For the connoisseur of root beer, the disappointment of the lack of Barq’s in the Herd Shop in the Memorial Union is real. However, the campus store still offers a pair of root beer options.
The only member of the “Big Three” of root beer offered is A&W, with Mug also not carried. However, there is an alternative in the form of Dad’s Old Fashioned Root Beer.
That doesn’t mean it is worth a purchase though.
That even takes into account the amount of pop that comes in the bottle. The “Big Daddy Size” is a full liter of product. Considering it is cheaper than a regular bottle of pop, $1.49 to $1.60, it is a reasonable purchase.
But you are buying something that is “Big Daddy Size,” and that is the first warning about Dad’s.
The biggest issue with Dad’s is the flavoring. Unlike most root beers that are either flavored with a key ingredient of vanilla (A&W), honey (Killebrew Root Beer) or both (Sprecher’s), Dad’s resorts to caramel.
Where the key ingredients help highlight the flavor, the caramel just kind of sits there. There is nothing overly exciting about the flavor.
With A&W, the vanilla adds to the sweetness, while Barq’s crisp finish keeps things interesting and allows for a great float.
With none of that excitement in Dad’s, the overall payoff fades away.
The initial taste is actually pretty good. When poured from the bottle, a nice head of foam forms. The foam has a smooth texture and is a little creamy. Once that fades away, however, the caramel overtakes everything.
The best root beers allow for a symphony of flavors to flow together, not just one, and having just one flavor for so long compounds the issue.
But the feeling after drinking the whole liter is when the real issues begin. Firstly, drinking a liter of any soda does not qualify as healthy. For those here for a good time not a long time, a good time is not something to associate with drinking Dad’s.
As mentioned earlier, the caramel just sits there. After a liter, even in a couple hour spans, the sick feeling starts to settle in. With some sodas, this isn’t always the case, but it really hits here. I properly felt sick after finishing the bottle.
To be fair, in the second time of drinking Dad’s for this article, a slower approach helped ease some of the issues. Still, the taste was not one to make me come back to it again.
From a nutritional standpoint, it is a liter of pop, so the numbers aren’t pretty. The headliners are the 480 calories and 116 grams of sugar in one bottle.
At least one trip to the gym is required after finishing the whole bottle.
Pairing with the proper food is essential. All the food really needs to do is absorb the liter of root beer, so some sort of sandwich from Hoagie Hut will work best. A slice of pizza from Pizza Express also works well.
One last issue with Dad’s is the size of the bottle. The liter size means that the bottle is larger than your normal 20-oz. beverage. While it does nothing to the overall experience of the root beer, the giant bottle feels different in your hand, in kind of an awkward fashion.
At the end of the day, Dad’s Root Beer offers an interesting alternative in the Herd Shop’s root beer market. However, it is an alternative that can be passed on.