Thursday, July 5, 2007

Root Beer & Me

(No, that is not me. I was trying to photoshop Michael Moore in "Roger & Me" but since I don't have photoshop, it's been tough going and is one of the reasons I haven't posted in a while.)
The only sodas I'll drink these days are root beer and some kinds of ginger ale. I love the more expensive brands of root beer but drink them rarely, due to the high sugar content.

There are quite a few root beer resources on the Web:
--Root beer's history
--Root Beer World, a great site with reviews of hundreds of root beers
--Detailed directions for making root beer, which is quite an ambitious project

Not all root beers are vegan, since some contain honey. Here are brief reviews of root beers I have known.

Barq's: Decent flavor but overly carbonated. Root beer should not have big Coke-style bubbles. It should be more like an amber beer, with small, tingly bubbles. Also, I think root beer should be in a bottle, not a can.
Dominion: Nice carbonation and flavor. A tad too sweet. Contains honey.
IBC: Now this is root beer. Complex and good touch of wintergreen. Good availability as well.
Jones: Nice looking bottle, but disappointing taste and too much carbonation. See, the great root beers use a blend of herbs, extracts, & spices for their flavor. It's obvious that Jones is using pre-packaged "root beer extract" and no brewing is occurring.
Stewart's: I've had this but I can't accurately remember the flavor. Chime in if you've had it.
Virgil's: A masterpiece. It's usually pretty expensive, but it's obvious this root beer is handmade by someone who knows what they're doing. The anise is pronounced so you may not like it if you don't like licorice. Best of all, it's available in kegs!


Theresa said...

Root beer is called 'sarsparilla' in Australia. I personally prefer Ginger Beer, in fact, we're going to brew some of our own when it warms up again.

A friend of mine made his own root beer, maybe you could try it out?

sarah.lawrance said...

man oh man, i do loooove me some root beer!

i'll be in minneapolis again soon, and i am just dying to order something from pizza luce, since that'll give me an excuse to get some of the country's finest root beer :)


RV Amy said...

Theresa, the rootbeer recipes looked daunting indeed. How do you make Ginger beer?

Sarah, I was thinking of you when I wrote the root beer post. I gotta make it Minneapolis just to try the homemade RB. Sorry I didn't get to see you when you were last in town!

Theresa said...

Heh, we're cheating... we bought a pre-mixed can of syrup-y stuff, to which you add something like a kilo of sugar, and then sprinkle some yeast on top. Then you let it ferment, the same as for beer. Add more sugar and you get an alcoholic version.

Fin De Fichier said...

Have you had Sanbitter or Moxie? I'm into bitter sodas now. Mmmmmm gentian root. I even like bitter aperitifs, but as you know, I'm mostly a teetotaler. Both of those are disappointments on some level though. I want to make my own bitter soda. One of these days I plan to get a CO2 tank, install it in my cellar, and run a line to my kitchen. I want to make a super Moxie that will be even more bitter and incorporate some other flavors. I think a bitter raspberry soda could be interesting.