Where does alcoholic root beer originate?
Tim Kovacs, owner, originator, and brewer of Small Town Brewery in Wauconda, Illinois and the creator of Not Your Father’s root beer is generally credited with kick-starting the modern alcoholic root beer renaissance. Kovacs bailed on his job as a graphic designer to pursue his passion for brewing beer, and then in 2011 his son, Jake, raised the question “Why isn’t there a root beer, beer?” He took matters into his own fermenters, and Not Your Father’s Root Beer was born.
According to Tim, however, the drink has roots in colonial times. “...In colonial times, root beer and ginger ale were actually both made with a small amount of alcohol,” he told me. Wigs, horses, alcoholic root beer? Those guys had all the fun.
Just don't call it "boozy soda"... it's actually brewed like beer
Boozy soda rolls off the tongue much better than alcoholic root beer -- but it’s doing the genre a disservice. This isn’t root beer spiked with liquor, it’s a real brewed beer infused with traditional components of soft drinks, with alcohol content averaging from 5.0% - 5.9%.
Kovacs lays it out as such, “It’s a brewed beer. Our beer is brewed with hops, but the flavor profile really comes from the botanicals, herbs, spices and berries that we use throughout the brewing process, including sarsaparilla, oak, wintergreen, and Madagascar vanilla.”