As you may already know, I have been looking to find and/or make a duplicate of the home-made root beer of my (actual) dreams. So, I thought I'd work on checking out a range of root beers being made commercially today. I figured I'd see which ones I liked, and try to get an idea of the ingredients which might, taken together, produce that elusive taste.
I've been picking up root beers locally, with an eye to not so many national brands. I assume a lot of supermarket root beers are watery, or very sweet and they are probably a lot alike, having been the subject of lowest-common-denominator market research. Not that I hate commercial root beer- I quite like it. I'm going to include a couple, to see if I was right, and for comparison. I'm doing bottled root beer only, because most all drinks are nicer in glass than cans. Anyway, when I get around to making my own, I'll be bottling. (I'm not a purist who won't touch canned soda and beer-I just want to give the root beers every advantage, and the proverbial even field of play.)
Now of course I could just be trying these root beers as I find them, and taking notes, but I thought it would be more fun to have a root beer tasting, and get some other opinions. Soooo, Im going to invite a few friends to join me. An advantage of this deal over, say, a wine tasting, is the potential for sampling as much as we like, without needing a designated driver, or a day to recover. Plus, it is both more, and less silly, if you know what I mean.
Since there is a limit to the interesting looking varieties locally, I'm going to add some root beers I ordered on the internet from The Soda King, a very interesting site, especially for momomaniacal obsessives such as yrs truly. They have every sort of soda pop imaginable, including some you may have thought were no longer made. You can actually order one bottle of something, and I did. Of course the postage is ridiculous when compared to the price of the product, but it's still not all that much,all together, soda being pretty inexpensive stuff. I 'm also going to get a lot of vanilla ice cream, so we can finish up with root beer floats, and not waste the goodies. Maybe some pretzels, to, uh, clear the palate between root beers?
So, I'm waiting for the arrival of my out of state soda, and hope to do this maybe next weekend.
These are the root beers I'm planning on so far, though I plan to pick up a couple of bottles of the more mainstream stuff, too:
Indian Wells Root Beer
Boylan's Natural Root Beer Soda (New Jersey)
Clover Classic Root Beer (Chicago)
Napa Valley Organic root Beer(California)
Gray's Gourmet Root Beer (Wisconsin)
Sioux City Sarsparilla (says it is "root beer" on the label)(Iowa)
Stewart's Cold Brewed Draft Root Beer (NY): (This one is available in Pittsburgh, at coffee shops and delis) Can't wait.