questionswhat is your favorite root beer?

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A&W in a frosted mug. It is the one all others are measured by.

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While that is true about the A&W the only place I know of to get that is in the restaurant. The stuff you buy in the store is made with high fructose corn syrup and the fountain drink is made with cane sugar which makes it taste better. IBC is pretty good, but my favorite is a root beer float with most any root beer except Barqs which I can't stand.

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I like my root beer with a kick to my nose, so I lean toward Barq's when I really want buzz.

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I say Dad's. They used to carry it at my local Costco.

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I'd say Boylan's of the ones I've tried (though I haven't tried many of the gourmet/microbrew style root beers). Just enough of a spicy taste to make it interesting, but not enough to give it a nasty aftertaste.

The only place I've been able to find them around here is World Market.

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@uberchurl @ asahel01 I used to love draft A&W at the drive-ins, but haven't been all that enthused with the grocery store version. I haven't been to one of their drive-ins in decades so I don't know if the draft stuff is still better or whether the recipe has changed over time. But either way, draft isn't very practical in this case.

I haven't tried IBC, but did notice it contains high-fructose corn syrup. It's been years since I've tried Barqs, but since I didn't like it then, I doubt I'd bother to try it again.

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@dergage: Since the reunion is for my dad's 90th birthday, my first instinct was Dad's root beer. However, it seems to fall to the middle or bottom of most lists. Just doing a bit more searching and see that, depending on bottler, it can be made with either high-fructose corn syrup or cane sugar. I know they carry it at the local World Market, so maybe I should go read the label and see what type of sweetener they use here.

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@kcostell: Boylan's is one of those that tends towards the tops of lists, and I know my son likes their cream soda. I use to be able to get Boylan's at Trader Joe's, but now have to get it from the local World Market. They have a rather iffy supply of Boylan's, but while I'm there checking the Dad's I can see if they currently have it.

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Boylan & Henry Weinhard's are my favorites. If you are looking for something that is easier to find, IBC and Barq's are both very good as well.

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@csunwold: I saw Bulldog at World Market last time I was there. Reviews they link to sound good, but I'd appreciate hearing your personal experience with the brand.

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@thefenst: I could swear I've seen Henry Weinhard's root beer somewhere, but so far haven't found it locally. It's possible I saw it when shopping in California (where we are headed) so maybe I could buy it when I get there.

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@gionot: Bulldog is much creamier than a lot of other rootbeers I have tried. Overall I've just found it superior to all other rootbeers. I believe Boylan has a birch beer which is similar but different from root beer. I also high recommend that.

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Has anyone tried Trader Joe's Vintage Root Beer? I saw it did well on one list, but not so well on others.

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@csunwold: Thanks for your reply. I don't think I've ever tried birch beer, though I was once tempted to brew my own when I saw a good deal on the syrup. If we end up buying a variety of brands, the Boylan's birch beer might be good to throw into the mix (assuming I can find it).

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I love root beer, but I'd give it up any day for a frosty glass of birch beer. It must be a regional thing as I grew up drinking in when I spent my summers in PA. Haven't seen anything even close to it down south.

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@lavikinga: oo cream soda and birch beer. The only time I can get birch is if I go to a Local Five guys or Jerry's sub

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Dad's or Barq's are comparable to A&W. IMHO. I don't see how you could go wrong with any of those.

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Barq's is the best. More bite to it.

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@asahel01: Right there with you. Hate Barq's but love A&W and IBC.

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There is another one that seems more regional - Frostie's. I like it nearly as much as IBC and A&W.

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@bigfrank: My grocery store carries Stewart's. What is it you like about it compared to others?

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@mtm2: I seem to remember running across Frostie root beer somewhere in my youth, but looking at the company's history I'm not quite sure where that would have been. I see the brand is now owned by Intrastate out of Detroit, so not too likely to find it here in the west.

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Frosties is sold at our local farm and fleet store. 99c for a 32oz bottle. :) Love it.

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@gionot: Old fashion taste in a small bottle

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Thanks again to all who made suggestions, but especially @csunwold (see below)! I bought the first 4 drinks I found that were made with cane sugar (since reviews favored cane sugar sodas). There was a shortage of drinks, so bringing the soda (and a plastic tub and large bag of ice we picked up on the way) worked out well.

In order of least favorite to most, as reported by family members (soda is too sweet for me):

4) Dad's Root Beer Nobody was overly impressed.

3) Bulldog Root Beer Better than Dad's but nobody raved about it. (To be fair my Dad had one that hadn't finished chilling.)

2) Virgil's Root Beer The surprise winner among root beer's was something I picked up last minute.

1) Boylan's Birch Beer The overwhelming favorite in this tasting, described as a rich, creamy, almost root beer flavor. We learned that my Mom's family used to alternate between making homemade root beer and birch beer. (She's 90, too, but we celebrated her birthday last fall.)