Feb 272019

Dad's Root Beer Barrel

Time to write a post about the most iconic root beer candy there is, the root beer barrel. I’m sure that’s what you first thought of back when I said I would write about candy and stuff. Because honestly, while other candies may have a root beer flavor, there is no other barrel candy. The root beer barrel is as synonymous with old fashioned candies as lemon drops and those ribbon candy things that your grandma used to give you. There’s a lot of types, and I aim to write about them all, but to start I’m going with Dad’s, since it’s also a rather iconic root beer brand with national distribution.

They’re nice and sweet with flavor that is not unlike Dad’s Root Beer, unsurprisingly. This means that there isn’t a strong licorice or mint flavor, and there’s a hint of spice. It also isn’t too sticky for hard candy, if that makes any sense. And gives a fine root beer like experience.

Yum. I can honestly say I really enjoy sucking these things. Being of a lighter flavor profile than some of the other root beer hard candies, you can pop quite a few in a row and they don’t get old. I can’t wait to see what they other root beer barrel candies are like. Until then, I highly recommend these.

Jan 302019

Ice Chips Candy Root Beer Float

I don’t know where I found these. I think someone gave them to me. Part of the reason I decided to start writing about all of these root beer products after all is because people give them to me regardless (the other part being I have to write about something…) So yeah, xylitol? It’s a naturally occurring sugar alcohol. You find it a lot in gum because it still tastes sweet, it still has calories and is metabolized, but sugar alcohols don’t promote tooth decay. I don’t know why, I’m neither a dentist nor a chemist so I’m just gonna believe my five minutes of googling on the matter and call it good. Yes, I know it’s a root beer float candy and not a root beer candy, but these posts are already setting their own rules so I say it’s well within the realms of “root beer products”. I’m not near as picky about these things as I am about actual root beer.

It has an interesting root beer type taste with some creamy vanilla undertones to make it root beer floaty, it isn’t very strong but it isn’t bad. It has a kind of off texture, the kind you get when you make crystallized candy that isn’t from sugar. It seems best to not chew them for that reason. There is only the slightest hint of off flavor from only xylitol being a sweetener.

All in all they’re surprisingly good, considering what they are and what they’re made of. I honestly expected much worse. Now, if you’re looking for a root beer candy, do I recommend them, err, no. While it isn’t bad for a sugar alcohol sweetened candy, and while those end up much better than diet sodas cause, calories still, it still doesn’t taste like what you’d be looking for in a hard root beer candy or root beer float candy. But it isn’t bad so I eating it isn’t a punishment, just not much of a pleasure.

Some of the ice chips. They are chips.

Some of the ice chips. They are chips.

Jan 232019

Gilliam Candy Stick Root Beer

Gilliam’s Candy was started by a man named Cleve Gilliam. It was originally called “The Candy Kitchen” at his flagship location in Paducah, Kentucky. Cleve made his candy well, and it expanded and expanded until in 1944 he retired and sold the business. It kept going and expanding and was eventually bought by Quality Candy Company in 2003, which made them the largest manufacturer of stick candy west of the Rocky Mountains. Which I’m glad someone still uses such phrases, though I’m curious how they figured that. Also I got this east of the Rockies, so that means there’s a bigger, yet at this moment unknown, maker of stick candies who’s rivalry no doubt is the stuff of legend in the stick candy world. Also they probably make their own root beer flavor, but anyways, back to Gilliam. I personally like stick candy, it reminds of candy canes but isn’t near as annoying because the crook isn’t always breaking off.

A pleasant generic root beer flavor, much like a root beer barrel. There is a distinct wintergreen flavor in this, which, not uncommon in root beer, does distinguish this a bit from other root beer hard candies I’ve had and leaves your breath feeling minty. It also has a strong flavor for a hard candy, so I recommend you should lick it slowly rather than bite off chunks and suck on them. Maybe that’s general knowledge, but I’m kind of new to this hard candy world.

All in all, it does justice to the beverage from which it gets its namesake, and really, that’s all that one can ask for with this sort of thing. So I can honestly say I’d get it again, if I were looking for a root beer candy stick.