The marriage of craft beer and coffee is an incredibly successful one, so it seems kind of odd that (up until this weekend) this country’s intrepid brewers hadn’t merged beer with another favorite non-alcoholic beverage: Soda.
Last Friday, Sprecher Brewing announced the small-scale release of Bootlegger’s Bourbon Barrel Hard Root Beer, a 5%-ABV version of its popular soda, which fans of the brewery had been requesting for quite some time. The root beer apparently spent some time in bourbon casks, so expect hints of booze and oak threaded through the profile. As a fan of root beer in general, this sounds pretty amazing.
As of now, the new release is in test-market phase, so it’s only available at the brewery and in limited supply in southeastern Wisconsin and Madison, Wis.
I don’t know much about the history of root beer—aside from the fact that pharmacies once sold it as medicinal tonic in the 1800s—but I’ve heard historic versions (like way back in the 18th century) contained a small amount of alcohol. Of course they also contained sassafras, a carcinogen, but clearly Sprecher isn’t trying to be that historically accurate.
Will the recreation of historic American alcoholic sodas be the next sub-movement of the craft beer revolution? Will you be the next connoisseur of root beer, birch beer and burdock? Do you wear a handlebar mustache?
I, for one, am seriously looking forward to trying this (root) beer.