Do You Know How Root Beer
Did you know that root beer : is one of the first sodas in the United States? True, in fact it even pre-dated colas. It was during the Colonial times that the very first root beer came out and it was initially called small beers. Made from a combination of herbs, roots and barks the small beer had none or only had a very small amount of alcohol, that’s where it got the name small beer.
The First Commercial Root Beer
Charles Hires, a Philadelphia, PA pharmacist, is credited with making the first root beer to be sold commercially in America. Unfortunately, the way it all came to be is largely lost to history. One of the most popular stories though is that one day, on his honeymoon; Mr. Hires developed a tea using over twenty-five different herbs, berries and roots.
It was also said that the dry form of this new brew became available in his Pharmaceutical Shop when he and his new wife returned to his hometown in Philadelphia. Not long after, he started to work on using flavored carbonated soda water to come up with the liquid version of the tea.
The people that Mr. Hires gave his drink to loved the taste so much that he decided to introduce it commercially at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition, where it was very well received. Finally in 1893 the Hires Family sold and distributed the first bottled root beer.
Whats In Root Beer?
There is no hard-fast rule in brewing root beer, in fact most of the modern manufacturers don’t use any of the original roots and herbs used in the 1800s brew. Most of the root beer available these days use artificial flavors instead of natural ingredients, they also substituted molasses, honey or sugar with the cheaper and easier to find syrups. However, some of the basic ingredients like wintergreen, sarsaparilla, pipsissewa, ginger root,dandelion root, allspice, burdock root, spikenard, wild cherry bark, spice wood, and birch bark have been retained to give the root beer its basic flavor. The manufacturer then introduces their own special ingredient to give the root beer the taste that’s specific to their brand.
Today, depending on the Root Beer you choose, you may find that these herbs aren’t used much and that the root beer taste of your beverage comes from artificial flavors and syrups. However, thanks to the micro-brewery movement, small batch Root Beers are coming back into style, and many areas of the country have their own locally made root beers once more. These often do rely on the unique flavors imparted by these herbs and roots and either honey or sugar, as opposed to artificial flavorings and sweeteners.
Root beer has become so popular that you see them almost everywhere being enjoyed by people of all ages. More and more brands of this popular drink are now available in virtually any grocery store. Its quite a pleasant surprise to know it has a rich historical background that can be a source of pride for all Americans.