Hard Sodas as Beer

At SXSW this week, Damn Best Brewing (a subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch, the official beer sponsor of the conference) is sponsoring an outdoor lounge featuring music and two of their brews: Damn Best Root Beer and Damn Best Cherry Cola.

When I first tried Not Your Father’s Root Beer—the 10% ABV variant on tap in Chicago—I was blown away. I had never explored the hard root beer or soda concept before. 10% with that sweetness and taste made a strong impression on me.

Fast forward to when NYFRB finally extended their distribution to Texas, I realized that this was a novelty. I couldn’t bring myself to just sitting back and having one. It was a beer that I could only drink when I had a specific reason for drinking that beer. I haven’t tried Not Your Father’s Ginger Ale.

After trying both their Best Damn Cherry Cola and Best Damn Root Beer, I’m over hard sodas. I’ll still try them—why not?—but they are as much beer to me as hard lemonade or Bud Light’s rainbow of Ritas beer byproducts.

Both sodas were good, as sodas. If you want to get a buzz from a cherry coke, knock yourself out, these are fine to drink. They lack the acidity of a soda, which is quite nice actually. You could probably mix some Everclear and a Maine Root Black Cherry soda to get something worthy of a blind taste test.

Call me a beer snob, but I just don’t consider it beer.

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