Root Beers Compared

I've always been a root beer fan. Over the years I've tried many, and here's how I'd rank the ones I find frequently in the store today for taste to price ratio.

A&W - Best of the breed. Priced right, with that "frosty mug taste", makes great floats, and is enjoyable by itself. Buy! Interestingly, I don't care for IBC root beer as much, even though it too is owned by Cadbury-Schwepps

Virgil's - Pricey but quite good when you have some extra cash to spend on a sipping brew BUT my recent purchases (two four packs, about six months apart, each from Trader Joe's) have had inexplicably low carbonation compared to before. This is a complex root beer with a slight anise taste backed up with other spices and flavors with a good mouth feel but I feel that it still needs abundant carbonation as a necessary foil for the sweet, so I was less than happy. Perhaps it is related to the takeover by the Reed's soda empire? However, even more recently I had some from another Trader Joes in a far away city and it was fine. This finding allows it to keep its number two position provisionally. Don't make floats with this one, but sip it when in a contemplative mood. Buy.

Hansen's - Thin and watery both in taste and mouth feel. As a result it makes horrible floats. It's not incredibly satisfying to drink either. Avoid.

Barq's - Bad taste, thin mouth feel. Not really a root beer so far as I'm concerned due to the "barq's bite" (caffeine). Avoid!

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