Beer reviews, beer places, beer science.

Beer Review: Not Your Father’s Root Beer


So what’s all the fizz about this beer, anyway?  Sorry, bad pun to start off with.  But honestly, what’s the big deal with this beer?  That’s the initial question I asked myself.  There are basically three questions most people ask, in about the same order, when they first hear about Not Your Father’s Root Beer.  The first question is:

What’s the hype over this beer anyway?

I was introduced to Not Your Father’s Root Beer for the first time a couple of weeks ago on the Buffalo Beer Geeks Facebook page upon seeing this photo.

Not Your Father’s Root Beer Arrives

“That looks interesting”, I thought to myself.  People seemed very excited about having this beer available locally.  Not Your Father’s Root Beer is brewed by Small Town Brewery, located about an hour northwest of Chicago, IL in a town called Wauconda.  The demand for this beer is not just frantic here in Buffalo, but also nationwide.  Pabst has started a national rollout of this popular beer just in time for Father’s Day, and Not Your Father’s Root Beer is now available in 30 states and climbing.

Brewery Description

Not Your Father’s Root Beer has become one of the most sought after craft beers in America.  So why is this beer so popular?  The second question people ask is:

Wait, is this actually a beer?

In some ways, this is very difficult question to answer.  Not Your Father’s Root Beer is a beer that tastes 99% identical in taste, color, and smell to a root beer.  However, this beer IS classified as “an ale with spices”.  Not Your Father’s Root Beer is most certainly a philosophical target of metaphysical and epistemological debate.  When does a beer stop becoming a beer?  When does Not Your Father’s Root Beer become just a root beer with alcohol?  How do we know this beer is truly a beer?  What evidence would convince us that Not Your Father’s Root Beer is a beer or a root beer?  Those are all great questions.  The third question is:

So this beer tastes exactly like a root beer?

The short answer is “YES!”.  Here is a picture of my Not Your Father’s Root Beer:


Small Town Brewery: Not Your Father’s Root Beer
ABV: 5.9%
Style: Herbed / Spiced Beer
Rating: #2 in style at

Not Your Father’s Root Beer pours as a dark brown root beer: the head is fizzy and carbonation pops away like a soda.  The taste is sweet and very much like root beer with a barely noticeable ale tinge.  Not Your Father’s Root Beer just barely hangs on to the identity a beer, and one really has to search (with multiple bottles… in a row… in one sitting) for any remote beer qualities in the aftertaste and smell.  Sometimes the fleeting ale quality surfaces, but is quickly drowned by the root beer style sweetness.  There is no hop detection.  There is no yeast detection.  There is just sweet root beer, with lip-smacking tones of spiciness and boldness.   Not Your Father’s Root Beer is highly drinkable.  Some people drink this beer over ice to dilute the sweetness a bit.  Have you ever recommended any other beer to be consumed over ice?  More adventurous drinkers prefer Not Your Father’s Root Beer as as ingredient in a root beer float.

Small Town brewery also makes two other varieties of Not Your Father’s Root Beer, shown below.  One is 10.7% and one is 19.5%.

rootbeer107rootbeer195The novelty of Not Your Father’s Root Beer will keep sales high for now, but will the popularity of this beer dissipate as fast the bubbles in your glass?  With a product this successful, other breweries are sure to mimic the style.  Will they ever be as good as the original Not Your Father’s Root Beer?  Only time will tell.  You are certainly safe giving Not Your Father’s Root Beer a try, just don’t expect it to taste like a beer.

About Buffalo Beer Biochemist

Born and raised in Western New York. Ph.D. in Biochemistry. Professor of Microbiology and Chemistry. And lover of beer.

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