're able to get the Vernor's Ginger Ale here at our local Kroger subsidiary, Fred Meyer's.

                                                                                  3. honkman Jan 23, 2009 02:48 PM

                                                                                    Rootbeer- Worst thing I ever tasted.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: honkman
                                                                                      s
                                                                                      Saddleoflamb Jan 23, 2009 02:55 PM

                                                                                      Saranac brewery makes a good root beer.

                                                                                    2. Passadumkeg Jan 23, 2009 03:10 PM

                                                                                      Posties Root Beer, from my home town, McAdoo, Pa!

                                                                                      In Maine: Maine Root, Capt'n Ely's and Sea Dog.

                                                                                      Stewarts and Bryer's in the cardboard cylinders of my youth.

                                                                                      1. p
                                                                                        phantomdoc Jan 24, 2009 08:24 AM

                                                                                        Ellis Island Casino Restaurant and brewery in Las Vegas brews a nice root beer.

                                                                                        1. MsDiPesto Feb 2, 2009 08:34 AM

                                                                                          I'm avoiding HFCS, and my two current fave Root Beers are from Jones Soda, and Hansen. I can buy the Hansens in my local Trader Joes markets, and I really feel like I can taste every one of the ingredients in the Hansens. The cane sugar really makes it!

                                                                                          1. Will Owen Feb 2, 2009 09:47 AM

                                                                                            For me, the magic went away when the gummint outlawed sassafras root; pre-prohibition Hires had a minty tang that was lost in the newer formula and never came back. But country folk have their own ideas about what's good for you - when a big sassafras tree on my brother's property blew down in a storm some years ago, he had visits from neighbors he'd barely known or never met, and all the exposed roots were gone in a week.

                                                                                            I never liked root beer until a diner across the street started selling A&W the summer before I started 6th grade. That rich foamy brown stuff in a frozen mug, at just a nickel a shot, completely won me over. A Dog & Suds opened up when I was in high school, and that was good, too. Now I like IBC and Stewart's; I agree that Barq's on its home turf is vastly superior to the supermarket version, though it's possible that here in LA County our top purveyor of exotic sodas, Galco's in Highland Park, might have the NOLA version available.

                                                                                            1. workinglunches2 Feb 2, 2009 12:28 PM

                                                                                              The former Big Buck Brewery in Auburn Hills MI, used to have a in hose Root Beer/Birch Beer brew. REALLY miss that place. Now only the Gaylord MI location is still open (though I haven't been in years).

                                                                                              1. j
                                                                                                JeffSan Dec 7, 2009 08:08 AM

                                                                                                Have to drink Diet, and the best I've found are Diet A&W, Sprechers Lo-cal, Diet Dads (in bottles, the plastic and cans have a "wierd" taste). Some others have mentioned Diet Mug, but I have never seen Mug in Diet. The Dog and Suds Diet is good, but very difficult to find. By the way, the Sprechers contains just a small amount of honey, and does have a few calories, which is why it is sold as "lo-cal" instead of "diet". Faygo Diet is not too bad for an "off-brand", and some of the store brands are just o.k. Barq's has a "bite" to it, but is too carbonated, while IBC is just fair, and is priced above better-tasting root beers.
                                                                                                I haven't had or seen Hires in years, and am not aware of availability. In a neighboring city, there is a "Mason's" root beer stand and drive-in restaurant. The root beer there is good, but I haven't tried it since being relegated to "Diet".

                                                                                                1. MandalayVA Dec 7, 2009 08:13 AM

                                                                                                  I haven't seen Hires around here for a while but I do like Barq as far as commercial root beers go. The best local I've had is Saranac in New York--went to the Hallo Berlin pushcart in Manhattan and got one alongside a double soulfood combo. Awesome.

                                                                                                  1. a
                                                                                                    aynrandgirl Jan 4, 2010 05:21 PM

                                                                                                    Some of my favorites:

                                                                                                    St. Arnold
                                                                                                    Fitz’s
                                                                                                    Boylan’s
                                                                                                    Hank’s
                                                                                                    AJ Stephans
                                                                                                    Berghoff
                                                                                                    Capt’n Eli’s
                                                                                                    Sprecher

                                                                                                    I like Dad's too but the stores around here only seem to carry Dad's Cream Soda, but not the root beer (the rascals!).

                                                                                                    Virgil's and Waialua are just too bizarre tasting, I can't stand them.

                                                                                                    1. maria lorraine Jan 7, 2010 01:57 AM

                                                                                                      Frostop's is the best I've ever had -- it has that touch of wintergreen and other spices that make it seem like real ROOT beer. Available here and there around the US and based in Minnesota.

                                                                                                      My regular brand is Stewarts -- and the diet version is especially good for diet soda.

                                                                                                      And I adore root beer floats. Still.

                                                                                                      Seems like root beer has this new retro hipness now. Have you noticed restaurants brewing their own root beer, like Gale Gand in Chicago? Here in northern California, several microbreweries are also brewing root beer.

                                                                                                      We use to make root beer as kids -- actually make the brew, add yeast to carbonate it, bottle it and cap it with the old crown capper. It was fun -- one of my best childhood food memories. It's still fun to make, and tastes so much better than store bought.

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