The "What is Rootbeer?" Q&A
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What is Rootbeer?
Rootbeer is a sweetened, carbonated, soft drink that was originally made with the bark of a sassafras tree, which provided its primary flavor. In 1930 the FDA determined that natural sassafras was carcinogenic, so its use was outlawed. In the 1960's an effort was made to find a suitable replacement for this ingredient. It was found that by removing the oil, the cancer causing agent, the root could still be used. Today, natural and artificial ingredients are commonly used to create rootbeer's unique flavor.
Who Invented Rootbeer?
The historical roots of rootbeer run deep, and there's a considerable amount of confusion about who invented it, and how this creamy treat came to be. Read History of Rootbeer for all the facts.
When was Rootbeer Mass Produced for Public Sale?
For the popularization of rootbeer, though mass marketing and mass production, we credit Charles Hires. He unveiled his dry version rootbeer recipe to the public at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial exhibition. Four years later, Hires introduced a liquid concentrate, and then finally gave us the bottled ready-to-drink rootbeer in 1893. Popularity skyrocketed.
What is Rootbeer Made Of?
The basic ingredients of rootbeer include sugar, carbonated water and rootbeer extract. Other ingredients added for flavor include anise, allspice, cinnamon, chocolate, ginger, nutmeg, clove, mint, vanilla, wintergreen, corn syrup, honey, molasses, and maple syrup. Many brands of rootbeer include sodium benzoate as a preservative. Some rootbeer brands include caffeine.
Which Rootbeer Brands contain caffeine?
Most rootbeer manufacturers don't add caffeine to their recipe. The manufacturers that we know of, that do include caffeine in their rootbeer recipe include Barq's and Skeleteen's.
Is Sarsaparilla a Type of Rootbeer?
Sarsaparila is sometimes referred to a the grandaddy of rootbeer. It's also flavored with the same stuff you use to make rootbeer, though it also includes an addition spice - sarsaparilla. So yep, it's rootbeer.
Is Birch Beer a Type of Rootbeer?
Birch beer, popular primarily in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, is sometimes referred to as "red root beer", and is similar to rootbeer. However, it does not contain rootbeer's primary ingredient. So nope, it's not rootbeer.
Do They Really Put Rootbeer/Rootbeer Extract in Shampoo?
Yep, it's true!
Where Does Rootbeer Get It's Super Groovy Froth?
Rootbeer has a natural froth. Some manufacturers add foaming agents, including yucca and quillaja extracts, to add a little more.
Why Does Rootbeer Taste Like My Medicine?
Some rootbeer does taste like medicine or bubblegum. Flavors and sweeteners vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, so if your try rootbeer for the first time, and you think it tastes weird, don't give up. We still have hope that you'll find that perfect rootbeer. Check our list of recommended brands to find a flavor that you'll like.
Where Do I Find Rootbeer Extract?
Most supermarkets will have a rootbeer extract on their shelves. You can also purchase it from Amazon.com.
Where Can I Find Specialty Rootbeer Brands?
Most rootbeer brewers will provide a list as to where you can find their product in your area. You can also have it shipped directly to you, if you don't mind ordering by the case.
Where Can I Find Rootbeer Collectables?
Searching for a vintage mug, a keg, or bottle cap from a long gone rootbeer brand. You can find most of this stuff on eBay.com.
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