root beer

For the uninitiated, this is root beer:

root beer

It is traditionally tapped directly out of the keg into a heavy glass mug that has been deeply chilled, although under some conditions a plastic container must be used.  If it must be transported long distances it is sometime necessary to bottle it in glass bottles, in which case it can be drunk straight or poured into a chilled mug or glass. Under no circumstances is it to be adulterated with ice.  Note that while there are some bubbles to be seen, it is not fully carbonated.

The fizzy horror that you find in cans is not root beer.  It is root beer flavored soda.  You may like the canned stuff or you may not, but if that’s all you’ve ever had you have no idea whether or not you actually like root beer.

The good people at Birky Farms (, best known locally for their food truck setup featuring first class barbecued pork in all its glorious variety, also turn out a very fine root beer.  It’s rich and dark and full of wintergreen, with that odd thickness that coats the tongue that only the best genuine root beer has.   There is no finer beverage on a hot summer day than a good root beer.  At the fair yesterday, I refilled my Birky mug twice,and I’ve spent all day today sorry that I didn’t drink a second quart while I had the chance.

all images ©2012 Pam Bliss

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3 Responses to root beer

  1. sbieri says:

    Do they deliver? For all the small-batch beer brewing going on in Michigan, I couldn’t tell you where to get a proper root beer around here.

  2. Pam Bliss says:

    Sad to say, I have no idea. I’ve only drunk their root beer at the fairgrounds or whenever I meet up with the Birky’s food truck and grills. At home we drink various brands bottled stuff (which is always too carbonated), although we have hopes that the new microbrewer will eventually start producing the good stuff. It’s sad that with a ton of microbrewers in your area you can’t get a decent fresh growler of root beer.

  3. Wolfie says:

    Great memories of Hannon’s, RIP… and the two one-gallon jugs I always purchased and packed in ice for the drive back home. Glad to know there’s still good root beer out there- when I’m back in the States, I’m there!

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