First there is a mountain:
Rocky Mountain Root Beer
Rocky Mountain Soda Company, Denver, CO
The Rockies are a majestic range. This root beer from Denver is made from beet sugar. It may not be as majestic.
This is a lot closer to my ideal of root beer than their Boulder Birch Beer is to my ideal of birch beer. It’s good: deeply herbal, but still a little creaminess to it. The sweetness has something a little chemical to it, but not at all distracting. Very well balanced.
Then there is no mountain:
Hosmer Mountain Sarsaparilla Root Beer
Hosmer Mountain Soda, Willimantic, CT
Hosmer Mountain started in 1912 as a spring water delivery service, but was purchased in 1958 by Arthur J. Potvin who started experimenting with soda. The mountain, as near as I can tell, does not exist according to google, but the the label says it’s “a rather minor geological formation” in Northeast Connecticut.
A lot more sarsparilla in the nose than on the tongue, which is what I’d hope for in what seems to be marketed as a sarsaparilla-flavored root beer. There’s an excellent balance of sarsaparilla and sassafras smoothed over with a sweetening blend of white and brown sugar that offers a molasses finish that sits just right.
Then there is:
Ozark Mountain Root Beer
Ozark Mountain Bottleworks, Branson, MO
Etymologically, the Ozarks are probably an English corruption of a French mispronunciation of what the Illinois called the Quapaw. The soda company, though, was started in 2009, and I’m told that the lightness of this product may actually be because this is a bad batch. “They forgot an ingredient in the previous shipment” says the clerk who I purchased it from, but she couldn’t speak to the fidelity of this particular bottle.
Right or wrong this isn’t bad at all. It’s very creamy and vanilla-y (and the color makes me think cream soda), but there’s some sassafras down there, too. Big head on it, but the quillaja extract will do that. I’m going to feel awkward with how much I like this if it turns out to be a mistakenly-produced product.