Rut Beer
June 3, 2009 3:54 PM   Subscribe

I like to consider myself an amateur root beer connoisseur, but I know I need to expand. Right now, I really enjoy Virgil's, Henry Weinhards, Maine, and Thomas Kemper. I live in Portland, OR and am interested in both trying to find some local stuff here as well as stuff I can order online. What are your favorites?

Extra points for root beers without High Fructose Corn Syrup, and other positive production aspects.
posted by Corduroy to Food & Drink (29 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
Sprecher, made with real Wisconsin honey.
posted by hydrophonic at 3:58 PM on June 3, 2009 [4 favorites]

This guy reviews soft drinks. He has five root beer posts.
posted by R. Mutt at 4:05 PM on June 3, 2009

Hansen's Sarsaparilla is pretty good, uses cane juice instead of HFCS.
posted by doctor_negative at 4:05 PM on June 3, 2009

I came in to say Sprecher's as well. Best root beer I've every had.
posted by Roach at 4:06 PM on June 3, 2009

Here's a root beer review site, that covers a lot of ground.
posted by doctor_negative at 4:10 PM on June 3, 2009

Here's another review site. That guy hates Natural Brew, though I like it pretty well. Takes all kinds.
posted by box at 4:15 PM on June 3, 2009

Upon further reading, I don't think I agree with that dude's political views, either. Still, he seems to really like root beer.
posted by box at 4:16 PM on June 3, 2009

Stevens Point Root Beer (made in Stevens Point Wisconsin) is way way better than Sprecher (which I like, but not nearly as much as Point).
posted by sulaine at 4:16 PM on June 3, 2009

Of those on the site linked by doctor_negative, I'll personally vouch for Harpoon and Boylan. On the other hand, I never really thought much of Virgil's, so YMMV.
posted by HumuloneRanger at 4:18 PM on June 3, 2009

Back when I lived in Santa Cruz I developed a taste for Sparky's. You can order it here, along with a bunch of other specialty sodas including Sprecher's.
posted by contraption at 4:29 PM on June 3, 2009

I third Sprecher's. It is my favorite root beer.
posted by Falconetti at 4:41 PM on June 3, 2009

Crater Lake root beer is great - and local.
posted by shrabster at 4:52 PM on June 3, 2009

Foxon Park is the local here; the Root Beer seems to be voted above average, and I can't really say as an unbiased observer, since I think everything they make is awesome. You can buy assorted 12 packs, but not individual bottles online; I'd suggest a bottle or two of Iron Brew and Birch within the mix, as they are root-beer-esqe.
posted by cobaltnine at 5:03 PM on June 3, 2009

You could always make your own. My mother used to. Though I think that might be why most commercial RB seems too sweet to me.
posted by R. Mutt at 5:20 PM on June 3, 2009

The Soqualmie Brewery, which is five minutes from me, makes a really good Root Beer.
posted by P.o.B. at 5:24 PM on June 3, 2009

I really like Widmer Bros. root beer, found right there in Portland. They only serve it at their Gasthaus restaurant (by the brewery). They serve it on tap. I think it is excellent! I've been known to down several glasses after making the trek south from Seattle.
posted by karizma at 5:52 PM on June 3, 2009

Try Sarsi. Found in Asian food stores.
posted by jabberjaw at 6:15 PM on June 3, 2009

I really like Whole Foods 365 brand root beer. It's cheap and I think as good as the other gourmet brands. Actually I think it's better.
posted by sully75 at 6:50 PM on June 3, 2009

Dominion Root Beer.
Old Dominion Brewing Co, Ashburn, Virginia.

Costco carries it in our area.
posted by JayRwv at 8:28 PM on June 3, 2009

McMenamin's makes their own root beer.
posted by ainsley at 8:40 PM on June 3, 2009

A local St. Louis establishment is Fitz's Root Beer I've had it and recall it being good, but not being a connoisseur I can't really say how good. Seemed tasty anyway. They have a place you can order online, so you can find out for yourself.
posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist at 9:45 PM on June 3, 2009

Bulldog Root Beer. Fan-freaking-tastic. You may be able to find it at Cost Plus. Also, if you have a BevMo there, check their soda section and see what they have - they carry a lot of good sodas.
posted by azpenguin at 10:43 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

I used to dig Sprecher, but it is pretty syrupy.

Sparky's is now my fave, as it has better flavor. Available at Bevmo.
(I'll have to try that Bulldog, azpenguin.)
posted by artdrectr at 11:32 PM on June 3, 2009

There is a wonderful store right near me called Galco's that sells thousands of different obscure beverages, including several varieties of root beer (and they will ship out of their web store). I particularly like Dad's brand.
posted by so_gracefully at 12:42 AM on June 4, 2009

Abita root beer is awesomely sweet.
posted by GPF at 4:59 AM on June 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

Ya might go down to Corvallis and try Block 15's:

House Brewed Root Beer - Made with sassafras, wintergreen, licorice root, vanilla, organic cane and brown sugars, & local wildflower honey. $3.00
posted by at at 8:29 AM on June 4, 2009

Saranac root beer is great, and they'll ship it to you.
posted by Vic Morrow's Personal Vietnam at 2:37 PM on June 4, 2009

I had a Sprecher with lunch, and my disappointed follow-up is that in spite of the real Wisconsin honey, HFCS is the second ingredient.
posted by hydrophonic at 3:50 PM on June 4, 2009

i guess i am coming to this late, but i also review root beers so may be of some help. being in Portlans you actually have quite a few options that are only available at breweries there. check out my Availability page for OR for a bunch. i am rather envious as i will never try those i am sure.
anywa, some good suggestions here.
Bulldog is excellent. as is Steelhead, another by the same company

if you are up for mail order, i would get a case of Weepign Radish. very simple recipe but very very good.

you can probably get some Sparky's near by or else order some of that.

it is a bit difficult to suggest things as people's taste vary so much, you can order a mixed case from Pop Soda and see what you like.

good luck! i'd be happy to trade sodas too if you ever want to.
posted by annoyance at 8:39 AM on November 6, 2009

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