My quest to drink a root beer from every state has been put on hold because there are just too many Chicagoland root beers. Seriously, I think there’s still more in the box.
Gale’s Root Beer
Chicago-based pastry chef, restaurateur, cookbook author, and television personality Gale Gand spent some time in England and missed root beer so much that when she got back she started making her own. The label says “Cinnamon Ginger Vanilla Flavored”.
GInger is definitely in there, with a certain underlying tartness that I don’t know what to chalk up to. Almost a pickled ginger smell to it in that regard, though the flavor is not there. Interesting to have a ginger soda that is clearly not a ginger ale or beer, but it’s hard to place what else might be in there. There’s no heat from the ginger, but that’s still the principle flavor. Tastes like there might be cardamom in there, too. Smooth and surprising.
Capone Family Secret Root Beer
Al’s brother Ralph used to run a legitimate soft drink business in Chicago as part of the family’s empire. Capone Family Secret claims they got the recipe from a nephew, but whatever, they want to sell root beer (and pasta sauce). Doesn’t matter what the lineage is if the root beer isn’t good.
Deep classic sassafras and herbs just a little overpowered by the sweetness of it. Definitely a good bite to it, though. A very well-rounded root beer.
Filbert’s Draft Root Beer
George Filbert and his son Charlie started making this root beer in 1926 and claim that they supplied Berghoff’s with their root beer for 50 years, though I feel like the people making Berghoff’s Root Beer now may have an argument to make. With all these Chicago root beers i hope there aren’t any nasty turf wars. Filbert’s is still family owned.
Very deep herbals and a strong dark caramel flavor. This is a HFCS soda, but the sweetness really isn’t there, which itself is a weird testament to the complexity of the herbs. Really good, especially considering its sweetener.