Taste Test: Our Test Kitchen’s Best Root Beer Picks

What brand do you turn to for your float? Our team sampled 10 brands to find the best root beer.

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Our Test Kitchen's Best Root Beer Picks Pt23 Rootbeer Ks 07 10 02

Who Makes the Best Root Beer?

Enjoy it ice cold, with ice cream or even in these recipes with root beer. However you take it, you certainly want the best root beer. That’s where our Test Kitchen comes in to help. They gathered up every bottle and can in the soda aisle and put them to the test.

How We Tested Root Beer Brands

Our team rounded up a whopping 10 brands of root beer for this taste test. We had all the big names you’d expect (think A&W and Mug) as well as smaller brands recommended by readers.

Each brand was cracked open and enjoyed—without revealing its identity. The samples were judged by our Test Kitchen team and scored in these categories:

  • Carbonation: While root beer isn’t the fizziest pop out there, our team still wanted to find a brand with satisfying carbonation.
  • Flavor: Root beer has a pretty complex flavor. It’s a blend of molasses, vanilla, honey, sasparilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and more. Formulations can range from mellow to spicy. Our team sought out good options that didn’t have cloying sweetness or an artificial kick.

In the end, our team chose four brands as their favorites. Here’s a sneak peek—but be sure to read on for complete reviews.

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Best Smooth Rooth Beer


For a creamy, smooth experience, our Test Kitchen says you can’t do better than Sprecher Root Beer.

This independent soda company (and brewery!) produces a sweet and creamy root beer formulated with vanilla and raw Wisconsin honey. The result is a mild and sweet drink that satisfies sip after sip—particularly children who may not like the bite of a more spice-forward soda.

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Best Spicy Root Beer


If you’re craving a bit of a kick with your next mug of root beer, pick up a pack of Stewart’s Root Beer.

“This one has an old-timey flavor,” explains Maggie Knoebel in the Test Kitchen. “I’m getting notes of birch and sasparilla.”

Both are key ingredients in root beer, particularly more old-fashioned formulations. Birch has a bit of a spicy flavor that gives root beer a peppery kick. The sasparilla provides some of the underlying licorice and molasses tastes.

Combined, these flavors come together to create a slightly spicy and not-too-sweet sipper.

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Best for Root Beer Floats


For many, the only way to enjoy root beer is in a root beer float. Once you grab the best vanilla ice cream from the freezer, our Test Kitchen recommends pouring Frostie Root Beer over the top to finish this soda fountain classic.

This root beer has a deep, dark color with bold flavor. Our team picked up notes of spicy anise, vanilla and molasses—all of which still come through when paired with a few scoops of rich ice cream.

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Ibc Root Beer
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Best Fizz

IBC Root Beer

One of the pitfalls of root beer is that it can lack fizz. With IBC Root Beer, you don’t have to worry about a lack of carbonation. This root beer has plenty of bubbles in every sip.

In addition to the fizziness, IBC’s root beer isn’t overly sweet. You do get notes of honey and cinnamon, but overall it’s “light and drinkable,” according to Mark Neufang in the Test Kitchen.

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Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is a former Taste of Home editor and passionate baker. During her tenure, she poured her love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. Lisa also dedicated her career here to finding and testing the best ingredients, kitchen gear and home products for our Test Kitchen-Preferred program. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.