Monday, January 5, 2009

Hire's Root Beer

Ok, first to all my loyal readers, Happy New Year! I apologize for being so bad at updating this thing, but now that the Holidays are over i can use my extensive knowledge and incredible foresight and wisdom to focus on the important task of rating root beers so you all know what's good and what's garbage. So with that, let's look at this next root beer. Most people out west will probably know about this little root beer, although it was quite hard for me to find. Hires Root Beer was created by a guy named Charles Elmer Hires in 1866 in Philadelphia, PA. This root beer is arguably the grandfather of modern root beer, and more so, spawned the birth of the name "root beer" for this delectable drink. Hires is now owned by the Dr. Pepper company and Hires has claim to being the longest continuously produced soft drink in U.S. history. A guy named Don Hale started a drive-in restaurant in Salt Lake City, UT in 1959. Hires is the featured drink at this all American drive-in, Hires Big H. There are only three locations of the restaurant, all of which are in the Greater Salt Lake Area. You used to be able to find 20 oz. plastic bottles of their root beer in gas stations and grocery stores all over the place. I grew up going up to Utah in the winters to ski and snowboard and visit family, so Hires is no stranger to me. The food at the drive in is quite good, reasonably priced, and a throw back to the 50's diner style of eating out. I actually just went up to Salt Lake this past weekend to do some snowboarding with my brother Trent (who i might add is a commercial and movie star and is quite famous) and i told him we needed to make it a point to go to Hires Big H so i could get a bottle of their root beer and review it. I also had a tall frosty mug of their root beer with my meal, which is the ideal way to drink root beer in my opinion.

As i mentioned above, you used to be able to find Hires Root Beer in gas stations and grocery stores all over the west, but it is hard to come by now. When i asked them at the diner if they sold bottles of their root beer, they told me it is actually brewed in Tucson, AZ which is just a few hours south of me here in Phoenix, but really not worth visiting (not even for Hires). Anyway, they told me it is shipped up to them in gallon jugs. Kind of strange, but i asked if i could buy a gallon jug, and they said sure. What i didn't realize is that it came in a plain milk jug with no label. So i had to kind of jimmy-rig this thing and i printed off their logo on the computer and taped it on the gallon jug. This is the featured picture in this blog post. I know it looks ghetto, but it's the best i can do.

Hires has a great taste to it. It's that classic root beer flavor followed with just a hint of a vanilla cream flavor, which makes me certain this is a good root beer to have with ice cream and make a root beer float with. The gallon had lost it's carbonation by the time i got it home and drank it, but it has a good amount of carbonation and it's smooth and creamy (to use a cliche root beer review term). It's a shame it's so hard to find now because this stuff is very good.

My official review is that Hires gets 8 (eight) IBCs. I was originally thinking a 7, but the fact that it's harder to find makes this one a little more special. I searched several gas stations and grocery stores while in Utah this weekend and couldn't find any trace of this delicious root beer. So if you by chance find some, i highly recommend you pick it up. It's worth it. Maybe you can still buy it in Tucson. It might be worth driving down there for...

Oh wait, i forgot. It's Tucson. Never mind, i can just get it in a frosty mug in Salt Lake.


Mantooth said...

That is really hard to find. I remember that from a while ago and I do remember having a rootbeer float with it and it tasted great. I don't know if anything is better then the A&W rootbeer float for the price and taste.

anthony said...

actually that is not true about the starting of Hires Root Beer. Don Hale opened this restaurant but Charles Hires invented both Hires Root Beerin particular and the modern concept of root beer in general much before that.
for an authority i would expect more factual info! =) carry on sir!