Introducing the partners in grime:
Although I get mad at Australia’s gradual cultural assimilation into the US, I have a hell of a hypocritical soft spot for root beer. Or the idea of it, at least. I’m not actually sure I’ve had real root beer, (even Coca-Cola’s A&W brand is hard to find in Australia). I’m a fan of sarsaparilla thanks to Bundaberg (a rare example of a brand-name for which I hold some reverence) and vaguely remember their root beer and horehound beer.
I refused alcohol until the age of 24, and as many sober people do I found myself becoming a soft-drink connoisseur by default. For me, the greatest appeal of alcoholic beverages is the use of natural ingredients and processes and manual labour, which allows endless variability. It allows one to distinguish brewing regions and techniques and the effort and thought gone into them. This is something certainly missing in soft drinks, and doesn’t have to be.
I’m also a big admirer of homebrewing and DIY, sharing knowledge, saving money and bottles and our souls from being sucked into a consumer vacuum. So, what better way to start than root beer? It’s adaptable, adventurous and something missing from Australia.
The alcohol industry is still making a packet off of the home-brewing drinker. They (home-brewers) are mostly reliant on brand-name blends of barley and hops and ale yeasts from the corporation they’d otherwise be buying six-packs from. Sodastream make a mint selling a product that requires the continued replacement of flavour syrups of its personal brand with the idea that you are ‘making it yourself’, Who knows what goes on in there though.
But yeah, we’re addicted to the bubbles of the fizzy drink. I have actually caught myself staring at them bouncing off the surface of my soda for a minute before I even take a drink. And probably I like the syrupy sweet flavours, but what if I can make my own. What if we can make something exactly how we want it, completely original, with some roots and some yeast and some sugar?
Call it nostalgia but I think its a great idea. I think half the fun of soda is probably nostalgia anyway.
Let’s home brew soft drinks using a witches cauldron.