Root beer is the most nostalgic of sodas. Nothing took the edge off after a three-hour shift at the Girl Scout Cookie stand better than an ice-cold root beer. Now you can relive your childhood … with a little extra bite. These three hard root beers debuted this summer, and should make for a very sweet fall.
Not Your Father’s Root Beer
Illinois’ Small Town Brewery has been brewing hard root beer since 2012, but the sweet and spicy ale was brought to the forefront after Pabst purchased the brewery. It was released nationally this year and received by craft beer enthusiasts with mixed emotions. Whichever side you’re on, there is no denying it looks and tastes almost exactly like root beer. Small Town makes three variations: the commercially available 5.9 percent ABV, plus a 10 percent and a hearty 19.5 percent available at the brewery. $11 6-pack, Total Wine, $6.50 at the D and Golden Gate Casino, SmallTownBrewery.com.
Coney Island Hard Root Beer
A Boston Beer Company brand, Coney Island’s is sweet, carbonated and has a flat head just like the soda except with stronger wintergreen aroma and flavor, which makes it taste slightly boozier. The beverage is made with two-row malt, caramel malt and European hops, and then goes through secondary fermentation with added sugars and ale yeast to create the base before additional flavors, such as vanilla, are added. Grab a hot dog and drink up! $11 six-pack, Total Wine, ConeyIslandBeer.com.
Mission Brewery Hard Root Beer
This boozy sassafras beverage has the highest alcohol percentage out of the three with an ABV of 7.5 percent. The San Diego brewery, next to Petco Park, attracts large crowds of nontraditional beer drinkers during baseball season. Their requests for something different inspired the brewers at Mission to create malt beverages, including their hard root beer. The beer is currently only available at the park, brewery and online, but has plans to be in national retailers soon. $12 six-pack, Total Wine, MissionBrewery.com.
Not Your Father’s Root Beer photo by Krystal Ramirez