Thanks to the skyrocketing popularity of craft beers and ciders, brewers are looking for ways to put their creativity to the test. Recently, they’ve created a whole new category of tasty brews that we’re calling hard sodas.
Last year, the award-winning Not Your Father’s Root Beer, from Small Town Brewery in Wauconda, Ill., took the beer world by storm. A spiced ale, it tastes a lot like root beer, featuring traditional flavors of cinnamon, vanilla, anise and sarsaparilla bark. Blessed with a 94-point rating by Beer Advocate, it has continued to draw in devotees from across the country. In fact, Not Your Father’s Root Beer was one of the country’s 30 top-selling craft beers in 2015. Word of its success has inspired many other brewers.
Brooklyn’s Coney Island Brewing Co. has attracted its own following with its Hard Root Beer, which boasts a similar flavor profile to Not Your Father’s Root Beer, but with a bit more effervescence. Anheuser-Busch has thrown its macro hat into the ring with its Best Damn Root Beer, a sign that big brewers are turning their attention to this phenomenon. However, the rise of hard soda involves much more than root beer.
Small Town Brewery has used its success to introduce other offerings like Not Your Father’s Ginger Ale. Inspired by brewmaster Tim Kovac’s childhood memories of his family’s homemade ginger ale and hard lemon candy, Not Your Father’s Ginger Ale offers a ginger-and-citrus body with hints of black currant.
A recent addition to the pack is Henry’s Hard Orange, which is made with real cane sugar and orange flavor for a fresh citrus feel. It is joined by Henry’s Hard Ginger Ale. Produced by MillerCoors, Henry’s Hard Sodas are further proof that the hard-soda boom shows no sign of going flat.
We have even more examples in store! Get a taste of the trend by stopping by your neighborhood Total Wine & More.