Sober October is upon us once again; we the grizzled warriors that brave the dry and daunting wilderness of alcohol-free Friday and Saturday nights. Whatever the reason for momentarily setting aside the social suds, fear not my valorous knights and ladies. There awaits you a forsaken but glorious alternative, a balm in gilead more sweet and sassafras-laden than tongue can tell…
The balm of gilead I speak of, beer of the root, finds itself NOT on forbidden lists during Sober October. Thus, I present you the 3 most palatable draught style beers of the root, and one wildcard, to get you through Sober October and into liquid refreshment Valhalla:
1. Hank’s Root Beer
The top choice for a myriad of reasons, but mostly because of its overall smoothness and savor. This Philadelphia brewed gem is comprised of premium ingredients like pure cane sugar and a proprietary blend of yucca, acacia, vanilla, and quillaia. Hank’s has a perfect draught style head, full body, and pleasant kiss-of-caramel-vanilla aftertaste, it’s hallmark trait. The entire experience, from the moment the first drop hits one’s tongue, to minutes after the last drop has been lapped down, is a root beer utopia and it doesn’t really get better than this. Even the bottle and design is classically crafted to match this rich and creamy Sober October delight. Do yourself a solid, and give Hank’s a shot.
2. Henry Weinhard’s Root Beer
Henry's recipe was developed at the Weinhard Brewery in Oregon during Prohibition in the 1920’s, the original Sober October. It gave loyalists to the brewery something to enjoy during their dry spell. This timeless classic beer of the root is also rich and creamy, with a soft but palpable vanilla, sassafras, and honey flavoring. Henry’s has just the right amount of bite while not being too spicy. It also has the perfect amount of sweetness. The head is frothy and lingers. Henry's is likely the standard to compare other root beer heads against. In a nod to the founder, Henry, the bottle proudly displays its creator’s face. Cheers, Henry, and touché to your OG beer of the root bandits.
3. Brigham’s Brew
Named after the very man who once owned the exclusive manufacturing and distribution rights of liquor and whiskey in the entire Utah territory, Brigham Young. This brew matches the boldness of the frontiersman with a solid but not overbearing bite that comes from the touch of wintergreen spice mixed with the carbonation. The head is great with lots of fizz, though it dissipates rather quickly. To the delight of sweet tooths everywhere, this is a more saccharine beer of the root, with an extra 15-or-so grams of sugar than many of its contemporaries. Brigham’s Brew was created and produced at Utah’s first brewery and one of the first craft brewers in all of the USofA, the Wasatch Brewery. Overall a minty fresh fall flavored Sober October substitute.
Wildcard: BAWLS Guarana Root Beer
BAWLS is a wildcard for a reason. There is no middle ground. Either one loves or hates this quasi-bastardized version of the classic draught style beer of the root. If energy drinks and/or caffeine are your thing, give this a shot. If not, be warned, but still give it a fair chance. What makes BAWLS unique is the combo of the exotic guarana berry paired with a shot of caffeine, resulting in a tangy, slightly fruitified root beer mash-up that will give a kick to your central nervous system and take you back to a hot summer’s day in your younger years when the world was your oyster and Sober October wasn’t a worry.
As you embark on this wild ride that is Sober October, let the drink deities smile upon you and fill the inevitable void with sweet liquid refreshment in the form of these 4 gourmet draught style beers of the root. Cheers and good luck!