MMJ | Root Beer Challenge

 By Amanda [Team Barista Extraordinaire]

Check out Amanda’s blog, My Northern Hospitality!

Patrick and I really like root beer. So we decided to stock up on a bunch of different specialty root beers from the area to see which we like the most. All of these sodas were found at the grocery store. We wanted to do this right so we set up a blind test and started drinking. We had a cracker in-between every drink and wrote down what we thought about them. Then we continued sampling while we ranked them. Here is what we found and how we ranked them:

#9 – Natural Brew from Chico, NJ

Amanda’s Ranking: 9

Patrick’s Ranking: 9

This was the worst root beer hands down. It was the only one that when I drank it, I cringed. It is really hard to find a root beer that neither of us like, but we did. Both of us described it as being sweet to the point where a couple of drinks would make you sick. I also thought it had an awkward spice to it. This is the only one I would tell you to not even bother trying it.

#8 – Henry Weinhard’s from Hood River, OR

Amanda’s Ranking: 6

Patrick’s Ranking: 7

Both of us agreed that this was a very sweet drink. I thought it tasted more like liquid candy than root beer. It didn’t have any flavor that really jumped out at you and with the sweetness you couldn’t drink much of it.

#5 – Stewart’s from Mansfield, OH

Amanda’s Ranking: 5

Patrick’s Ranking: 5

Obviously we both were in agreement that this was a good #5 root beer. Patrick described the flavor as rich and while I agree with him, there is also a lot of caramel flavor going on. This is a classic American root beer that would taste best with a scoop of ice cream.

#5 – Dorothy’s from Ely, MN

Amanda’s Ranking: 2

Patrick’s Ranking: 8

As you can see, we had different feelings on this one. I like it because it has just the right amount of sweetness to create a nice smooth flavor. It was just a little too sweet for Patrick’s taste though.

#5 – Point from Steven’s Point, WI

Amanda’s Ranking: 7

Patrick’s Ranking: 3

Again we have differing opinions about the root beer. Patrick liked it because of its right down the middle taste. It wasn’t bland, but it was awful either. It was just a little too bland for my tastes.

#3 – Boylan from Moonachie, NJ

Amanda’s Ranking: 8

Patrick’s Ranking: 1

This is the most we disagree about any of the root beers. Patrick likes this because of its deep flavor that has a punch to it. I thought it was too dark and just not quite there.

#3 – Killebrew from Cold Spring, MN

Amanda’s Ranking: 3

Patrick’s Ranking: 6

This root beer is named after good ol’ #3 Harmon Killebrew, which makes it ironic that it landed at #3 on our list. I liked the mellow, yet rich flavor that this root beer offered while Patrick enjoyed the deep taste that it offers. This is also the lowest in calories of all the root beers we tried.

#2 – Sprecher’s from Milwaukee, WI

Amanda’s Ranking: 4

Patrick’s Ranking: 2

Both of us had thought for a while that this was out #1 root beer so we were surprised to find out that through a blind test, it wasn’t! We both like the deepness of the root beer that offers both sweet and sour flavors. You can really taste the honey in the root beer, which also comes from Wisconsin.

#1 – IBC from St. Louis, MO

Amanda’s Ranking: 1

Patrick’s Ranking: 4

This has been my personal favorite root beer for a long time. I’ll never forget trying my first IBC in high school at Applebees. Both Patrick and I love the variety of rich floras that blend together so well to create a rich and smooth taste.

Interesting facts:

Amanda’s #2 and #3 were both from Minnesota while Patrick’s #2 and #3 were from Wisconsin.

The root beer made from corn syrup tended to rank higher on our list and had less calories and sugar than the root beer made of cane sugar.


 Amanda is the Team Barista Extraordinaire for EDR. Perk up your week with her every Monday right here on Eat.Drink.Repeat.  

About Ron Mexico

I am Ron Mexico.

Posted on January 17, 2011, in Amanda, Drink. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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