Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Root Beer Floats

  I've been trying unsuccessfully to access the internet for the past few weeks. I'm not really sure what's going on. At best it's been sporadic, so doing a post has been very difficult. However, for the immediate time being, I do have the internet, so I'm going to attempt to post something.  Several weeks ago, during a rather extended hot spell that we were going through, I had the wonderful idea of enjoying a delicious rootbeer float, and believe me, enjoy it I did. This particular rootbeer is a delightful brand sold at the local market, Henry Wienhard's. It's some of the best I've ever tasted. When I was a kid Barq's root beer was the local favorite. I don't know if they still make it or not. Hire's root beer was always good, and of course one of the highlights growing up was a trip to the root beer stand on a hot summer night for a frosty mug. Oh my! I did a little research on the origin of root beer. Apparently some semblance of it has been around for quite a long time. Not doubt the natives in the lower 48 had something resembling root beer made from various herbs, berries and roots. The first commercial rootbeer marketed in the U.S. was produced by Charles Hires, a Philadelphia pharmacist. It was originally an herbal tea. Hires first introduced it to the public in 1876 at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition.  He originally marketed it as root tea, but a friend, realizing the potential increase in sales if it were re-named, convinced him to call it root beer. I found it interesting that initially it was served hot and un-carbonated.- yuk!  I saw an ad for his rootbeer showing a little kid holding a glass of  it and pointing to the reader with a caption that says, Say! You ought to drink Hires Root Beer. The caption above it reads -The great health drink. I never thought of rootbeer as a health drink, but I would imagine it must have some redeeming qualities about it. In 1960, the Food and Drug administration banned sassafras as a potential carcinogen. As most folks probably know, sassafras is one of the ingredients used to make rootbeer. Only the oil in the sassafras is considered dangerous, so when they figured out a way to separate it from the plant, it was all systems go again. In 1919 Roy Allen opened the first rootbeer stand in Lodi California. I wonder if they had girls in roller skates taking the customer's orders. In 1920 Frank Wright joined Allen, thus A&W was born. One last little bit of trivia. The first rootbeer float, known as a black cow is credited to one Frank Wisner of Cripple Creek, Colorado in 1893. Since then there have been all manner of variations, including the alcoholic  version of the float. In any event, whatever variety you imbibe, I hope you'll raise a glass to ol' Charles Hires for a fine darn concoction.


  1. Hmmm...I could got for a root beer float now, been a while! But warm and uncarbonated? I think not! :)

    1. You WILL drink yours warm and uncarbonated and you WILL enjoy it!

  2. It was yum! Mine was cold and carbonated though.

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