The Root Beer Standard

March 2007 - As in any situation of comparison there is a need to establish a standard, something for which all others will be compared. In regards to root beer there are some obvious front runners for this position. Hires of course has been around longer than all of them but so it was with regular-leaded gasoline. But just as leaded gasoline was upgraded and improved to a new standard of unleaded so was root beer. Hires certainly will hold a permanent place in the world of root beer but over the years it has certainly been improved upon. Thus we are encouraged to identify a more appropriate standard. This standard should not be the greatest or the worst root beer but rather one that simply sets the line between satisfaction and substandard quality. For me A&W has been the root beer that I have compared all others to. I am not sure how Jeff feels about this but I think it would be a great initial conversation for our blog. So let us discuss by what standard the Rootbeer Brothers will compare all other root beer to.


Adam is right. Whenever you have to decide if you like one thing over another, there must be something to compare it to - a standard. I see no better choice than to have A&W as the Rootbeer Brothers standard.

I feel somewhat differently than Adam on my decision to have it as the standard. As soon as you open a bottle of A&W you know you have a root beer. The spritz of aroma that leaves the bottle smells just like those little root beer barrel candy that you can grab a handfull of at the grocery store. He is also right about the taste. It too tastes strong and crisp of root beer extract. I, however, am not a fan of extreme carbonation. A&W is too rich in the bubbles for me, but that still doesn't block the fact that it tastes good. Perhaps the main reason I feel so strongly why this root beer should be the standard is the fact that almost every American can associate with it. Most have tried one or at least seen one of the A&W Drive Thrus that polka-dot the entire United States.

Let us know if you feel we are way off the mark on our standard. Also, please feel free to recommend root beer that you think will surprise the Rootbeer Brothers taste buds.

Bring on the root beer!



Friday, May 13, 2011

The A&W Root Beer Standard - but why????

We have often been asked why we use A&W as our standard? We Rootbeer Brothers literally drink an A&W along with the brew we are reviewing to actually make a comparison. Although each of us brothers evaluate root beer very differently we all begin with A&W. Having A&W as a starting point helps guide us as we attempt to make a very informed review. But why A&W????

When Jeff and I first began we both decided that this review approach would be the best way for us at RBB. We certainly appreciate and enjoy reading the reviews from Anthony's Root Beer BarrellThirsty Dude's,Cosmo's Root Beer Reviews, and Root Beer Reviews For The Rest Of Us all of whom have a very particular and individual way they approach their critiques. Some are very scientific and standardized others are more free form and literary. We wanted to be a little bit of both.

Over the last 4 years we have often been told that we chose the wrong root beer to be our "top" standard. This I often correct to the fan and explain that we do not view A&W as the top brew, but the brew that sets the line between standard and substandard. We appointed A&W with 3 out of 5 frosty mugs within our rating system. Thus it was right in the middle.

There is an old psychology theorist, Donald Winnicott, who termed the phrase "good-enough mother". His point was not that a good enough mother was substandard, in fact in his eyes this was ideal. A passive mother allows their children to run free and learns no responsibility or discipline. The over bearing mother shelters her children and does everything for them, thus robbing them of their independence. The good enough mother balances passivity and overbearance to foster a well adjusted child. A&W is the "good enough root beer"!!!

A&W is cheap, you can buy it by the case at half the cost of some of the more snooty root beer. A&W is way better tasting than the other store brand and economic choices. A balance so to speak.

We also appreciate the history of Allen & Wright and the way they carefully branded their brew to become a household name. The fact that A&W diners now polka dot America is a testament of their innovative spirit being carried on nearly a hundred years later.

The fact that it is and has been the #1 selling root beer is also a big reason!!!!! That and the fact that they own the domain name speaks volumes to the worthiness of A&W!!!!

Yes we may continue to be asked why we use A&W as our standard but trust me, we have our reasons!!!!