It's the beer that seems to be sweeping the nation. I searched high and low for a bottle and was surprised to see it sitting quietly on the shelf of my small local bottle shop. Read on as my excitement quickly turns into discontent. The folksy label and good ol' fashioned name fooled me. This actually tastes quite like my father's brand of root beer and unlike any beer I've ever tried.
Appearance: The beer pours a dark black that is very similar to a cola. What little head I saw had dissipated rapidly. There's some very active bubbles on the side of the glass. It contains "caramel color" which affects my rating. A beer's color should come primarily from the grains and then from the adjunct sugars. The addition of a coloring agent seems cheap and almost insults brewers that work out recipes to get the proper color profile. 1
Smell: It smells just like root beer. I wasn't able to detect any hops. Obviously you get a rich rush of creamy vanilla due to the flavoring added. The scent of black licorice is also very prevalent. The smell is actually rather delightful and prepares you for the taste. The aroma is very unusual for a beer but it works to make the beer more alluring. The flavors really pop on the nose. 4
Taste: ROOT BEER, NOT BEER. It's a great beverage but a poor beer. It tastes like soda, not even alcoholic soda. The bottle states "5.9% ABV" but i detected none of it. The heavy root beer flavoring removes everything "beer" about this beer. Interestingly enough, I decided to mix it with a Harpoon Brewery's Ghost King, a Double White IPA. The combination greatly improved the taste. Not Your Father's Root Beer is far too sweet. It needs a subtle hop element to bring balance. Sadly this beer didn't have this balance straight from the bottle. It does have a good taste but its very hard to finish a whole bottle. 3
Mouthfeel: It feels like a soda that is very close to going flat. It's very sticky like soda and lingers on the tongue for too long. You get a carbonation rush when you take a sip which will make you feel very gassy. I had great trouble finishing my glass. Its a very heavy beer and felt too much like drinking soda. 1
Overall: I was very disappointed in this beer. It was really hard to find at first and everyone on Untappd was giving it good reviews. Its more like a novelty malt beverage than a proper beer. I am still curious to try the higher alcohol versions that the brewery offers but I don't seem myself going out of my way to make that happen. Buy at your own risk or at least get a single bottle rather than throwing down for a 6-pack that will most likely collect dust. Definitely try mixing it with a more hoppier beer. I chose the White IPA because i wanted something that would lighten the color and still add hops. While Ghost King is very hoppy, the combination of the two beers creates a wonderful balance.