I stumbled upon this root beer on a recent trip up to Utah to visit some of my wife's family for her grandpa's 80th birthday. They live in a little town called Nephi about 40 miles south of Provo, and we found this in the local grocery store (only available to us in 2 liter bottles). Howie's root beer was created by a guy named Howard Tanner in Orem, UT in 1989. Most of the info i could get is from the story printed on the bottle. Apparently Howard started a restaurant in Orem called The Squat and Gobble, which later changed it's name to Howie's when the root beer grew in popularity. This root beer was created to serve specifically at Howie's. I was curious about the restaurant and couldn't find a website for it on the internet. Apparently i am not the only one who was curious because i found this post on a BYU news blog. This was nice because it did all the research i didn't care much to do myself by clarifying that Howie's has indeed shut down. The root beer is still available through local retailers in Utah Valley.
I would like to try and get this in a 12 oz. glass bottle, but the 2 liter bottle is what is featured and is standard in every sense. The label kind of reminds me of a pizzeria. It has a beige/tan background with checkerboard boarders at the top and bottom, and the logo is a big frothy mug of root beer with Howie's name plastered across the front in big cursive font. Fine by me for a label. Nothing spectacular, but nothing too cheap and unappealing either.
But let me let you in on a little secret... man is this stuff good. I liked it A LOT. It was a serious treat, a real gem of a find. The label describes it as smooth, creamy, and mellow. I would add amazing to that. The first thing i noticed when i poured myself a glass was a heavy wintergreen scent which took me by surprise. I don't usually do a smell test on root beers, but it was overwhelming (in a good way). So i was expecting a nice wintergreen flavor, but it's only a very subtle after taste. It has a great root beer flavor with a mellow, creamy vanilla base, and then the slight hint of wintergreen to follow up. Wow... this stuff is really good. My wife seems to think it's not as good as i think, but if anyone agreed with her they would be looking at her blog right now and not mine. Plus, she's a girl, and girls don't know anything about root beer. Or fun.
My official review is the Howie's gets 9 (nine) IBCs. This might cause a rift in my marriage, but i really think Howie's deserves it. It was very impressive, and very inexpensive (i think it was something like $1.23 for a 2 liter). Let's just say i will definitely be picking up more of this stuff on my next trip up to Utah, and i would highly recommend you do the same.