U.S. Food Review: Root Beer

A big part of getting used to the culture and everyday life of the USA is very much linked to new food experiences. The latest taste test / food review is for Root Beer. I tried a brand called Stewart’s, which was originally started back in 1924 in Ohio by a man called Frank Stewart.

The Information

Root beer is a carbonated drink traditionally made from the root/bark of either the sarsaparilla or sassafras tree – most available products these days use an artificial substitute – which contributes to the distinctive flavour.

It can be alcoholic or non-alcoholic (the variety that I tried was non-alcoholic) and is made commercially in every  state in the U.S. – reflecting the fact that it is almost exclusively a North American beverage.

root beer collage
The Taste Test

This drink is where the difference between American and European tastes becomes very clear – to me it tasted overpoweringly of mouthwash and/or a muscle rub cream.

I have spoken to a few people about it to gauge a range of thoughts, and interestingly enough, all the Europeans spoken to agreed that it tasted of toothpaste/mouthwash whilst the Americans did not detect the dental care product overtones the rest of us picked up on.

root beer 5

The Verdict

Root beer is thirst quenching and sweet, and I can see how, on a hot day, it would be a nice refreshing treat, but  I feel like I should gargle with it instead of drink it. Not for me!

Have you tried root beer? Do you get the mouthwash/toothpaste taste? What would you like to see me try next?


20 thoughts on “U.S. Food Review: Root Beer

    • Molly @ The Move to America says:

      I will give A & W a try as I have heard it is good – and a root beer floast is next on my list – I did not think there was an alcoholic version, but when talking to people and doing a bit of research about it, apparently there is. I have never seen it though so it may be on the rare side!


  1. ldr13 says:

    I’m not huge on rootbeer but A&W has the best. That’s the one place I order rootbeer over iced tea (sweet tea in the States); they are known for it. I’m not sure if they have A&W in the U.S. In the 50’s they would roller blade your rootbeer and burgers out to your car which is pretty cool. I can’t say I’ve ever detected mouthwash but it definitely has a distinctive flavour; I think it has hints of maple syrup in it.

    Another question, speaking of the 50’s. Have you been to a drive-in movie yet? My man says they don’t have them in the U.K. that he knows of. That’s one thing I’m really gonna miss. It feels like a romantic step back in time and I just love it. 🙂


    • Molly @ The Move to America says:

      I will seek out the A & W and give it a try!

      I have been to a drive-in movie last summer and absolutely loved it! It did feel very retro and like a romantic step back in time! I had never been to one as your man is right, as far as I know there are no examples of drive-ins in the UK. I think they would be a big hit!


      • ldr13 says:

        Glad you’ve had the chance to go to the drive-in 🙂 I’ve mentioned half jokingly to my man that we should start one up in the U.K. As awesome as that would be the start-up costs would probably be a bit high. They really are neat though!


  2. Susan says:

    I love love love root beer!! I drink A&W diet. I don’t drink it often, but I really enjoy to when I do. My husband is European and hates it! He says it tastes like licorice, and I could see his point after he said that (and nearly ruined it for me forever!). I don’t like black licorice., only red.

    I’m glad you tried it, and I never thought about it being all-American. I love this series!


    • Molly @ The Move to America says:

      My husband really loves it too – he was quite happy that I was not so keen so he could finish my one – and the rest that we were meant to share!

      I am glad you like the series, I have not been able to do so much of it lately but will try and keep up on it as with the summer coming there is a lot of foods for this time of year to try!


  3. Lisa says:

    I’m with everybody else – try a root beer float. (Or as we call them in this part of Illinois “black cows.” Not sure if that’s a typical name for a root beer float, but it’s what they’re known as locally.)


  4. Didi Paterno-Magpali (@didipaterno) says:

    I see that A&W is a runaway favorite. I grew up with it too, coming from a former American “colony”. But I have other favorites like IBC and, as mentioned, the Amish homemade ones. They usually sell in unlabelled glass jugs. It maybe depends on the Amish store, but they can let you taste before you buy a jug 🙂


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