As your trusted filter for all things Americana, I felt like it was my duty to try Not Your Father’s Root Beer, one of the hottest drinks in the country. Sure, tons of people have already reviewed it online, but they’re not me, and only a voice as authentic and gritty as mine is likely to make it into posterity. And those future generations need to know how their father’s root beer tasted, damn it.
A quick Google search reveals an alcoholic beverage shrouded in conspiracy. Shadowy links to the progenitors of Four Loko are speculated on. The name of the company behind the root beer, Small Town Brewery, smacks of a cynical nod to the craft brewery crowd, distilling the concept of the independent brewer to a bald essence.
Considering that Not Your Father’s Root Beer is distributed nationally from a plant that also produces Smirnoff Ice, you have to wonder what you’re actually buying. In fact, if it’s even technically beer.
But whatever. Really, none of that is too important, except for the satisfaction of saying “gotcha”, proving your intellectual superiority in the process.
What matters is if tastes good, right?
Turns out Not Your Father’s Root Beer tastes exactly like commercial root beer, though perhaps more like Stewart’s than Barq’s. There are hints of vanilla, anise, sarsparilla, and wintergreen – everything except alcohol. It’s as if you’re magically getting trashed.
“What do you mean I was slurring and barfed all over their couch, right before calling my ex and telling her I loved her? All I had that night was root beer!”
Rest assured, Not Your Father’s Root Beer rocks an ABV of 5.9%, with some variations clocking in much, much higher.
Which, in turn, reveals its true target market: people that don’t like the taste of beer, wine, or liquor, but like getting drunk. They can buy this and feel like they’re still getting in on the high-brow craft brew movement. It’s a sickly sweet beverage for people that think Applebee’s has good food, though shockingly it only has about the same amount of calories as a Sam Adams Boston Lager.
I have a hard time imagining putting back a 6 pack of this stuff, for the same reason I wouldn’t drink a 2 liter of root beer in a single night, even with ample vodka at hand.
That’s just me, though. I can definitely get why this stuff is so popular, and I think in the near future we’ll be seeing a lot more drinks hitting the shelves that cleverly disguise the actual presence of alcohol. It’s an insanely profitable idea if you know how to sell it.
Smirnoff Ice got taken down for being unsophisticated. Four Loko went too extreme, mixing a high alcohol percentage with a hefty dose of caffeine, and was nearly banned from the US.
Not Your Father’s Root Beer gets it “just right”. It’s the drink Goldilocks would’ve chosen.