Have you ever had that feeling the first time you saw someone? You know, the one where time slows down, your heart beats a little bit faster, and you feel in your very essence that this person could make you utterly and completely happy?
I may never have felt that way about a person, but when my coworker told me about an alcoholic root beer, I experienced all of those feelings. I knew that I had to try it as soon as possible. Unfortunately, she also told me that all of the liquor stores in in my area were out of stock. So, my desire and apprehension continued to build. It sounded like the best thing ever! Would I be disappointed? Would it be super alcohol-y and gross, or have such low alcohol content that it was not worth it?*
It was not until yesterday when I went grocery shopping that I laid my eyes for the first time upon one of the most glorious alcoholic bottled drinks I have consumed thus far: Coney Island Brewing Company’s Hard Root Beer.
Overall rating: A-
Appearance: The root beer has a lovely dark brown color with just a hint of red. It fizzes quite a bit, but the head disperses almost immediately.
Scent: It smells exactly like what you would expect of root beer: strong liquorice scent with a healthy dose of vanilla and birch behind. No detectable alcoholic smell.
Taste: Once again, licorice and birch with a vanilla finish. You can barely taste the alcohol behind the drink, which is simultaneously pleasant and dangerous. It is the perfect level of sweetness for me when ice cold, but if you allow it to warm the flavor becomes a bit more artificial and overly sweet.
I went ahead and picked up a pint of vanilla ice cream after finding the root beer because what could be better than an alcoholic root beer float?
The resulting drink was enjoyable, but did not live up to either a nonalcoholic root beer float or the alcoholic root beer alone, in my opinion. The foamy head, my favorite part of a float, was weirdly stiff. While I still enjoyed eating it, the texture was less light than I expect from a float. Fiance, who enjoys the melted mixture of root beer and ice cream the most, actually found this drink incredibly enjoyable. He happily slurped down the rest of the drink as I finished the root beer left in the bottle.
Overall, I’m quite pleased with the Coney Island’s Hard Root Beer. Drinking it alone is a true pleasure. Drinking it as a float was okay, but I think a similar result could be achieved simply by adding vodka to a standard root beer float. And at $10 for a six pack, compared to $6 for IBC root beer, I’ll just add in an extra step when Fiance wants another float.
As someone who does not really enjoy beer or wine, this is a nice alternative to the cider I usually end up drinking when I want a simple, low alcohol drink. I will definitely be purchasing more of Coney Island’s hard root beer and trying out the many other versions that now exist on the market.
*This paragraph makes me sound like an alcoholic. I’m not. I just really like root beer. And playing with alcohol flavors. That is all. Don’t be worried about me. No intervention is needed!