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%)
Notes: 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: 606 | Ratings: 2,799 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by thebeers:
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thebeers from Pennsylvania

4.07/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Dark ruby brown, approaching black. Tiny head dissipates lightening quick. Smells and tastes exactly like root beer, sweet, with slight medicinal note in the background. Sticky mouthfeel, with more noticeable carbonation than the head suggests. Fun for what it is.

Apr 11, 2015
More User Reviews:
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BigJim5021 from Indiana

1.9/5  rDev -53.7%
look: 1 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 1.25 | overall: 1.25

This is cloyingly sweet trash. If you enjoy this crap, I'm concerned for your blood sugar. Quit trying to convince yourself that this is beer and take it for what it is: the sweetest malternative ever created. You can recreate this stuff really easily and for far less money. Just drop a shot of vodka into a glass of flat Safeway root beer, add a few tablespoons of Karo syrup and consume. Consume. Consume.

Aug 02, 2015
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qchic from Maryland

1.92/5  rDev -53.2%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.25 | overall: 1.5

I knew going into this, that it wouldn't be a conventional beer and was prepared for a sweet treat.

Poured with a soda-like foam that immediately disappeared. Carbonation also gave it a similar appearance to root beer. The aroma: root beer with pronounced vanilla. Decent, until (spoiler alert!) I had a few swigs that turned me off. Tastes like root beer, but with a horrible medicinal aftertaste, so perhaps more like diet root beer. Sweetness is cloying, and body is thin, like soda. My first drainpour-- I really hate waste, but I would pay not to drink this.

How is this even considered beer!? And the favorable reviews? Mind boggling.

Apr 20, 2015
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bcsbeer from Florida

1.44/5  rDev -64.9%
look: 1 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

This is not a beer or ale just a marketing ploy for gullible America It should be labeled a Hard root beer. Should not be on BEER Advocate for review.

Jul 25, 2015
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alexjl from California

1.54/5  rDev -62.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

I'm a fan of the traditional root beer so I was excited to get my hands on this at the sale price of $11.99 for a sixer.

Immediately after the first sip I knew that something was wrong. It was overpowering sweet and the finish was not that of any craft beer I can recall. I felt like I was going to have diabetes after my first sip and the aftertaste reminded me more of a cheap malt liquor. After doing some research this is exactly what it is. A malt produced by the same guys that do Four Loko, Smirnoff Ice and Mike's Hard lemonade (Phusion Projects). I suppose if you aren't into craft beer and are looking for an easy to drink sugary alcoholic beverage that this would do the trick. Just don't expect to get buzzed. The alcohol hit on this is practically the same as drinking a Smirnoff Ice. There is none. Overall this was a huge disappointment and I will not be picking this up for a second try.

Jul 12, 2015
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Jugs_McGhee from Louisiana

3.27/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.5

Huge thanks to Duff27 for the bottle.

BOTTLE: 12 fl oz brown glass bottle. Appealing label art & design. Unbranded black pry-off pressure cap.

5.9% ABV. Served cold into a pilsner glass at low altitude in Austin, TX, and allowed to warm somewhat over the course of consumption. Reviewed live as an herb/spice beer for obvious reasons. Expectations are high given its reputation.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: Fills half the glass; this is 5 fingers wide. Has a cola-khaki head with a fizzy consistency, but it's fairly creamy and soft. Light inconsistent lacing sticks to the sides of the glass as the head recedes. Retention is above average - about 3 minutes.

BODY: Dark deep ruby-black. Opaque. No yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Appears well-carbonated. The fizziness does make it resemble root beer, and it's generally appealing overall.

AROMA: Nothing short of fantastic, evoking root beer fully. Sassafras, schwarz malts, beet sugar, vanillicin, sarsaparilla, herbal character...this nails the aromatics. Admittedly, it does have a cola syrup vibe, but that's what they're going for. I wouldn't know this wasn't root beer if you gave it to me to try blind, and that says everything.

Aromatic intensity is mild.

No yeast character, hop profile, or booze is detectable.

TASTE: Yup, root beer all the way. I'd even say I prefer this to most commercially successful root beers, and there's no hop profile, yeast, or alcohol here to clue you in that it's actually beer. Evocative notes of sassafras/sarsaparilla, vanillicin, cola syrup, and A&W herb. Sure, it's on the sweeter side with a cola-like extract taste, but it straddles the line between root beer and actual beer in an interesting way. I find it surprisingly developed in its depth of flavour, and it boasts an above average depth of flavour as well. I have trouble even picking up on a basic malt backbone, but I guess it's just schwarz malts? In any case, the refined herbal touches are fantastic.

Not the most intricate build for an herbed beer, but then they're not after intricate - they're after one specific taste, and they nail it.

TEXTURE: Spritzy and overcarbonated, with a syrupy underside that does bring it right into line with commercial root beers. Smooth and wet, and medium-bodied. Sticky.

Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, harsh, rough, or scratchy.

Complements the taste quite well, and helps elevate the beer.

OVERALL: A treat in the niche beer/novelty category, and not at all the gimmick you might fear it would be. Some drinkers will find it cloying sweet or even medicinal, and others will be irked by how close it tastes to commercial root beer, but there's no denying it accomplishes its goal and then some. I'd happily buy this by the six pack and look forward to trying the other variants, but it does worsen as it warms; the balance slowly shifts towards the artificial vanilla and away from the sassafras. Drink cold and quickly. This is absolutely a brew every beer enthusiast should try, and it will interest the discerning drinker. But as nice a niche brew as it is, it's not world-class, and what they're after here - the imitation of a non-beer beverage - is limited in scope. Not the most drinkable brew on the market either, with its troublesome high carbonation.

Low B- (3.27)

Mar 03, 2015
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Parlika from Georgia

1.96/5  rDev -52.2%
look: 1 | smell: 5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Am I the only person who reviewed this that isn't suffering from diabetes? One sip of this swill was like a mouthful of high fructose corn syrup mixed with powdered sugar and vanilla. Absolutely awful. If you think McDonald's is a gourmet meal, you've found the right drink. For those with a palate more refined than an 8-year-old, avoid at all costs.

Feb 15, 2016
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MLaVioletteJr from Massachusetts

3/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Well, I'm not really sure how to rate this by style.

They certainly seem to have accomplished what they set out to achieve with this one but if I wanted to have a glass of root beer with a little vodka poured into it I would.

This probably would have been my favorite "beer" when I was 15, now, not so much.

Mar 15, 2015
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Justdoit1234 from Minnesota

4.19/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

It tasted just like root beer barrels. Before I knew it the six pack was gone and I was drunk.

Nov 30, 2014
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keicher from Arizona

1.66/5  rDev -59.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

I found this so disgusting, it spurred me to get a beer advocate account so that i could warn others. It has the initial smell and taste of root beer, but then gives way to something awful. The "spices" that it is apparently brewed with overwhelm your palate after only one sip. Subsequent sips give way to a root beer dum-dum taste, as if it was melted down and bottled. It is also so sweet, it made my teeth hurt. I had heard a lot about it, how it sells out every where, so i grabbed a six pack... Fool me once, Small Town Brewery, fool me once.

Aug 03, 2015
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JISurfer from South Carolina

1.94/5  rDev -52.7%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Smell was ok, look wasn't very impressive, seemed flat. Taste was like flat, bland root beer. I'm a huge root beer fan, had to drain pour it. It was better than Mission's attempt.

May 19, 2015
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brendanpants from Colorado

1/5  rDev -75.6%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

If you love Mug root beer, but you just wish it was it was sweeter and had alcohol... then this is the beer for you. If, however, your pallet is more mature than that of a 6 year old's then you may want to reconsider. For the $10+ I spent on the 6-pack, I expected more taste than you might find in the concentrated sugar water peddled by major soft drink manufacturers. I guess one good thing about it is that you can't really taste the alcohol. Perfect for minors and college students who just don't want to drink wine coolers and Zima for the 5th night this week. Don't worry kids, you'll develop a taste for beer soon enough.

Sep 11, 2015
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riemster from Ohio

2.88/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Disclaimer: I love root beer. Looks like a normal root beer with its rich brown color. Great carbonation. Smells similar to Dad's root beer initially with that distinctive root beer spice, but then opens up with artificial caramel and a weird take on root beer bottle caps. It tastes like the smell of an overheating vacuum and cheap whiskey with a hint of burnt sugar. I'm talking about a pot of sugar left on the stove way too long after some one's first attempt at making caramel. The cheap whiskey flavor isn't the only alcohol flavor present by no means! The aftertaste tastes like off-brand cough syrup with black licorice lit on fire with a blow torch. Biggest disappointment in awhile. After this and the abysmal Sprecher's hard root beer, I am convinced alcohol ruins root beer. Now, I need to go drink some delicious root beer like Boylan's, Stewart's, Frostop, Dad's, Jones, etc. Don't buy into the hype.

Feb 08, 2015
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brycevolk from Ohio

4.75/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Honestly, if you poured someone a glass of this and didn't tell them it was alcoholic, they would never be able to tell. It's hands-down one of THE best root beers I've ever had, let alone having booze in it!! Can't wait to try the 10% and 19%. Where has this been all my life?!

Feb 06, 2015
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everyman from California

4.37/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I know, the marks are high. However, this beverage nails it--mimicking root beer. If you enjoy cream soda (especially), sarsaparilla, horehound candy, or root beer generally, this is a wonderful treat. Don't think ale. Yes, ale resides on the label, but this is undeniably a fermented, soda beverage..thing... When you pour, just let it flow. There's no beer-like head nor lasting foam. Instead, the bouquet is very much like a soda, fizzing a lot and dieing quickly. Still have some in your glass ten minutes later? Put it to your ear and you will still hear the fizz. Yes, it's sweet but not Pepsi-sweet, rootbeer sweet. This is not hardly an ale, yet it deserves the high marks and continuous praise. Actually, it's far more ALE than a cider can ever wish to be. I'm kinda surprised this isn't a brewing trend gone trite. IPA's...Now that's trite. Moreover, smell and taste are spot on RB..just not like my father's;)

May 31, 2015
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jaialai-untilidie from Florida

1.32/5  rDev -67.8%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.25

Way too sweet. This will sell well to mass america who love their sweet candy coma inducing alcoholic drinks. This is not beer. Nowhere close to being beer. It is soda with alcohol added. Im pretty sure of it. Sure, it tastes like root beer and is 5.9 percent alcohol. But so is real root beer with a shot of vodka added

Jul 16, 2015
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2ellas from New Hampshire

2.7/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 1

Looks like a tall pour of root beer
Smells like a tall pour of root beer
tastes like a tall pour of alcoholic root beer
Feels like a tall pour of alcoholic root beer
overall keep this shit away from me. If I wanted a spritzer, I would have called bartles or james.
but if alcohol and soda is your thing, enjoy!

Aug 07, 2015
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Beertsipper from New York

1.58/5  rDev -61.5%
look: 1.75 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

I can't believe people could stomach this. It's not a beer. Simply a gimmick to take advantage of the craft beer society. I'd rather drink Miller High Life or PBR over the course of a night. But this was a drain pour.

Sep 16, 2015
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bobv from Vermont

2.48/5  rDev -39.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

Look: Root Beer

Smell: Root Beer

Taste: Root Beer

Feel: Root Beer

Overall: If my father drank this, I would have disowned him!
If my father was still alive and knew I drank this, he would have disowned me!

Apr 26, 2015
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DarthVorador from Pennsylvania

1/5  rDev -75.6%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

This shit is FOUL! Right up there with Twisted Tea in the artificial flavored "malternative" category as far as I'm concerned! How you people can rank this SHIT so high is beyond me...SMH.

Jun 05, 2015
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LarryV from Massachusetts

1.48/5  rDev -63.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Tastes like root beer with a slightly noticeable alcohol bite. I would consider this more of a novelty beer, it's not something I could drink a lot of even though I love root beer. Root beer tends to be rather filling and this is no different.

Pours with very little head, and what head there is disappears very quickly. I found it lacking carbonation so it seemed rather flat to me. Mouth feel is slightly creamy, sugary - a high carbonation level would really help out here. Expensive at $11.69 a six pack at the local stores. I wouldn't buy it again but I'm glad I tried it. I wouldn't consider this as craft beer though.

{Edit] Ok, this stuff really sucks. I absolutely don't get the 96 rating for this beer. It's an insipid, sweet, foul tasting beer. I love a good root beer, this isn't even close to that. It's a flat, insipid tasting wanna be. I can't even give it away, horrible (I drain poured 4 of the 6 bottles)

May 10, 2015
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jlpower from New Hampshire

2.25/5  rDev -45.1%
look: 2 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Given the 'World-class' status by the bros, I was expecting quite a lot. Not much to say other than a boozy root beer. Not worth it in my opinion. Pretty good for a soda but I didn't want a soda. I guess I was expecting a more herbal beer that didn't taste like it was made with corn syrup.

Apr 21, 2015
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Auraan from Arizona

1.64/5  rDev -60%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Poured a dark brown with reddish brown highlights and no head and an incredibly high level of carbonation bubbles. Overall impression of appearance is of a dark soda, not a beer. Scents of sassafras, vanilla and sweet sugar. Overall impression of aroma is of a root beer, none of the supposed ale is present. Flavor begins with sassafras root and either cane sugar or corn syrup and a touch of vanilla. These flavors carry into the middle. Finish is cloyingly sweet with the same basic flavor notes and a slight medicinal touch from the alcohol. Aftertaste is sweet and root beer-like. Overall impression of flavor is of a root beer, again, no ale present. Mouthfeel is medium-light bodied and sticky with very high effervescent carbonation that is of a soda, not of a beer like a Berliner Weisse or saison. Overall impression of mouthfeel is of a root beer. Overall this is a root beer, with none of the supposed ale present at all. It is also very expensive for a root beer, and if what I have read is true, it uses corn syrup. Save your time and money and get a good root beer or a beer that is beer. The hype is simply that, hype.

Jul 14, 2015
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Karnivool1 from Illinois

3.92/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Much better on tap. The bottled version is good, on tap is outstanding. The bottled version is much sweeter and lacks the carbonation. I found myself having one bottle at a time, all the stomach could handle.

Dec 28, 2014
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tategotham from Minnesota

2.3/5  rDev -43.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Hard to taste the alcohol. This is why it's so surprising to me that it's so hard to drink. If it's not ice cold, don't bother. If it is ice cold, drink it fast because that's the only way to moderately enjoy it.

Oct 15, 2015
Not Your Father's Root Beer (5.9%) from Small Town Brewery
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 2799 ratings