Berghoff Root Beer: a strangely sweet and mild birch

I enjoy an old timey bottle when I’m drinking root beer. It conjures the fake nostalgia of a bygone era, the heydey of root beer, during prohibition when it was thought to be a “tonic”. Berghoff’s bottle definitely gives one that impression. But, then is just kind of squeaks by. It has a very sweet initial attack, and a mild aftertaste. Considering its a birch style root beer, both of these are a little odd. For those that prefer root beer brewed naturally, Berghoff is a fine choice — it sports cane sugar and advertises an “authentic” method close to the historical “Bergo” soda.

I give it 3 out of 5 stars. It’s a solid, passable root beer. I’d recommend ordering it at a restaurant if that’s what they offer and you’re in the mood for root beer.

The ingredients: carbonated water, pure cane sugar, caramel color, natural flavoring, yucca extract, gum arabic, ethyl alcohol, propylene glycol alginate and triethyl citrate, citric acid and sodium benzoate.

Berghoff Root Beer is an old Chicago staple. Like another Chicago staple, Goose Island, it is mainly known for it’s proper alcoholic beer. The Berghoff German restaurant in downtown Chicago is over a hundred years old, and can brag about being popular at the World Columbian Exposition (maybe the most talked-about bit of history among true Chicagoans). They invented the “Bergo” root beer variety, along with an orange creme and a ginger beer variety, during Prohibition. The modern Berghoff Root Beer is an attempt to be loyal to that tradition.

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