Not Your Father's Root Beer (5.9%)
Small Town Brewery

Not Your Father's Root Beer (5.9%)Not Your Father's Root Beer (5.9%)
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Herb and Spice Beer
4.1 | pDev: 17.8%
Small Town Brewery
Illinois, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Not Your Father's Root Beer (5.9%)Not Your Father's Root Beer (5.9%)

Not Your Father’s Root Beer is a category-defining craft specialty ale brewed with unique spices. Brewer Tim Kovac’s creativity and painstaking commitment to flavor complexity results in an unmistakable offering that masterfully blends hints of sarsaparilla, wintergreen, anise, and vanilla. A smooth and balanced Ale, NYFRB has broad appeal – from discerning craft beer drinkers to non-beer drinkers.
Reviews: 605 | Ratings: 2,800 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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Pegasus from Texas

4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Very deep amber in color, with a modest, quite fizzy off-white head, which collapses almost immediately.

Aroma: Classic root beer aroma of licorice, vanilla, sarsaparilla, and molasses. I detect a note of pink bubblegum as well, and not a hint of alcohol to be found.

Taste: Opens with classic root beer flavor, as root beer was in the distant past, with lots of sarsaparilla, vanilla, anise, dark caramel, and as in the aroma, pink bubblegum. There is no alcohol to be found in the taste, and no warmth from it, either. Throughout, the taste is sugary, of molasses and caramel flavors, quite unlike cheap, low quality modern root beers. Late in the taste, the spices really come into their own, with the sarsaparilla, anise, and vanilla hitting high notes that linger on, well past the end of the taste.

Mouth feel: Smooth and very full, quite pleasant, with just a hint of carbonation.

Drinkability/notes: Very pleasant and drinkable, reminiscent of the quality non-alcoholic root beers like St. Arnold's or Abita. Just excellent, and certainly a treat. It is quite the pity that Not Your Father's Root Beer and the Small Town Brewery are no more.

Presentation: Packaged in a standard twelve-ounce aluminum can, served in a Save the World Brewing teku.

Jul 15, 2020
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just1cho from California

3.11/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Drank from a 12oz bottle. When pouring, it was dark... like root beer! Very very little head retention. It's there for a second, then becomes almost non-existent. It smells of spicy, sweet and earthy aromas... kinda like root beer! Can't go wrong with that. In terms of tastes.. its pretty much what you would expect, like root beer but with a slight boozy taste. Has a sweet/bitter finish. Very rich, and I personally can't tolerate sweetness too much so this beer got disgusting towards the end and was hard to finish. I felt as though every aspect of this beer resembled a root beer, except for the carbonation. This beer is not very carbonated, so this definitely deviates from a classic root beer in this sense.
Overall, if you have a big sweet tooth and like the taste of root beer, this beer would be perfect for you. If you don't have much of a sweet tooth, like me, I would probably go with something else.

Apr 07, 2020
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realJohnnyHobo from Maryland

4.45/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

All things considered, seeing "no longer brewed" is a bit of a questionable marking as I still see this brand on Pabst's website apart of their portfolio. In the last 2 years, the packaging of NYF has been changed to a more modernized cleaner product no longer carrying the former Small Town Brewery labeling.

The beer pours jet black, brown inward appearance with a ruby color in direct sunlight. The former head quickly dissipated leaving no lacing or retaining in the head.

Smell if of sassafrass and a small hint of vanilla.

Tastes like it smells - sassafrass notes hit the tongue at first, followed by underlying vanilla notes with a roar of carbonation in the mids while finishing syrupy with a hint of alcohol if you're really looking for it.

Mouthfeel is syrupy candy glaze, reminds me of A&W rootbeer candies.

Feb 18, 2020
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Bouleboubier from New Jersey

3.49/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

(12 oz bottle, not dated; purchased cold single... poured into 14 oz mug)

L: dark, ruby liquid; foam disappears immediately... razor-thin collar remains; no lace

S: root beer... maybe a slight undertone of Oldsmobile upholstery, back seat, or suede, not sure... I love root beer, so it smells just fine to me

T: root beer... slightly molasses syrup in the middle, which shifts to a vague coffee syrup flavor in the finish... hint of old, oxidized caramel malt in the aftertaste; thing almost tastes infected or faintly band-aid-like... it's maybe marginally bitter, as the sweetness doesn't linger long

F: not quite adequately carbonated for a root beer, and there's the slightest bit of residual oily drag in the finish, but it's not far off from said soft drink... hmm... alcohol warmth creeps up after the 3rd or 4th sip, but stays chill

O: root beer, and not much else... the oxidized/band-aid note is a lil odd, and it sticks out a bit in the aftertaste... this isn't beer - it's a hard malty soft drink - no interest to finish the glass or have this again (1482)

Aug 25, 2019
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SAUbrewcrew from Michigan

3.44/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

It’s a hard root beer not much more too it. It’s pretty sweet so you can’t have too many but it is an alcoholic root beer and that’s what it tastes like.

Aug 03, 2019
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spectru from Florida

2.4/5  rDev -41.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Dark, almost opaque, root beer color, no head; Smells like root beer; Tastes a lot like root beer, but also a little like beer. , Quite sweet. Not much carbonation, just enough to keep it from being flat; The ABV on the bottle made me think that this might be more beer than root, but really, its root beer brewed with alcohol. If you like root beer, maybe you'll like this. I don't care for root beer and I don't like this.

Feb 01, 2019
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sjdevel from Utah

3.93/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Look - dark color - looks like a root beer - not much of a head at all and what it there dissipates
Smell - mostly root beer - not much else comes to the nose
Taste - tastes like root beer - slight malt and yeast (baaaaaaarrrrrrrrrely) - super sweet that doesn't really dry out
Feel - a bit thinner than I hoped for - syrupy though at the same time
Overall - you really think you are drinking root beer here. I don't get much ale/beer at all. It has a great flavor and would make an awesome float or a syrup (after reducing) for ice cream. I like it - just not beery enough for me for a regular drink

Jan 10, 2019
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DerekMiller from Louisiana

3.27/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Re-review on this, especially since they've changed the labeling on this product recently and don't advertise it as a beer any more and instead as a "malt beverage with natural and artificial flavor and caramel color" which, let's be honest, that's what it really was. I used to love this but as I drink it more I start to dislike it more.

Look: Pours a dark, creamy brown with a bubbly tan foam. Settles into a dark oak brown. Looks like root beer to me!
Smell: Strong vanilla, spice, dark fruit... I mean I could go on but it just smells like a really good, potent root beer. The ethanol smell is completely masked.

Taste: Odd... it almost feels like there's two separate "spheres" of flavor here. In the center is this pungent, alcohol + molassesy sugar combo with a punch of concentrated root beer flavoring. It's like someone dissolved root beer candy in vodka then reduced it till it turns into a dense syrup. No complexity beyond this. It's not bad at first but the time you drink your second bottle then your third and your fourth... there's a point where it become unbearable. Now whenever I drink it I can't ignore it unless I sip it very slowly. 1.5.

The second sphere is everything around this. It's a nice, pleasant, sweet root beer flavor. A lot of the vanilla seems gone but the herbal, spicy notes that come from root beer and still here. 3.5.

Overall flavor is 2.5. Pouring on ice bumps it to a 3.0. Vanilla ice cream bring sit to 3.5 - 4.0.

Feel: Simply feels like a slightly more syrupy soda. Pleasant enough, nothing to write home about.

Overall: I won't say no if someone offers this to me. It works better for root beer floats than to drink by itself.

Jan 02, 2019
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JimboBrews54 from Michigan

4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black appearance with a small head that fully diminishes quickly. Smells and tastes exactly like root beer, average body moderate sweetness, a syrupy feel and a lasting finish. Kind of good, but I couldn’t imagine drinking more than 1 or 2 in one sitting.

Oct 17, 2018
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Moir1994CT from Connecticut

4.61/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.5

This beer captures what it is perfectly. it is alcoholic root beer. I know it isnt just root beer with a few shots of vodka in it but you could have fooled me. However this is not a negative. if this was a "root beer" with alcohol the last thing id want is a super hoppy beer. it would be nasty. Its higher power than the average lager but not by much and is sweet like root beer. A fantastic beginner beer or for someone whome generally doesnt like the taste of beer but likes root beer. A tad pricey but its not a everyday drink. More of an occasional treat.

Oct 10, 2018
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OhMy from Colorado

3.2/5  rDev -22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 2 | feel: 5 | overall: 2

This would be a really good Root Beer if it didn't have the aftertaste of Anise or Licorice. It's a full taste, smells good, and I would have enjoyed it except for that. I'm not a licorice fan, so, unfortunately I won't be purchasing it again.

Oct 04, 2018
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Troy-Hawaii from Hawaii

4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bought a 6-pack $9.99 Target
Smell of root beer
Dark black/brown color
Medium-heavy mouthfeel
Medium carbonation
Tastes of licorice, root beer flavors
Overall it tastes like a high-end craft root beer. Nice for a change of pace.

Sep 08, 2018
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Sabtos from Ohio

2.75/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Yep. It looks, tastes, feels, and smells like root beer, with fizzly air going up your nostrils and herbal sassafras cola going down the gullet.

But this isn't Soda Advocate and I'm just not sure why this is considered beer...just because there is alcohol in it? I don't think so. This becomes even more pertinent a question when you look at other Small Town "beers."

Sep 04, 2018
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Amendm from Rhode Island

3.33/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

12-oz. bottle poured heavily into a 16-oz mug produced a fizzy white head that lasted seven seconds, no lacing.
Dark brown, almost black, looks more like cola than root beer.
Smells like root beer, sarsaparilla and vanilla with noticeable alcohol.
Tastes like root beer except for a strange taste that I believe is the alcohol not being blended with malt and hops as in more typical beers. This taste also appears as an unpleasant after taste.
Medium body with almost no carbonation, finishes semi-dry.
As are wise friends who wish not to say something negative or positive would say……” I dunno”.

Aug 29, 2018
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ZenAgnostic from Texas

4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Not your father's root beer. No discernable date on bottle. Neck stamped 0998LX and below that 1201FL-. 808204 21A2049 stamped at bottom front of bottle.

12oz bottle poured into Duvel tulip.

Appearance - Root beer with less head. 4.5

Smell - Root beer but richer. 4.5

Taste - Root beer but a bit sweeter. 4.5

Mouthfeel - Root beer but very, very slightly less sticky, but also noticably less carbonation. 4.5

Overall - A better root beer that gives you a buzz. Not a bad idea. Giving it good scores based on the fact that it's virtually indistungishable from most root beers other than the fact that it has basically unnoticable alcohol which is pretty cool. Great gimmick beer. 4.5

Aug 13, 2018
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Nvrmind16 from California

3.44/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

as far as non- beer but still called beers go, its very good. Again its not a true beer but far better than a mikes hard lemonade. Very sweet with a little spice in its flavor notes. The alcohol content feels more like 8 percent even when its 5.9

Dec 31, 2017
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ElmerS from Minnesota

4.85/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

After a pleasurable encounter with another one of small town brewery’s products, I ran out and bought a few more of their lineup and have been rating them. Perhaps tied with the “not your mothers apple pie”, these two beverages are so far my favorite in their product lineup. They are certainly meant to be more like soda than beer and I think you’ll find that most of the negative reviews are posted by beer purists looking to rate a “true beer”. Several of the small town brewery products have had a strange aftertaste which was slightly objectionable to me. At first I thought I detected that in this product as well, but upon further contemplation decided that the interesting flavor profile reminded me more of a true homebrewed root beer/sasparilla as opposed to a commercial sugar syrup- artificially flavored product. They are sweet and I probably wouldn’t drink more than a couple In a single sitting, but they are refreshing Departure from the norm. ( look smell and feel are rated as fives because I would not change them. They are not spectacular but I do not feel as though a three rating would be appropriate considering I have no suggestions for improvement. )

Dec 29, 2017
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Tim_G from Colorado

2.74/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Looks and smells like root beer. Taste is very artificial and strange. I drank a couple IPAs then had the wild idea to try this, it has me feeling sick and nasty. What the heck is in this thing?

Sep 10, 2017
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Vixie from Illinois

3.22/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Pours a lot like a root beer, with a lot of fizzing. The foam doesn't stay around long, leaving what looks more like a cola than a root beer.

Being as this is supposed to be an alcoholic root beer, the smell is very much like root beer. Basically the root beer smell familiar to many, with a bit of vanilla.

Tastes a lot like root beer, not surprisingly. It starts of tasting decent, but a weird aftertaste lingers. Not sure if it was from the alcohol or something else, but I found it a bit unpleasant.

If you have ever drank a root beer, you are familiar with how this feels.

If not for the weird aftertaste, I would rate this one higher. I love root beer, and this starts out tasting like a decent example. It kind of reminds me a bit of diet root beer, if you can stand the artificial aftertaste, you'll likely enjoy it.

Aug 25, 2017
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BlackBeerPirate from Illinois

2.77/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Taste: sweet spice, root beer, vanilla, and some alcohol bite. same with the nose. Dark Brown, clear, no head at all. Medium body. Slight artificial aftertaste in the finish.

Jul 19, 2017
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captaincoffee from Virginia

2.22/5  rDev -45.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours a bit thin with a large head that fizzles away very quickly to nothing. Nose is vanilla and earthy root beer with no malt or hop aroma. Taste is sweet with strong root beer, vanilla, and anise. It has a quite a acrid aftertaste that was making it harder to drink as I got further into the glass. It is a bit medicinal as well. No malt or hop flavors. As a non-beer alcoholic root beer, I'd probably give this a 2..75. As a beer, which is what we are supposedly reviewing here, it is certainly lower.

Jul 11, 2017
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BeerBobber from Nevada

3.98/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Looks like root beer.
Smeels like root beer.
Tastes like root beer.
Mouth feel will get a bit chalky as it warms. Served ice cold and drank down fast, no chalky after taste.
Overall a good hard root beer for those that want a soda and not a beer. Bayou Bootlegger is a bit more over the top (please see review) and a bit better, but these really are still soda's with alcohol. Four Loko anyone!

Jun 06, 2017
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beerguy04 from Illinois

4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a root beer color. Smell is of root beer. Taste is root beer. Mouthfeel is root beer. Overall if you love the sweet taste of root beer, this beer is for you.

May 23, 2017
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PlinyMeNow from California

2.1/5  rDev -48.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Clear dark brown and pours like a cola, not beer! Audibly fizzy with absolutely no head, with bubbles around the edge and rising from the bottom but no lacing. Smells exactly like root beer (sarsaparilla), maybe a little vanilla. Tastes like root beer, sugary and fizzy, some vanilla. A slight medicinal quality and a little spice in the throat. Finishes very sweet. In summary it is like a somewhat spicy and slightly medicinal root beer. Really does not resemble beer.

May 14, 2017
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drdiesel9483 from Ohio

4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look - really dark brown syrupy root beer look, less carbonated than a standard root beer found at a&w.
Smell - smells like a great root beer. Cola, vanilla, spices, syrup
Taste - taste like root beer. Just like what I mentioned for smell
Feel - full body, very syrupy, medium light carbonation, no real booze
Overall - dead on to what's supposed to be. Best alcoholic root beer I've had and it was the first one I remember having

May 13, 2017
Not Your Father's Root Beer (5.9%) from Small Town Brewery
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 2800 ratings