Top Ten Best Root Beers

The Top Ten

1 A&W

Whilst the mighty, heavily-funded Barq's Root Beer capitulates to society's ever-growing obsession with sugar, and others mistakenly see it as a challenge to perform a 180 degree turn, A&W has been able to grow in its own right, fast becoming the greatest brand of Root Beer to grace us with its presence. Fall to the floor and weep at the sight of this great brand. Viva la A&W, viva la root beer!

When I think of root beer, A&W comes to mind. Don't get me wrong, I like almost every root beer I have had, but A&W is just the best. Whether it's in a root beer float or all by itself, you just can't go wrong with A&W. We even picked out a name that begins with 'A' so A&W could be her initials. If you can get to one of their restaurants and can have it on tap, it's even better! I think I'll have one right now.

Perfect blend of sweetness and frothiness. When you pour it from the can into your mouth, you feel the cold yet welcoming, bubbly fizz pass from your lips to the back of your throat and you realize that at that one moment, the waltz of bubbly texture and signature A&W sweetness on your taste buds is all that matters.

A&W is not overly sweet, but gives just the right amount of slightly sugary taste to please. It is my favorite root beer by far. I also like that it's not too mainstream; it doesn't belong to Coca-Cola or Pepsi. Maybe that lets the creators put more work into it.

2 IBC

IBC is by far my favorite root beer. I started drinking it about 10 years ago. Initially it was raised letters on the bottle that attracted me to give it a try. Now I have my local store order it by the case. I mostly drink diet root beer as I feel regular root beers are too sweet and creamy (go figure). IBC has a great balance of flavors with a strong bite. If I had to break it down I would say anise, molasses and vanilla. Unfortunately they've gone from 6 pack to 4 pack. One benefit was going from corn syrup to real sugar, but as for the diet they've said at IBC they've made no change. I can taste a change, it is a little more mild than the previous version. One question for IBC, if they've made no change to the diet version then why are the sodium numbers on the back lower than the 6 pack version of the IBC Diet? It is still my favorite with Boylan diet being second. I know lots of people say Virgil's is has the best flavor with its dominant nutmeg. Although I do agree it has a ...more

I can't really explain it, however I first starting drinking IBC when I was in the Navy and they sold it at the commissary located on the Yokosuka, Japan naval base. Now, I've been raised on two sodas most of my life: A&W and Cheerwine (Located primarily in the states of North and South Carolina, this cherry flavored soft drink is a local favorite). Now, A&W has always been my favorite for it's delicious flavor and the bite that balanced it out and made you want more, but when I tasted IBC for the first time... I almost wept. It was so good that I decided right then and there, you CAN love two brands of the same flavor.

IBC root beer is my favorite among those I've tasted that currently are on the market. In fact, I drink the IBC DIET root beer, and it's delicious. I've had root beer from California to Virginia, and IBC is still my #1 choice. IBC has that old-fashioned root beer taste that I remember from my childhood. There are four other root beers on the list that I enjoy, but IBC truly is the best tasting to me.

I usually drink A&W, but as a treat I get some bottled IBC because it's one of those flavours that is so good to me I don't want to over do it to where I don't want to get to where I stop appreciating the more noticeable taste of sassafras. Reminds me of the "root beer" my dad would make us when we would find a sassafras tree and cut a piece of the root out to boil it.

3 Barqs Root Beer

My mom's family is from the Gulf Coast, Gulfport, Mississippi to be exact, and where Barq's was made for many years. I can still remember everyone being upset when the formula changed. If you ever talk to someone around during then they will tell you that it hasn't been the same since they quit using the "dirty river water", referring to the water from the Big Biloxi river. It was years before it regained the cultish following it had before it was made with filtered city water and finally figured out how to get the "bite" back. It's still my favorite root beer and I've been so happy that it's available everywhere now. It used to be just during trips to see the family that I got to have it.

Not the best root beer. Not even top 20. Tastes like carbonated syrup. The only thing Barq's has going for it is its bite. It has no root beer flavor and has zero head. If you think this is the best, do yourself a favor and pick up any glass bottled root beer. Chances are it's at least five times better than Barq's.

There's something about it. It's very strong, addicting, and it just makes my mouth tingle. It's like a traditional lager compared to a 'light' beer. I want the heavy stuff! Same applies here.. Barq's is just a heavier version of root beer.

Root beer is a preference drink. You either like it smooth and creamy or with real bite. I love Barq's for the bite. Another good root beer not on the list is Triple X. So throwing my vote in for Barq's baby!

4 Dad's Root Beer

The first root beer I had was A&W. It was my favourite. That was until I had this. I have never had another root beer like this. I love drinking it and it's a special treat, mostly because it's hard to find in my area. Now, A&W doesn't even come close to this. People don't even try to trick me with this because I taste the difference between Dad's and A&W. This is by far my favourite thing to drink. You can't top the classics.

I made prefer Dad's over all other root beers because I grew up with it and reminds me of the good times in the 90s. But I also love its smooth but barky flavor - and I also love the design of the can itself and that it hasn't changed over time: very simple, old school looking, and classic!

I have been dying to try this and still haven't. Someone please tell me what stores I can find this root beer. I have tried my local grocery store Kroger and a bunch of worldwide stores.

Really smooth, hope it doesn't have high fructose corn syrup... Good old natural cane makes the difference, and makes this root beer healthy too...

5 Henry Weinhard's Root Beer

I absolutely love Henry Weinhard's Root Beer. It causes an explosion of delicious creamy bitter-sweetness on my taste buds, and I have not yet found a better root beer. A&W used to be my favorite, but then I went and found almost a dozen new brands and this was easily my favorite (coming from a guy who has trouble deciding on just one). I recommend this root beer to anyone who hasn't had a gourmet root beer. Although beware of the head. It often overflows if the pack isn't chilled properly. But the head is probably the best part, so just guzzle it anywau

There is no way that Henry's shouldn't be at the top of this list other than the fact that those voting for others simply haven't had Henry's. Without a doubt, the best root beer out there!

Every time I pop open a bottle I say to myself "this is the best root beer I've ever had". There are lots of great choices on this list. But, Henry's is definitely my favorite. Enjoy it ice cold strait from the bottle. Root beer lovers will not be disappointed.

Difficult to find, but well worth it. So many unique ingredients -- not just a single note or overly sweet like so many of the more common brands. If you're a root beer connoisseur, then you're already familiar with Henry Weinhard and prefer it over even Virgil's or Tommyknockers.

6 Hires Root Beer

A&W's rootbeer purchased the rights to Hires and has produced a similar tasting product that is just slightly off from the original Hires. If you look at the label on A&W's bottles/cans, you will see that they have used Hires design in part as well. To me, Hires ( made with real sugar and not corn syrup) will always be the best, followed by A&W and the old Frosty's in third spot.

Nice "rounded" sensation as you taste it. Not too sweet, good bold taste, with good carbonation. A great product for a tasty root beer float (the taste and carbonation cut through the butterfat and sweet content of the ice cream to give a good, overall combination). A&W, by comparison, is too sweet and has a burnt taste. Stewarts is very good as a stand-alone drink (not in a float), as is Mug, and Virgils, IBC and Dominion are high in my tests. Jones, Bulldog and Boylands are poor to.despicable. (Boylands' birch beer, on the other hand, is pretty decent.)

I drank Hires for many years until the company folded. I've been pleased to see it is back on the market. It has just the right blend of sweet and sassy.

Hires is my all time favorite root beer. Best flavor of them all. Mug, Frostie, Shasta and Dad's (in cans only) round out my top 5. IBC and Henry Weinards closely follow. Brownie's root beer is horrible as well.

7 Sprecher

Sprecher is currently the tastiest root beer in production. I have had over 100 different root beers, and every single one on this list. The best root beer I have ever had was Flavor 8, but they are out of business. The fact that IBC is #1 is embarrassing. IBC is a mediocre root beer at best, and those who think it is the best have certainly never had a good brew.

If you like A&W or IBC Root Beer, give Sprecher's a try. Similar to two of the other best Root Beers around, Sprecher's has a little extra flavor, is a little darker, slightly creamier, and pulls back on the sweetness just the right amount. If you haven't tried this root beer you are doing yourself a great disservice.

Sprecher beats everything else period. A&W? Sure, if you like generic. Barq's? I mean, it has caffeine and is a better alternative than say Dr. Pepper or Mountain Dew (I stand by it. Fight me.) And Dad's? Bland. Just bland. Sprecher is where it is at, hands down. Best served in a frosty mug.

A friend and I went to A store with a very wide variety of rootbeer that we had never heard of and decided to buy 20 different kinds to do a blind taste test of them all. Sprechers won hands down. Best Rootbeer I've had to this day and most would say, I have a bit of an obsession.

8 Barrelhead Root Beer

Drank this brand in the 70's and early 80's and then it just went poof and disappeared. I stopped drinking root beer because after being spoiled by Barrel Head nothing else would do. NO other root beer I was able to get at the grocery store kept a head on it like this stuff did. It was like drinking Guinness Stout for kids.

Was the best when it was manufactured by cadbury and in my mind still the best root beer ever made. Sorry they discontinued it..

Excited to hear that Barrelhead Root Beer is being relaunched at the Atlantic City Seafood Festival on September 10, 2016!

By far the best tasting root beer.. It had the taste of what root beer should be. can't understand why cadbury schwepps discontinued this old time soda!

9 Mug

Mug is far better than most on this list, including Barq's (the worst flavor profile that I've ever experienced in terms of root beer). The only ones that is better are A&W and IBC.

I think this is my favorite tied with Barqs (The only other brand I've had is A&W, but it's my least favorite of the three, I find the flavor too strong). It has a very interesting flavor. The flavor is mild, but not too mild. It's kind of like a mix of cola and root beer. I also really like the foamy bubbles at the top of it. it is. When I open a can, The bubbles of fizz rise to the top of the can, which I find really cool. This root beer is probably the best one for ice cream floats, and a good drink to accompany your pizza. I used to live in this small city called Covina in California, but I moved out recently. And there was this pizza place called "Santa's Pizza". They have great pizza, so if you live in or near Covina, CA, you should go check it out. Their prices are good, too. You can get two large slices of pizza and a can of soda for 2.29 (plus tax and CRV). Unfortunately, they used to have cans of Mug Root Beer, but I guess they were getting too expensive for them, because ...more

Mug is the "creamiest" and frothiest brand available, it allows for a wide, sweet flavor with no bite provided. Bite takes away from the true quality of the flavor of the beverage. Easily the greatest.

Mug is creamy and great I prefer the No Caffeine version as it tastes better than the normal mug.

10 Stewarts Root Beer

My favorite. Has the strongest flavor yet is smooth. Some of the major brands taste just a little watered down compared to Stewart's.

Ever since I've had my first bottle of Stewarts root beer, it's been my favorite.

I agree Stewarts Root Beer is the best. The flavor is smooth and awesome!

It's great! No high fructose sugar either but made with real sugar.!

The Contenders

11 Route 66 Root Beer

Nondescript. Move on to something with flavor.

It has to be the worst I've ever had. could not even finish the bottle.

Bahaha never heard of it but that other post cracked me up

Tastes great sweet and smooth

12 Sparky's

Pour me a beer (root)! Proverbs 3:7-8 (NIV)
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and shun evil.
This will bring health to your body
And nourishment to your bones.

Sparks is delicious. Not your typical root beer taste. Definitely more robust and sharp.

Very strong pleasant tasting root beer. Smell it all over the room when you open the lid...

Great root beer. Impossible to find in NC.

13 Junior Johnson Root Beer

Best root beer ever. Stores in western North Carolina cannot keep it in stock.

14 Hanks Gourmet Root Beer

There are some great root beers on here, but I voted for Hank's because it is an almost perfect all-around root beer. A fantastic, long lasting head, a wonderful body, and great aftertaste is hard to beat. And that's exactly what you get with this root beer. Also, I'm getting sick and tired of seeing Barq's rated so highly. It is flat out awful to anyone with a distinguished root beer palate. Therefore, if barqs is truly the favorite root beer of those who voted for it, they are likely to only be familiar with flavors in our mainstream bubble such as barqs, mug, and A&W and thus, should try some amazing root beer that you cannot just get at WalMart, but rather go hunt for some gourmet goodness. With that said, I'm done ranting.

I’ve taste tested the top 6 on your rating list, mostly because they’re easily available to me and I’ve grown up with them. After trying Hanks for the first time and really enjoying it, I went back to compare them all and Hanks still proved my favorite. It’s not readily available in supermarkets or even most liquor stores in my area but I will search it out. I am still shocked Hanks is not much much higher on this ratings list!

Absolutely amazing... wonderful head and then subsides with a following of an amazing aftertaste of sweet vanilla and a wonderfully crafted blend of spice. Just perfect. I need to do a side by side with Virgil's Bavarian Nutmeg. This absolutely has the better head and made with cane sugar.

This is a fantastic root beer! So much better than the average brands most people vote for because it is the common ones they find everywhere.

15 Abita Root Beer

Made in Louisiana by Abita Brewing Co., LLC, Abita Springs. Some of the best root beer I've ever tasted.

Overrated. Didn't get past the first round of our taste test.

It has a very specific calorie number.

The best root beer by far! It's amazing!

16 Berghoff's Root Beer

Love it! Reminds me of my Grandfathers homemade rooter.

No do not like served warm at berghoffs. Not good.

Great root beer

17 Frosty's

My all time favorite root beer. great memories of enjoying a bottle back when I was kind growing up in the 60's. Once in awhile I can find it in bottles here in Michigan but usually only around Christmas time, though other products are available year round. Thankfully I live just over the border from Indiana where I purchase it regularly in the South Bend area. For the record I have to say that I can find Frosty here in Michigan but only in plastic bottles and honestly it just does not taste the same.

All time favorite that was heads above all others, It would receive all the votes except no-one today can try it. I have not seen any in 20 years. I have seen it advertised on-line for too much money. Not sure it would be the same product as before.

Used to drink it in the sixties and being a kid back then, it was my favorite. Recently found it again at Publix and still has a great flavor.

It has to be the one in the glass bottle with pure cane suger. My favorite rootbeer and I've tried a bunch. The plastic bottles aren't fit to drink

18 1919

I love 1919. It has just the right amount of carbonation, it's creamy, and when first poured, the head is deliciously frothy. I've had several different brands, such as IBC, Stewart's, Abita, Mug, A&W, Johnnie Ryan's, Boylan's, and many other. But 1919 is by far the best. I recommend trying it to everyone I know that likes root beer.

This is true old fashioned root beer. So much better than the sickeningly sweet brand name sodas. There's one problem though...unless you are ordering it online, it's only available in retail stores in the Midwest.

I have tasted many on this list. To me there is none better and more balanced in flavor than 1919. If it's on tap and put in a frosty mug it's very hard to beat. So satisfying.

A true small batch Brewery made Rootbeer makes for a rare and quality treat when found. Definitely a rootbeer, yet has its own distinct flavor. A delicate balance with the best attributes of both a creamy and spiced rootbeer.

19 Sioux City Root Beer

Best root beer I have had, great sarsaparilla taste to it I could barely savor it and not drink it all!

This root beer has a taste unlike any other. It truly is the best out there.

Awesome root beer. Also got a good Sarsaparilla.

This is a really great root beer

20 Virgil's

The most complex, yet drinkable, root beer on the market today. One swig and you taste vanilla, licorice, nutmeg, etc.. flavors that come together in your mouth with just the right amount of carbonation to please the palate. Enjoy a cold refreshing Virgils root beer in a nice cold, frosty mug! --- What a treat!

I have never tasted better root beer than Virgil's. It jumps into my cart when I go to the grocery store. It makes fantabulous root beer floats.

It "was" the best root beer hands down on the market about a year ago, I drank it regularly however in the past year they have managed to change recipe/where product is manufactured and it no longer is worth drinking.

It is the absolutely best flavored and balanced rootbeer on the retail market. Strong but yet not overpowering with a diversity that makes it unique. Worth the extra cost if you are seeking a truly fulfilling experience.

21 Jackson Hole Buckin' Root Beer

Picked it up for the first time after trying every root beer always going back to henry winhards and a&w on the tap and was surprised to find a new favorite

22 Saranac 1888 Root Beer

Unfortunately when it comes to these top 10 lists, it's not the best brand that reaches the top but the brand that has the most recognition. I have done a side-by-side comparison of Saranac and IBC and, while the two definitely have different flavors, Saranac left a better impression on me. It was sweet, had a nice bite, a strong body, and a wonderful vanilla aftertaste. I still haven't scoured the globe for the best brews out there, but Saranac is my favorite so far.

Definitely lots of corn syrup but has a strong root beer taste (as opposed to a lot of the others on this list. )

The waters of Saratoga are filled with iron which gives this root beer a different taste and the best after taste.

Smooth and uniquely flavored! One of my favorites!

23 Boylan

Most beautiful and traditional root beer, absolutely delicious.

Best root beer I have tried so far. Shame it's difficult to get in the UK though.

Well rounded. Nothing to dislike.

Smooth. Lasting flavor. I like it.

24 Carters

Honestly Carters just kind of tastes like mouthwash and fake sugar. I love rootbeer so much I usually don't even care what brand it's from, but Carters is a brand I'll never buy from again.
If you enjoy mint and fake sugar then this drink might just be for you, however if you favor a traditional rootbeer flavor I would recommend you look elsewhere.

In England, it is all I can get my hands on, sold through a Walmart subsidiary, Asda. At first I was like 'what the he'll?! ', but then it has grown on me a little - enough to buy it by the crate, again because it's all I can get. Doesn't ring true of that original rooty flavour I enjoyed as a child in the Us though...

25 Lost Trail Root Beer

Regional, and an excellent root beer, very smooth.

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