ROOT BEER LIST
My wife and I enjoy taste-testing root beer. There are 100s of root beers brewed in the US.
What is your favorite root beer?
I enjoy most of them. However, birch beer, a close cousin of root beer can be painfully spicy. And some of the “soda” company root beers are really just soda … not really root beer.
One difference in brands is in the sweetening – high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) vs. pure cane sugar. Of course we should avoid high-fructose corn syrup, but for me some of the cane sugar root beers have too strong of taste (or after-taste). Although I am getting more and more used to the taste of cane sugar (after growing up on HFCS).
Other ingredients to look for in “real” root beer are: sarsaparilla root, ginger root, licorice, wintergreen, molasses, and vanilla. I am a fan of vanilla and, for me, the licorice flavoring can be too strong in some brands. As we taste test the root beers I will attempt to keep track of the before mentioned aspects.
If you ever come across a unique root beer pass it along … thanks.
1. Sioux City Sarsaparilla – (re-taste 3/11). Pure cane sugar. Slight ginger taste? Very good. “The Granddaaddy of All Root Beers”. Purchased from Fred Meyer. (www.siouxcitybeverages.com)
3. Henry Weinhard’s
4. A&W (on tap)
6. Sprecher – (re-tasted 4/16/12) Glucose syrup and WI raw honey (27g). Very good. Honey and vanilla add nice flavor. (www.sprecherbrewery.com) Glendale, WI. Purchased at Market of Choice.
7. Sioux City – (re-tasted 11/10) Pure cane sugar. Slight vanilla flavor. Good. (www.siouxcitybeaverages.com). Purchased @ Fred Meyers.
8. Thomas Kemper
10. Bulldog – (re-tasted 3/3/12) Cane sugar and honey (41g). Smooth taste, with very slight licorice/vanilla after taste. Bought in a soda shop in CA by Curtis and Melissa Gant. “Unleash the Taste.” www.bulldogrootbeer.com
11. Teddy’s – (re-tasted 4/13/12) High fructose corn syrup (31g). Average taste. Unique Beverage Co., Everett , WA. Purchased at WinCo. www.teddyspremiumsoda.com
13. Dad’s – (re-tasted 4/11) High Fructose corn syrup. Very slight spicy taste. Good. “America’s Premium Root Beer.” Purchased at Fred Meyer. (www.dadsrootbeer.com)
14. Root 66 – Pure cane sugar.
18. Briar’s Premium
19. Frosties – (re-tasted 12/10) High fructose corn syrup. Good. Purchased at Fred Meyer.
20. Sparky’s Fresh Draft
21. Briar’s Premium Red Birch Beer
22. Trader Joe’s Organic Soda Rootbeer
23. Boylan Brand
24. Steaz Green Tea Soda Rootbeer
25. Mt. Angel
27. Blue Sky Organic
28. Deerfield Trading Company Old Fashioned –Walgreen’s
29. Walgreen’s Classic – surprisingly good.
30. Etna – from Etna, CA.
31. Sarsaparilla Rootbeer
34. Stewart’s Ginger Beer
35. Frosties (on tap) at Wallery’s Pizza in West Salem
36. A&W – in a bottle, available at many stores. Good, but nothing close to the on tap variety
37. Robinson’s (on tap) at Robinson’s Restaurant in Tigard, OR
38. Stealhead (on tap) at Stealhead Brewery in downtown Eugene, OR
39. Bundaberg Australian Root beer – (11/09) Purchased at World Market in a four pack. Made with cane sugar and sarsaparilla. Very sweet with definite sarsaparilla taste. Okay taste. Re-taste 7/13/13 – we both found the flavor very strong, (www.bundaberg.com)overly strong licorice flavor – we didn’t like this time. 44g cane sugar. “Traditionally brewed to a genuine old recipe from real sarsaparilla root, licorice root, vanilla beans, and molasses. Bundaberg is an authentic taste of yesteryear.” Purchased at Market of Choice – all the way from Austraila!
40. Old Town Rootbeer Company Premium Micro-brewed Root Beer – (11/09) Purchased at World market. Made with cane sugar. (www.oldtownrootbeer.com) Good taste.
41. Old Town Rootbeer Company Sarsparilla Premium Vanilla Cream – (11/09) Purchased at World Market. Made with cane sugar. (www.oldtownrootbeer.com) Good taste.
42. Esteban’s Oogavé – (3/10) “the original agave soda™”. Ingredients include organic agave nectar. Certified organic. Purchased at Market of Choice. (www.oogave.com)
43. Rat Bastard – (4/10) Ingredients include high fructose corn syrup, caffeine, and other strange herbs. “It’s us against them” … “Quit being a dick and drink it”. Purchased @ Pear Delicatessen at Pike Place Market, Seattle and at Buster’s in Cottage Grove, OR.
44. Barrel Brothers – (4/10) Ingredients include high fructose corn syrup. Purchased @ Pear Delicatessen at Pike Place Market, Seattle. (www.applebeer.com)
45. Faygo – (4/10) Cane sugar sweetened. Purchased @ Pear Delicatessen at Pike Place Market, Seattle. (www.faygo.com)
46. Americana – (4/10) Cane sugar sweetened. Purchased @ Pear Delicatessen at Pike Place Market, Seattle. (www.orcabeverage.com)
47. Maine Root – (4/10) Organic cane sugar and spices, Fair Trade Certified? Purchased @ Pear Delicatessen at Pike Place Market, Seattle. (www.maineroot.com). Good taste, smooth, sweet, and all natural.
48. Mug – (5/10) High fructose corn sugar. (www.Mugrootbeer.com) No distinct flavors. Plastic bottle, purchased at Fred Meyer.
49. Buckin’ Rootbeer – (11/10) Real sugar. (www.jhsodaco.com) Slight molasses or licorice taste. Okay, not great. Purchased at Fred Meyer.
50. Triple XXX – (11/10) Real sugar. Slight vanilla flavor – no strong flavors. Very good – I like it. Yellow bottle = cool. Purchased at Fred Meyer. “Makes Thirst a Joy”. (www.triplexxxrootbeer.com – interesting history, its been around for over 100 years!). There is a restaurant too! Check out the highlight on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, might necessitate a drive up Route 66.
51. Snake River Sarsaparilla – (11/10) Real sugar. Licorice flavor, slight mediciny (Lori says I should say “medicinal”) taste. Okay, not great. Green bottle = cool. Purchased at Fred Meyer.
52. Tubz – (1/11) High fructose corn syrup. Okay, tho not good. Purchased at Save-A-Lot (store brand).
53. BigK – (2/11) High fructose corn syrup (30g). Okay, soda-type root beer. Purchased at Fred Meyer (Kroger store brand).
54. __ Hop Valley on tap root beer – (3/11) Good but not spectacular.
55. Trader Joe’s Vintage – (3/11) Cane sugar. Purchased at Trader Joe’s. Actual wintergreen, birch, anise, sassaphras, and tahitian vanilla for flavoring.
56. River City – (1/12) Sugar cane (46g sugars). Purchased at Fred Meyer. Good root beer taste. (www.bluedogbeverage.com). “River City Root Beer brings back memories of a time bone by. When the sky was bluer and the clouds whiter and the breeze off the river kept you cooler. Enjoy doggone good soda pop the way it used to be!” Definitely wins the bottle quote award.
57. Red Arrow – (3/2/12) Cane sugar (43g), with extract of wintergreen and licorice. No strong flavors. Good tasting rootbeer. From “Michigan, known for authentic root beer flavor. Folklore says the brand was a tribute to the Red Arrow Brigade.” Bought in a soda shop in CA by Curtis and Melissa Gant. www.orcabeverage.com
59. Filbert’s Old Time Quality Draft – (3/2/12) Sugar and or corn sweetner [sic] (41g). Very slight vanilla taste. No strong flavors. Good tasting root beer. From Chicago. Bought in a soda shop in CA by Curtis and Melissa Gant.
60. Bedford’s – (3/3/12) Pure cane sugar (44g). From Port Angeles, WA and bottled by www.orcabeverage.com. Very interesting taste, different, sweet, tasty and good. However, I could not figure out the added flavor. The ingredients list is lacking, there must be more to it. Definitely would drink again. Bought in a soda shop in CA by Curtis and Melissa Gant.
61. Rochester – (4/7/12) On tap at Wallery’s Pizza in West Salem. Last time we ate there they had Frostie’s on tap. Average taste.
62. Crater Lake – (*re-tasted 4/15/12) Pure cane sugar (41g). Okay, nothing special. No head at all — Maybe because it’s made with “sparkling water”? Purchased at Market of Choice. www.craterlakesoda.com. Portland, OR. *We’ve had this before at some point, but forgot to record it.
63. Nice! – (5/3/12) High fructose corn syrup (29g). Just alright. Slight licorice taste. Plastic bottle. Third root beer from the Walgreen Co. Purchased at Walgreens. www.walgreens.com
64. Capt’n Eli’s – Cane sugar (40g). Shipyard Brewing Co Portland, ME. Purchased at Buster’s in Cottage Grove, OR.
65. Sea Dog – Cane sugar, wintergreen flavoring. Pugsley Brewing in Portland, Maine. Purchased at Buster’s in Cottage Grove, OR.
66. Abita – Cane sugar (38g). Abita Brewing Company Abita Springs, Louisiana. “Made with pure Louisiana cane sugar.” Purchased at Buster’s in Cottage Grove, OR.
67. Zuberfizz – (3/7/13) Pure cane sugar. Good taste, nothing over powering, definitely would drink again. Lori liked also. “Twist this!” Durango Soda Company Inc. (www.zuberfizz.com) Purchased at World Market.
68. Dang! That’s Good Butterscotch Root Beer – (5/28/13) Sugar (31g). Lori said. “WOW!” I said, “Dang!” … we both said, “That’s good”. Definite butterscotch flavor – wouldn’t want it in my root beer all the time, but it is good! Imperial Flavors Beverages, Milwaukee, WI (www.dangthatsgood.com). Purchased at Jerry’s Home Improvement (www.betterheadforjerrys.com).
69. Caruso’s Legacy Robusto Root Beer – (5/30/13) 100% Pure Cane Sugar (30g). Good, but no outstanding qualities. “Tradition is a word that holds meanings to many different people. To the Caruso family it is a way of doing business that continues to prove there is no substitute for the quality that comes from family tradition …” (www.witbeveragecompany.com). Purchased at Jerry’s Home Improvement (www.betterheadforjerrys.com).
70. Shasta – (6/12/13) High Fructose corn syrup (33g). In a can. I don’t particularly like this one. Lori says, “It doesn’t bother me.” (www.shastapop.com). Purchased at Grocery Outlet.
71. Dog n Suds – (7/12/13) Pure cane sugar (30g). Clover Club Bottling, Chicago, IL. Purchased at Jerry’s Home Improvement.
73. Hippo Size – (7/24/13) Cane sugar (43g). Good. Wintergreen flavor a bit strong for me. “Small bottle, BIG taste”. “Looking for a drink with GARGANTUAN flavor? Go for the Hippo. The original Texas size, Hippo Beverages satisfy that immense craving with a selection of great flavors using our best extracts and flavors. Open wide and experience the little bottle with big taste – Hippo Size Beverages since 1927.” Purchased at The Root beer Store in WA (Thanks Ryan!).
74. So Duh! – (7/24/13) Cane sugar (?g). Good going down …. and then bam, a flavor unknown hits you, its not bad … its not good … its just there slapping you in the face. I’m pretty sure its the “alfalfa honey”. Very interesting. “Soda with an attitude”, “Rockin’ Root Beer”, “‘Duh’ means many things to many people; an airport code in Ohio, a punk rock band. To us, So Duh, means – ‘Isn’t it painfully obvious this is a delicious craft soda made in small batches with quality ingredients & pure cane sugar.’ So – if anyone asks, ‘Is that soda good?’ we hope you’ll say Duh!” Purchased at The Root Beer Store in WA (Thanks Ryan!).
75. Iron Horse – (7/25/13) High fructose corn syrup (45g). Good HFCS root beer like Henry’s. “The great uncapping”, “Why not the best?”. Edina, MN. Purchased at The Root Beer Store in WA. (Thanks Ryan!).
76. Gene Autry – (7/25/13) Cane sugar (45g). Good simple taste, kinda fitting for Gene Autry. “Made in the USA” (www.rocketfizz.com). Purchased at The Root Beer Store in WA (Thanks Ryan!).
77. Jack Black’s Dead Red Root Beer – (2/14) Cane sugar (?). Good, to be honest I don’t remember beyond it was an okay RB. “Third time available in 420 years”, “Once you’ve had jack black you’ll never go back!”, “Better DEAD RED than just plain DEAD!”, Gardena, CA. (www.realsoda.com) Purchased at Jerry’s Home Improvement.
78. Capone Family Secret Root Beer – (2/14) Sugar (30g). Good, to be honest I don’t remember beyond it was an okay RB. Chicago, IL (www.cfsbeverages.com). Purchased at Jerry’s Home Improvement.
79. AJ Stephans Boston Root Beer – (1/14) Pure Cane Sugar (43g). Good, to be honest I don’t remember beyond it was an okay RB. “New England’s Best Tonic.” “Since 1926.” Fall River, MA (www.ajstephans.com)
80. Flashback Olde Time Soda – (4/12/14) Cane sugar (41g). Smooth is the first thing that comes to mind … Good. No overpowering flavors, good. Purchased at Tilamook Cheese Factory, but later, by chance, we ended up at the Flashback Soda Fountain in Seaside and talked with the owner. He loaded us up with 5 more root beers to try. Bottled by Orca in Mukilteo, WA for Flashback (flashbacksoda.com).
81. O-SO Butterschotch – (4/14/14) Cane sugar (43g). Strong, but good butterscotch flavor. “O-So delicious!” Bottled by Orca Beverage Inc., Mukilteo, WA (www.orcabeverage.com). Purchased at Flashback Soda Fountain in Seaside, WA.
82. The Original FIREMAN’S Brew – (4/15/14) Cane sugar (45g). Good, however a there is a strange “second-taste” that appears and then goes away, unlike an after taste that comes last. It’s kind of a licorice flavor, but not a strong licorice. Still good though. “Extinguish your thirst … ignite the party”. Bottled in Inyokern, CA (www.fiermansbrew.com). Purchased at Flashback Soda Fountain in Seaside, OR.
83. Dougie DOG Butterscotch – (4/16/14) Cane sugar (42g). “The modern dog!” Butterscotch flavor not as prominent as others like O-So. It’s good. Purchased at Flashback Soda Fountain in Seaside, OR. (www.dougiedog.com, www.dougiedogrootbeer.com)
84. Earp’s Original Sarsaparilla – (4/19/14) Pure cane sugar (41g). “After a hard day of gun fight’n, nothing beats a real sarsaparilla.” It’s okay. Some strong root type flavors. Orca Beverage Soda Works, Mukilteo, WA (www.orcabeverage.com). Purchased at Flashback Soda Fountain in Seaside, OR.
85. Brownie Caramel Cream Root Beer – (4/21/14) Pure cane sugar (43g). “With a Sprite on the label, it’s easy to see how this mischievous and delicious blend of root beer and caramel came about. Produced with care in small batches. Brownie has been enjoyed since 1929.” Don’t like- caramel cream doesn’t work for me- too strong of flavor. Orca Beverage Soda Works, Mukilteo, WA (www.orcabeaverage.com). Purchased at Flashback Soda Fountain in Seaside, OR.
86. Frostie Vanilla Root Beer – (5/2/14) Pure cane sugar (43g). I love vanilla! This is good vanilla flavored root beer. I like it! Maybe not for an everyday root beer, but I could drink it often. Purchased at Jerry’s Home Improvement. Bottled in Detroit, MI.
87. Salted Caramel Rootbeer – (?/?/14) Sugar (45g). I forgot to record my thoughts on this one, so I don’t remember much about it. Might have purchased at Jerry’s Home Improvement. Cicero Beverage Co. Chicago, IL.
88. Refreshe (6/14/14) High Fructose Corn Syrup (31g). Soda pop root beer. Not good … didn’t even finish the bottle. Safeway brand. Purchased at Safeway in Corvallis.
89. Sprecher *Fire Brewed* Hard Root Beer (6/15) Sprecher Brewing Co., Inc. Glendale, WI (www.sprecherbrewery.com)
90. Berghoff. Cane sugar (31g). The Berghoff Restaurant Co., Chicago, Il. The Berghoff Brewery Inc., Monroe, Il.
91. Wylie’s Cultured Jun Honey Soda Root Beer. (Unheated raw honey). “Caution: Live Beverage Open Carefully in case of Over-Carbonation.” Purchased at Whole Foods. Wylie’s Honey Brews, Phoenix, OR.
92. Original New York Seltzer Root Beer Soda. Cane Sugar (33g). “The Choice is Clear”. New York, NY. (www.drinknewyorkseltzer.com). I remember drinking these Original New York Seltzer Sodas growing up as a kid.
93. Virgil’s Rootbeer Special Edition Bavarian Nutmeg (3/17). Cane Sugar (28g). “Using Natural Ingredients, We Brew A Root Beer So Pure, So Rich And Creamy You’ll Swear It’s Made in Heaven”. (www.virgils.com) LA, CA. Purchased in Fairfield, TX at Cole’s B-B-Q by Carolyn Palmer. Very cool bottle.
94. Dublin Texas Root Beer (3/17). Pure Cane Sugar (42g). Dublin Bottling Works, Dublin, TX. (www.dublinbottlingworks.com). Purchased in Fairfield, TX at Cole’s B-B-Q by Carolyn Palmer.
95. BJ’s Restaurant On Tap Root Beer (4/17). Good smooth taste.
96. Dr Brown’s Original Root Beer Draft Style (2/18). Good. Slight licorice taste, which is not my favorite. But good overall root beer. High fructose corn syrup (42g). “The original – Since 1869 – Flavor Favorite For Generations”. Canada Dry Bottling Co of NY, College Point, NY. Purchased at Chugs Root Beer Store in Lynwood, WA by Ryan Sankey.
97. Old Red Eye (2/18). Cane sugar (42g). It has an interesting sweet flavor, that we cannot identify. It is good. “Legend has it, there was a craggy old bull named Red Eye – with a glint and a gnarly attitude, he could only be coaxed from his pen to do his daily duties when a brave soul would pop open a bottle of his favorite root beer, pour it in his tin bowl, then run like heck before being stomped. Red Eye preferred his root beer frosty cold”, “Since 1948”. I would drink this again just because of the story on the bottle. Orca Beverage Soda Works, Mukilteo, WA. (www.orcabeverage.com). Purchased at Chugs Root Beer Store in Lynwood, WA by Ryan Sankey.
98. Empire Bottling Works Root Beer (2/18). 100% cane sugar (46g). It’s alright, no specific flavor stands out. “Since 1930.” Empire Bottling Works, Bristol, RI (401-253-7117). Purchased at Chugs Root Beer Store in Lynwood, WA by Ryan Sankey.
99. Norka Sparkling Beverages Root Beer (2/18). Cane sugar (45g). It is good, it might have a slight vanilla flavor, which I like. “Premium Small Batch Quality”, “Tastes Better since 1924.” Norka Food & Beverage LLC, Akron, OH (www.norkabeverage.com). Purchased at Chugs Root Beer Store in Lynwood, WA by Ryan Sankey.
100. Chicago Rootbeer Draft Style (2/18). Pure cane sugar (40g). This has a most interesting taste, can identify, but I liked it for its uniqueness. Cool Mountain Beverages, Inc (www.chicagorootbeer.com). Purchased at Chugs Root Beer Store in Lynwood, WA by Ryan Sankey.
101. Caldera Soda Works Root Beer. (4/18). Cane sugar (15g!). It was good, especially for a “Low Sugar” soda. Ashland, Oregon (www.calderabrewing.com). Purchased at Mckenzie Mercantile in Mckenzie Bridge.
102. BJ’s Handcrafted Root Beer.(4/18). Cane sugar (49g). It was good. I might have enjoyed it more than their on-tap root beer. Nicely designed bottle with the history of their root beer on the back. They started brewing root beer in 1996 and started bottling in 2017. BJ’s Brewhouse, Reno, NV (www.bjsrestaurants.com). Acquired from the boy’s teacher, Mr Altmiller, who got it from BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse in Eugene, OR.