Jul 152015
 

A&W Root Beer BottleA and W. Two letters that redefined the root beer and fast food landscape. While Charles Hires brought us the fine drink we call root beer, it was Allen and Wright that took it to the modern era. Forty-three years after Hires swept the nation with dry powdered concentrate and bottled goodness, a new player entered the fray with a new way to do things. While Hires was a genius in advertising, and Allen the father of the modern franchise. Within two decades his root beer stands dotted the land and his brew the most commonly drank root beer in the country and became the defacto root beer standard definition of a root beer for many. Other business titans, like the Marriotts, sprang from humble franchise owners. While growing up, for me, A&W was the good stuff. The special root beer instead of the store brands. And after I became The Root Beer Gourmet, A&W also ushered in another era. For while I’d had several types of glass bottled root beer, and had sworn never to go back to cans or plastic, it wasn’t until I found bottles of this being sold in a mini-mart on White Pass that I started my root beer bottle collection. I was traveling there with my future brother-in-law to get his sister on the other side of the pass. I’d never seen my old favorite in glass bottles and I wanted to keep the bottle to show my dad.

It’s got a good Body and nice Head, but is too harsh in the carbonation on the Bite. Aftertaste is very pleasant.

This is a nice creamy root beer that’s good but not quite top notch. It’s middle of the road though, so everyone pretty much likes it if they like root beer. After that trip I decided that I would collect a root beer bottle from every new brew that I drank, and rate them as to which was the best. The website idea came several weeks later. A&W, once again it’d changed the root beer world. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three and a half kegs


Jun 192013
 

Hires Big H Root BeerI was visiting Salt Lake City to give a presentation on electric vehicles and vehicle-to-grid and I had to drop by and check out the local root beer stand. Started in 1959 it was originally a Hires Drive-in, but after the owner died, they were forced to change the name so they added Big H to it since he only had a verbal agreement with Hires to use the name which wasn’t enforceable after none of the people involved in said verbal agreement were alive. Everything else is identical to how it was, including the root beer, so this is really one of the few Hires root beer stands left in the US. They have three in the area. Interestingly, they also make their own root beer concentrate, Hires Big H, which is a different recipe. Why they don’t sell both side by side is beyond me but whatever. It is the classic 1950’s diner with car service still available. They ask you to have your lights on if you’d like car service in the dedicated parking area. They serve the standard diner foods with signature burgers and a secret fry sauce. It’s pretty cool.

The Body is spicy and caramely with mild licorice hints. It isn’t very creamy, more of a dark flavor, but it isn’t overly strong so it’s quite refreshing. There’s an ok Bite from spices and carbonation. The Head is very tall when you ask for it that way but it fizzes down a little quicker than I prefer. The Aftertaste is a light spicy caramel with the fainest licorice tint to it. I really wish the whole thing were stronger.

This is a solid and refreshing brew but it doesn’t really have anything extra special to move me, and it’s a little weak for my tastes. But it’s good to get some Hires since my petition to get them to bottle it seems in vain. It does go well with their food. The fry sauce is yummy and their pastrami burger was amazing. The extra tall Head pushes it barely in to 3.5 territory, so it’ll probably be the low cutoff for that. The service was extra nice too, so I do recommend dropping by if you’re in the region.

Three and a half kegs

The Hires Big H Root Beer Stand in Salt Lake City

The Hires Big H Root Beer Stand in Salt Lake City

The inside of the Hires Big H diner

The inside of the diner

"Pastrami H" burger with fries and their secret fry sauce

“Pastrami H” burger with fries and their secret fry sauce


Nov 082012
 

Hires 8 pack ad
Every so often there comes a time when people need to band together to change the world, one of those times is now. For over 100 years Hires Root Beer, the original root beer, has been offered to the public for their root beer enjoyment. In recent years however, Hires has receded dramatically in distribution. Worse than that, however, is the fact that it is no longer offered in glass bottles.
The advantages of glass bottles are many, including:

  • Tradition
  • Infinitely Reusable
  • Infinitely Recyclable
  • Longer Shelf Life
  • Better Taste
  • Especially Better Taste

For some root beers, this is not a problem, for the Original Root Beer, the Father of all Root Beers, this is a disgraceful shame that must be changed. I, the Root Beer Gourmet, therefore have taken it upon myself to start a petition to correct this problem. Please follow the link below and tell Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, the owners of the Hires brand, that we, the root beer connoisseurs of the world, demand better, we demand Hires Root Beer in glass!

Petition Link, Please Click and Sign