Henry Weinhard's root beer

I consider myself to be somewhat of a root beer connoisseur. I have tried so many different types of root beer that I am a walking encyclopedia of the beverage. I’ve explored Virgil’s (considered one of the best–but I find to be a little complex and heavy on the licorice) and Stewart’s and Jones and IBC and Dad’s (a little weak) and countless others. I have my current favorites (Bulldog and Boylan’s are awesome) and I try to buy as many as I can get (difficult in my area without an hour’s drive or more), but there is one that has been practically impossible for me to obtain, and I was wondering if anyone here might have a line on it so I could give it a try.

Henry Weinhard’s is considered the best in so many lists, but it is almost exclusively sold on the west coast, and every establishment that I have located that would sell it to me online wants to charge a STUPID amount on shipping (a case of 24 bottles for about 25.00, plus 55.00 just to ship it?!?!?!

Any other root beer nuts try this, and if so what did you think? Any ideas how someone on the southeast coast could get this without paying insane amounts on shipping?

And since the thread is open, what are your favorites?

I don’t consider myself a root beer connoisseur, but Henry Weinhard is, indeed, delicious stuff. Another West Coast root beer of note if Thomas Kemper. I think the two are about even, as far as taste is concerned. They both seem to have a little more flavor than Stewarts, which is my favorite of the ones you say are available to you.

Henry’s is good if you like a somewhat creamy texture and flavor. The other flavors are a bit subdued and mellow, but just interesting enough to be good. I wouldn’t say it’s the best around, but it’s up there.

But don’t pay that much for it. At that price, a couple cases will practically buy you a ticket to Portland.

I’m in agreement with you on Virgil’s, but it can be good ice cold. I also think Boylan’s is one of the best, but I haven’t had Bulldog. Where can it be found?
One of my old favorites is Sioux City Sarsaparilla. I used to live on it, but I only knew one store that stocked it and they don’t anymore.
Have you tried Rat Bastard? It’s not exactly root beer, but it’s not exactly not root beer either. Either way, it’s a good swift kick in the face.

I’m looking to get a case or two in the next few days and if I do, I could ship you a bulldog so you can try it. It really is one of the best tasting root beers ever. Perhaps if you have access to a particular kind that I cannot get you could return the favor.

Hell, why not make it an root beer exchange thread?

I’ve seen reviews of Rat Bastard, but I’ve never tried it.

Here is a list of what I have access to:

Dad’s (hour’s drive)
Bulldog (hour’s drive)
Sioux City Sarsaparilla

List of what I want to try, but don’t have access to:

Henry Weinhard’s
Thomas Kemper
Moose’s Tooth

I forgot to mention that I wanted to try Thomas Kemper. Great, another one I probably will never try. :frowning:

Henry’s or Hires. I haves seen Hires for ages, but it used to be available in SoCal in the early 80s when I last saw it. They also used to sell extract for home made! Yum, and slightly alcoholic when home made.

Oh, and I’ve tried just about every one listed in this thread. Henry’s is head and shoulders better than any of the rest.

IMO you’re not missing anything special with Thomas Kemper. I tried it several times and was disappointed. This was several years ago so I can’t remember exactly what I didn’t like about it, but my tongue gave it a big thumbs-down.

Currently Stewart’s tops my list, with Boyland and Jones battling for second. All three are pleasingly available to me from local grocery stores.

Henry’s is a favorite of my husband and I. It really is that good. I love the smooth full flavor of it. It really fills the mouth and makes other root beers taste like root beer flavored koolaid in comparison. We’ve had the joy of having Henry’s root beer on tap (micro brewery in an area known for it’s Mormon population) and from a pony keg (private party, ordered special.) Tap is best, then bottle, then keg.

Thomas Kemper is good, but not quite as complex, IMO.

If you can get to an A&W restaurant, their root beer is the best of the standards. it’s not in the same league as Henry and Thomas, but it’s better than anything you can get in a can. We sometimes buy a gallon jug for parties.

Yea, what she says. It used to be good when A&W had the Sonic Business plan. Unfortunately, I think even A&W compromised their Root Beer recipe for expansion. Wish it was the same, but I can taste the difference.

A&W canned is so-so at best. A&W on tap from a restaurant is heaven. Fresh root beer is pure ambrosia. Bulldog is indeed bloody good; I can get it here at Cost Plus World Market, if that’s any help. But it still doesn’t compare to fresh A&W.

BJ’s Brewery also makes root beer, if you happen to have one nearby. Excellent stuff, although I’m sure plenty of people laugh at me for getting the root beer instead of the regular kind.

Henry Weinhard’s is common here. It’s pretty good stuff but not worth the cost to buy it on a regular basis, IMO. And also IMO his cream soda is better than his root beer.

I meet a lot of root beer snobs (actually I don’t meet a lot of root beer drinkers but the ones I meet tend to be snobs) who’ve just got to have their micro super double barrelled mustache-twisting, monocle-wearing $13 per 6-pack root beers, but let me tell you something . . . I’m a bit of a root beer enthusiast myself. I’ve travelled and lived all over the country and the world, and I get root beer wherever it’s available. I’ve been drinking the stuff my whole life and I’m always looking to try new ones whenever and wherever I can. People put these down without thinking too hard about it just because they’re “big names”, but the two best root beers, IMO, are A&W and IBC Hands down. Everything else is either a cheap knockoff or tries too hard and misses the mark in one direction or another.

A couple of years ago, I went to an A & W restaurant, I didn’t even know they had restaurants, I thought it was just a root beer maker. Their root beer on tap is amazing - better than any canned or bottled root beer I’ve ever had - not more than 10 or so brands, but still impressive root beer. I also dislike Virgils, but will tru Weinhard’s when I get a chance.


Mugs is what I usually drink, when I drink it.

Henry’s is about the best bottled RB around here. The only thing better is the RB they make at the local brewpub and serve on tap.

Henry’s, Thomas Kemper, and Virgil’s top my list. Henry’s and Kemper are significantly sweeter than a lot of root beers I’ve had - good for my sweet tooth, but I can see it being a turn-off. Also both creamier, although Henry’s moreso. Virgil’s is excellent, too, a little more bitter, which can be good too. IBC is close, although less sweet, so I really prefer it for floats, where it’s a nice contrast. Again, though, I have a major sweet tooth, so YMMV. I’ve never had A&W on tap, but I find the cans a little watery, same with Boylan’s (actually, I may be misremembering, I’ve only had Boylan’s once, but I recall not being wildly enthused).

As for availability, I don’t think BevMo is a national chain, but if you have anything similar, I was very pleasantly surprised that they had an entire wall dedicated to root beers, ginger beers, and the like.

Bah! More like Henry Weinflaccid. Buttery, sugary nonsense, I sez!

A good root beer should kick you in the teeth, beat you about the ribs when you crumple and then go bang your wife while you’re huddled in a sobbing heap in the corner.

Sounds more like some of the ginger beers I’ve had :slight_smile:

None of these sissy soft drinks for you I take it.

I just got my first sixer of Henry Weinhard’s this past week, and I tend to agree with your assessment. It was way too creamy and flat-tasting.

I was a pretty big fan of Sprecher. Even their low-cal Root Beer is awesome.

Weinhards hasn’t been the same since they sold to SAB Miller back in the late 90’s and stopped selling Blitz, so I won’t try their root beer, but Goose Island makes a really good small batch that’s worth trying if you can get your hands on it.