We’re selling out this week as we go for root beer’s you may be able to get at your local gas station.
Stewart’s Root Beer
Frank Stewart opened his first root beer stand in Mansfield, Ohio, in 1924 because he wasn’t making enough money as a school teacher. Originally only selling root beer and popcorn, Stewart added extra salt to his popcorn to drum up root beer sales. While the restaurant started franchising in 1931, it wasn’t until 1990 that the Cable Car Bottling Company bought the rights that the stuff started getting bottled. Through mergers and acquisitions Stewarts is now owned by the Dr Pepper Snapple Group.
Some real deep -- almost burnt -- caramels. Good vanilla. Sweet, but not overly so. A little herbal, but nothing distinct. Foamy and creamy. And nothing special.
IBC Root Beer
The Griesedieck family started Independent Breweries Company in St. Louis in 1919 as a conglomeration of a number of their brewery with a number of other local companies. The sudden meddling of so many executives led to a quick demise, with IBC root beer being the one of the sole survivors. The brand chugged along and switched hands until also ending up under the umbrella of Dr Pepper Snapple, though still in its iconic embossed amber bottles.
Good bite and much more herbal than sweet. Bubbly and burp-inducing. Good caramels as well. The sweetness is subtle enough to suggest that it may not actually be corn syrup, though it almost certainly is. This is mass-market trying to do gourmet and almost succeeding.
The Feigenson brothers, Russian immigrant bakers in Detroit, Michigan, started making soda in 1907 playing with the flavors of their cake frostings. Innovators throughout their history, Faygo is credited with inventing the twist top. The September 2009 issue of Bon Appetit named Faygo as the best tasting American Root Beer, which almost certainly means Bon Appetit is irrelevant. Faygo is now owned by the National Beverage Corporation, the fifth largest soft drink company in the US. Faygo, for those who don’t know, is the favorite brand of the Insane Clown Posse stemming, no doubt, from their Detroit roots. Whoop whoop.
Very herbal, good sassafras with something a little more bitter underneath. Almost a chemical burn on the back as if there’s aspartame in it. Well balanced flavor, but obviously not the best in American, Bon Appetit. Spread your wings and tastebuds a bit.
While each of these is distinct, they are all so middle of the road that I can’t really name one as better than the other. They are not bad, but there are much better options.