I went on a little trip this weekend to visit my family for Thanksgiving and wanted to pick up some root beers to review, so i thought i would do some of the basics. The next few reviews should be root beers that are foreign to nobody. One such review would be for Barq's Root Beer. It has been around since 1898. Barq's is brewed in New Orleans, LA and is part of the Coca-Cola family. When i lived in Toronto, i was told by everyone that it was a Canadian root beer. Supposedly there were hilarious Canadian TV commercials for it, but i never saw one since i didn't watch TV. Of course, Canadians take claim for inventing a lot of things which just isn't true (i.e. basketball, Napster.com, black people, the phrase "for a good time", etc.). Anyway, the good news for us though is that you can find it all over the United States. I picked this one up in a gas station.
Barq's proudly flaunts the tagline, "Barq's has bite." I'm not sure what this means, but i do know that when i mentioned Barq's to my wife and Sweet Lola Jane, they both independently mentioned to me that Barq's has bite, in case i wasn't aware. So i guess that counts for something. It is one of the few root beers that contains caffeine, so maybe that has something to do with it.
I was unable to find a glass bottle of this stuff, so i went with the 20 oz. plastic bottle common to most soft drinks found in a gas station. If anyone knows where to get this stuff in a 12 oz. glass bottle, let me know so i can give it my professional review and see if it still measures up. The logo has been the same for as long as i can remember. The same bold, cursive font proudly displaying this soda's name is easy to spot among the shelf of soft drinks.
If you haven't ever tasted Barq's, 1) stop being stupid and get in touch with society man, you're embarrassing everyone, and 2) it definitely has a bite to it. I think i mostly taste the strong, rich root beer flavor, but it has a very subtle hint of a wish of a dream of a whisper of black licorice flavor to top it off. It is ever so subtle, and that's why it's good. As you know, i don't like black licorice, but this flavor is a definite plus to the soda as it doesn't hinder the rest of the rich root beer taste. It's quite a compliment to the rest of the flavor. Most of the lesser known root beers i pick up from the Pop Shop proudly display the fact that they are made with pure cane sugar. This is not the case with Barq's. They go the money saving route by using high fructose corn syrup instead, which is common in most soft drinks. I don't know that it tastes any better or worse, i just know it's good.
My official review is that Barq's gets 6 (six) IBCs. I know i just ranted and raved about it and it may seem like i am kind of giving it the shaft now, but i mean Barq's no disrespect. It's a genuinely good root beer and i drink it a lot. My only beef is that because it is so widely distributed, i end up drinking it a lot. Therefore, if i have the option, i am usually going to reach for something else to try a little variety. But a lot of gas stations and fast food joints stock this stuff, and i never shy away from it when i am in the mood for a root beer and it's my option. So grab one when necessary, but try something new if you have the option.