Root Beer

2009/09/13 07:09:01
Since trying Black Bear's Caruso's Legacy Robusto root beer a few months ago, I've become interested in taste testing root beers.  I've occasionally enjoyed various root beer over the years, but this particular brand has really caught my attention.

Recent brands I've tried have been:

Caruso's Robusto - Excellent - nice overall blend of flavors (no corn syrup)
Virgils - Very Good - complex individual flavors
A&W in-store draught - Very Good - quite smooth  
IBC - Good, but certainly not worth its price or trying again
A&W cans - Fair
Barqs - Fair

So far, the bottled brands have been superior to the cans, although I've not tried enough for a good statistical judgment.  At this point, I question if there is a can vs. bottle difference or if it's simply because better root beers are packaged in glass.

Any suggestions for excellent root beers to look for?
carolina bob
Filet Mignon
Re:Root Beer 2009/09/13 10:06:28
Here's my Top Three List ( with apologies to Letterman ) of root beer brands:
             3. Stewart's ( primarily east coast )
             2. Sprecher's ( Wisconsin )
        ... and my number 1 brand of root beer:
             1. Dog n Suds ( midwest ) 
A&W is pretty good, but Barq's is rather mediocre. 
Filet Mignon
Re:Root Beer 2009/09/13 11:35:02

Dang! Butterscotch Root Beer
Re:Root Beer 2009/09/14 11:50:08
Blumer's (Monroe) and Gray's (Janesville) are another couple of decent Wisconsin root beers, although I don't claim to be a conny-sewer of that beverage so my opinion's probably worth only $.01 at best.
post edited by Brad_Olson - 2009/09/14 11:51:30
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Root Beer 2009/09/14 12:19:19
We can get Stewart's here in Minneapolis. 
Stewart's is good, as is Sprecher's, which is widely-available in Minnesota. 
But I think bottled or canned root beer pales in comparison to draft.   German restaurants sometimes brew their own. 
The Berghoff in Chicago had great root beer.   I haven't tried their O'Hare outpost, so I can't comment on that.
Schilo's German deli in San Antonio also has excellent root beer. 
Junior Burger
Re:Root Beer 2009/09/14 12:46:09
This website ranks and reviews hundreds of different  root beer brands. Check out
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Root Beer 2009/09/14 15:17:43
I recently came across an online auction for an old Richardson root beer fountain dispenser. These were in the shape of a barrel, made of wood, but actually contained a tank to hold syrup, maybe something to hold ice, and a connection to the carbonated water supply. They used to be in some five and dime store snack bars as well as in roadside restaurants. They had a distinct way of marking the barrel; the spelling was RICHardson. Turns out the syrup is still being made in Macedon, NY by Baldwin Richardson Foods. They make Mrs. Richardson's ice cream toppings and Nance's mustards, but most of their business seems to be wholesale foodservice and manufacturing.

I have seen various flavors of Richardson's syrups in foodservice distributor cash-and-carrys, but didn't connect them to the root beer of old. I'd like to find a restaurant that uses Richardson's Root Beer syrup and see how it compares to back in the day. AFAIK, they never bottled the root beer in my lifetime.
Filet Mignon
Re:Root Beer 2009/09/14 15:57:26
If you are ever in Tulsa Ok--try Weber Superior Root Beer---really good fresh made draft rootbeer and killer burgers too---they are now selling root beer in 12 oz bottles but i am not sure where you could get them---
Junior Burger
Re:Root Beer 2009/11/17 15:12:20
If you ever see this brand give it a try:
All their flavors are wonderful and my fav is the black cherry!
Re:Root Beer 2009/11/17 16:13:31

Frostie Root Beer
The original. It's Frostie!    
Re:Root Beer 2009/11/17 16:30:28
I've been sampling some root beers myself.

Last night I had Waialua which is from Hawaii.  I won't be buying that one again.  Very strong after taste and too caramel-ey.

The night before I had what I hope to be a memory in a bottle.  I bought a few bottles of XXX Rootbeer.  It left me flat.  The taste was not pronounced and there wasn't enough fizz for me.  I was very disappointed with that as it was at one time my favorite.

I purchased many single bottled root beers at Bev Mo the other day.  Not sure which one I'll have tonight.
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Root Beer 2009/11/17 18:01:56
I'm a big fan if IBC!

Re:Root Beer 2009/11/18 12:18:42
Last night's root beer was Capt'n Eli from Portland, ME.

I knew that I was going to love it when I poured it in to the mug.

It had a nice thick head and smelled wonderful.  Getting that first sip through the foam is always a treat.

I was right!  Very smooth and no sharp tastes.  Just sweet enough and loads of flavor.  It didn't have the watered down taste of the XXX.

This is favorite number one so far of those I've tasted.  I have maybe 6 or 8 more to go.  I'm thinking I'll go over to Bev Mo and buy those that I didn't get yet.

I read the label "after" tasting and this time I knew that there was something different with this root beer.

Wintergreen!  There was definitely wintergreen undertones or maybe they were overtones.  Once I knew it was there and tasted it again it really stood out.  I like it.  

Also listed in the ingredients is anise.  It didn't come through at all which I guess is a good thing.

Tonight is going to be Barrel Brother's Root Beer.

Re:Root Beer 2009/11/18 22:12:13
First I omitted the cane sugar in the Capt'n Eli's. It's good all around!

Just finished the Barrel Brothers Root Beer.

I should have taken a closer look at the label.  First taste and I thought... ICK!

Then I thought, this tastes like cream, not root beer.

Sure enough, in small print on the label it reads:  Creamy vanilla.  DUH!

Not going to rate it.  Not root beer in my book.

Re:Root Beer 2009/11/18 22:43:34
OMG!  Your note sent me back at least 45 years to an old Rexall Drug Store in Manchester, CT.  There, on the wall behind the soda fountain was a RICHardson Root Beer barrel dispenser!  There was nothing better on a hot summer day than a frosty mug of RICHardson Root Beer.  Thanks for the trip down memory lane.
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Root Beer 2009/11/19 09:09:33
For Ciaoman, you can buy one for $300!