Mission Hard Root Beer
Mission Brewery (address and info)
San Diego, CA
Oh boy. When a root beer clocks in at 7.5% and the vanilla, caramelized sugar, and sarsaparilla flavors are so integrated that you can’t even tell how boozy it is as it hits your lips, you may be in trouble. The finish to this is sugary and spicy enough to cut the heat, and your tongue is none the wiser. But it feels just barely less syrupy on the tongue than most others on this list, which makes it feel much less root beer-y. In a toss-up with the other root beers in this category, I think this one wins for the best to use for boozy root beer floats for that reason.
Author's Note: We reached out to Missouri’s Root Sellers for a sample of Row Hard, as one of the higher-rated hard root beers on the market despite very limited availability. Unfortunately, the sample has yet to arrive at press time, but we will update you if it ends up making the cut.
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Zach Mack is Thrillist's contributing beer writer, the owner of Alphabet City Beer Co. in NYC, a newly minted cicerone, and nothing else. Follow him @zmack.