David’s Root Beer and Gourmet Soda Ratings

Olde Brooklyn Williamsburg Root Beer

I love root beer. I have always loved root beer. But it’s a relatively free country. You’re welcome to your colas, your root beer that tries to be a cola (Barq’s), and your yellowish liquid which doesn’t resemble any condensation I ever saw in the mountains or elsewhere.

I enjoy a good root beer or ginger beer, and a good gourmet soda in general — once or twice a week, when I can.

For my own amusement and reference, for the eye-rolling of my family, and for the entertainment of friends both present and future, I keep this online list of root beers and selected other sodas I’ve enjoyed, with letter grades rating them.

Read: About My Rating System

Here are a few notes about my rating system:

  • It is quite subjective. Live with it.
  • t’s not as snooty as you might think; see A&W’s ratings below.
  • I give a single rating based on taste, aftertaste, and texture, not color or head.
  • Your agreement, dissent, discussion, and especially recommendations are welcome.

My letter grades have more or less the following general meanings:

  • I would go out of my way to find anything in the A range.
    • A+ is nectar from a higher (perhaps lower?) realm. It is irresistible, dangerously tempting. Not just tempting. It must be dangerous to my long-term well-being if I have it, or to my sanity if I don’t.
    • A is the top of the heap. I don’t award an A on the basis of a single bottle or a single day — so it’s likely some A-‘s could move up eventually. (And any rating is subject to change.)
    • A- is a very fine root beverage.
  • The B’s are worth drinking, when no better beverage is available. They’re good.
    • B+ is very good.
    • B is good.
    • B- is pretty good.
  • The C’s I will occasionally enjoy, if I’m thirsty enough or the pizza is good, and if they’re ice-cold. But I’m more likely to choose water.
  • The D’s I actively avoid and may also actively disparage. Barq’s is presently alone in that category, but certain big-box house brands not yet listed are also candidates — if I ever drink them again and can give them a rating.

If two adjacent grades are given, I’m undecided so far.

For a more descriptive, higher-brow sets of root beer ratings and reviews, check out Eric’s Gourmet Root Beer Site and Rob’s Root Beer Review. And Utah readers, er, drinkers may especially enjoy this 2010 article on a “Root Beer Renaissance.”

Updated August 17, 2019.

The A’s

Root Beers

A

  • Anchor Ginger Root Beer
  • Olde Brooklyn Williamsburg Root Beer

A/A-

  • Henry Weinhardt’s
  • Sprecher
  • Virgil’s Special Edition Bavarian Nutmeg Root Beer

A-

  • A&W (fountain)
  • Bandit
  • Brigham’s Brew
  • Dachshunds
  • Dog n Suds
  • Gale’s
  • Hank’s (Philadelphia Recipe)
  • Hippo Size Jumbo
  • IBC
  • Kutztown
  • Maddox Birch Root Beer (available only at the restaurant in Perry, Utah)
  • O-So Butterscotch Root Beer
  • Old Red Eye
  • Red Rock
  • Saranac
  • Sioux City
  • Sparky’s

A-/B+

  • Berghoff
  • Bulldog
  • Capone Family Secret
  • Reading Draft
  • River City
  • Robusto
  • Saranac
  • St. John’s Virgin Islands
  • Stewart’s

Other Gourmet Sodas

A+/A

  • Bundaberg Peach
  • Henry Weinhardt’s Black Cherry Cream
  • Reed’s Stronger Ginger Beer (stronger than extra)
  • Reed’s Extra Ginger Beer
  • Stewart’s Key Lime

A

  • Americana Black Cherry
  • Henry Weinhard’s Orange Cream
  • Reed’s Cherry Ginger Brew
  • Reed’s Ginger Beer
  • Stewart’s Cherries ‘n’ Cream
  • Stewart’s Orange ‘n’ Cream
  • Trader Joe’s Brewed Ginger Beer

A-

  • Americana Orange Cream
  • Apple Beer
  • Bedford’s Ginger Beer
  • Bedford’s Marionberry Creme
  • Bedford’s Orange Cream
  • Caruso’s Legacy Concord Grape
  • Earp’s Original Sarsaparilla
  • Flathead Lake Black Raspberry
  • Henry Weinhard’s Vanilla Cream
  • Nehi Grape
  • O-So Grape
  • O-So Strawberry
  • Reading Strawberry Cream
  • Reed’s Raspberry Ginger Brew
  • Sprecher Strawberry
  • Stewart’s Grape
  • Vernor’s Ginger Ale

A-/B+

  • Americana Honey Cream
  • Americana Huckleberry
  • Snake River Sarsaparilla

The B’s

Root Beers

B+

  • Abita
  • Americana
  • Bedford’s
  • Dad’s
  • Dang! That’s Good
  • Dang! That’s Good Butterscotch Root Beer
  • Dr. Brown’s
  • Foxon Park
  • Frostie
  • Frostop
  • Johnnie Ryan
  • Margo’s Bark
  • New York Seltzer
  • Reading Draft
  • Red Arrow
  • Route Beer 66
  • Sea Dog
  • Sioux City
  • Teddy’s
  • WBC Chicago Style

B

  • A&W (can/bottle)
  • Brownie Caramel Cream Root Beer
  • Bulldog
  • Bundaberg
  • Capt’n Eli’s
  • Cool Mountain
  • Crater Lake
  • Thomas Kemper

B-

  • Hansen’s
  • Polar

Other Gourmet Sodas

B+

  • Bedford’s Ginger Ale
  • Filber’s Grapefruit
  • Frostie Orange
  • Grapefruit Kiss
  • Nehi Orange
  • Nesbitt’s (of California) Strawberry
  • NuGrape Soda

B

  • Nesbitt’s (of California) Orange
  • Pennsylvania Dutch Birch Beer
  • Private Selection Hopped Grapefruit Cream

B-

  • Lemmy Sparkling Lemonade
  • Nehi Peach

The C’s

Root Beers

C+

  • Shasta
  • Sprecher Honey Root Beer — didn’t like the honey taste; others will

C

  • Tommyknocker — others may love the taste of maple; I don’t

Other Gourmet Sodas

C+

  • Frostie Concord Grape

The D’s

Root Beers

D

  • Barq’s

Other Gourmet Sodas

D-

  • Rocket Fizz Dirt Soda (Yes, dirt. It’s barely drinkable — but is that good or bad for dirt soda?)

Coming Someday: My favorite places to get my favorite libations.

One thought on “David’s Root Beer and Gourmet Soda Ratings”

  1. David Rodeback says:

    I’ve promoted Anchor Ginger Root Beer to a straight A, after drinking a few more bottles.

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