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PC Paul Oh

No parental guidance needed

booze cluesSmall Town Brewery must have sold their souls away. Either that or, realistically, they’re just very good at what they do. All that can be said for certain is that the end product, Not Your Father’s Root Beer, is a beer that is gaining steam and rightfully so.

It’s hard to review Not Your Father’s Root Beer without just reviewing some soda instead. It’s almost an exact clone. In fact, I had a fun time covering up the label and asking people to guess what it is – unsurprisingly, all of the answers came back, “it’s just root beer, right?”

Pouring it into a glass confirms the suspicion that something almost too good is happening here. The beer pours out a dark brown, looking just like a soft drink. It even has some of the same carbonation, the same fizzy look that would suggest it’s a sugary soda. There’s only something slightly off, like the cloning machine got every part down except one and that’s the only distinguishing factor. It’s not quite as robust as soda looks, it even looks a bit like root beer that was left out and has gone a tiny bit flat.

The smell falls in line with the looks and you can smell root beer goodness. It’s pure sugar and spice, all the things that make root beer good. You can get a whiff of sarsaparilla and vanilla from every glass. Again though, there’s something a bit remiss that sets it apart from beer. If you sniff long enough, a faint hint of alcohol shines through. It’s not a strong smell but it’s certainly there if you know what you’re looking for.

Taste-wise, it’s the same case. It’s root beer. Pretty good root beer at that. The alcohol is almost undetectable, though if you chug enough of the stuff, you’ll start to get that familiar alcohol burn in the back of your mouth. Casual sipping just doesn’t lead to the taste of alcohol though, and it’s easy to fool yourself into thinking this is just some solid soda.

I could see drinking this while eating a huge pile of wings with friends. It’s great for social sipping because you’ll often forget you’re even drinking a beer that rests at 5.9% ABV, a surprisingly high alcohol content considering it isn’t reflected in the taste. In any instance you would drink regular root beer but want to get buzzed, substitute Not Your Father’s Root Beer. It’s that easy.

Like all good things, Not Your Father’s Root Beer comes with a few stipulations.

You’re going to want to keep it cold. Assuming you’re in it for the root beer taste, and I’m not sure why you would buy it otherwise, it most accurately reproduces those flavors when chilled. Once it warms up, the alcohol is a bit more prominent, and the whole experience becomes more akin to a spiced beer than soda.

It’s also a bit pricey compared to other beers. At $12 for a six pack, it can end up breaking the bank. Small Town Brewery does offer both bottles and cans though, which is cool, and not something you often see outside of bigger beers like Yuengling or National Bohemian.

Not Your Father’s Root Beer is an amazing experience for fans of root beer though, and has quickly become one of my go-to beers. Just don’t forget that you’re drinking beer, as easy as it might be to do so.