My love of root beer has been heretofore entirely private, but I realized that a proper tasting, of some 30-odd beers, called for a public panel, in this case 10 of my most root-beer-mad colleagues, whom I asked to help choose a favorite. Here are our top five picks.
1. IBC From its humble plain brown bottle to its root-beer-candy nose, this root beer is a classic through and through. It's sweet but not too sweet, with a nice, foamy head. Our only complaint is that although it's a national brand, IBC can be hard to find.
2. Fitz's Made in St. Louis, this regional contender comes with an all-American red-white-and-blue label around its brown bottle. A fairly light root beer, it's awfully likable, in an open and sunny sort of Midwestern way, with a nice zing to the finish.