Not Your Father’s Root Beer 10% ABV
Small Town Brewery
Visiting Chicago for a few days, I wanted to take the opportunity to keep it local and taste some of the fine beers of the Midwest. The whole batch I tried were good and would drink again. One stood out.
Browsing the menu, seeing a hard root beer with 10% ABV caught my eye. We were at this confused little restaurant. Not sure if it wanted to be a high-quality fine dining establishment or a causal place to grab a bite. I stopped the waitress and asked her about it. “It tastes exactly like root beer.. the soda. We also serve it as a float too.”
I was intrigued. How could I not try this? I wanted to experience this beer without ice cream (this time), so asked for a pint. The first sip stopped me cold. It does taste just like root beer soda. I hadn’t had a beer that tasted so… unlike all the other beers I have had. It was amazingly smooth with, again, the flavor of a root beer soda.
Forgetting for a moment that this was an actual beer and a 10% ABV brew at that, I almost asked for a “refill” thinking I had a soda before me.
Since that trip, I’ve sought out, in no scientific way, hard root beers while casually beer shopping (read: just at the local grocery store, not at a speciality shop) and all I’ve seen were in the 5% ballpark.
The food was great, despite some of my earlier misgivings. The evening was delightful, I’m sure, in no small part, due to the 10% ABV and the absolute ease of throwing it back. I’m still amazed, writing this over a month after the fact, at the flavor and sweetness of such a strong beer.
While I am praising it to no end, I would venture to not classify it as a beer. For me, it qualifies as a mixed drink of sorts. Of course, it is not mixed and it is a beer, but when I feel like a beer, I want something that I typically associate with beer. If I’m in a mixed drink mood, this brew would be a great drink that would qualify in my mind. The quality of the drink is so radically different than the beers I’ve had to date that I hesitate to think that it would fulfill my desire for a beer one night while sitting around the house. It isn’t that kind of beer.
I do regret not trying the float.