Stewart’s Original Fountain Classics Root Beer

Background: Stewart’s Original Fountain Classics Root Beer was originally sold as a beverage in 1924 in the Stewart’s chain of root beer stands in Mansfield, Ohio. This is a similar construct to the A&W chains that started up in California in 1922.

Unlike A&W who brought their product to consumers in bottles in 1971, Stewart’s waited until 1990. Once they hit the market though, they became an instant regional success and has grown nationally and is found fairly easily.

In 2000, they were sold as part of Snapple Beverage Group to Cadbury Schweppes, PLC.

Ingredients: Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Caramel Color, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Sodium Benzoate, Citric Acid, Quillaia Extract, Gum Acacia, and Yucca Extract.

Quillaia is extracted from the inner bark or branches of the soapbark and is used as a humectant. Humectants help food maintain moisture or can assist main food ingredients with solubility.

Update: Twitter friend @Brassdale shared that when he used to brew his own beer in the ’70s, he would use quillaia to maintain the “head” after pouring.

Gum Acacia is indeed a type of edible gum that is used in many soft drink syrups and can also be used in traditional lithography. I admire ingredients that serve a dual purpose.

Yucca Extract is derived from a plant that is part of the shrub and tree genus. It’s also called the “Ghosts in the Graveyard” and is used as a shampoo in some Native American rituals. Which makes me wonder if I’m using root beer the wrong way.

Nutrition: Not a lot of variance in some of these root beers in terms of nutrition. Root beer is caffeine free.

Calories: 160
Sodium: 51 mg
Sugar: 41 g
Carbohydrates: 41 g

Taste: Stewart’s Root Beer offered almost as much bite as Dad’s. Yet, the bite was a little more discernible. I didn’t look at the ingredients ahead of time, so I don’t think this was psychological in nature. There were definite hints of flavors trying to break through. Unfortunately, the carbonation packed such a punch, my palate couldn’t sort things out. It’s not an exaggeration. Of the four root beers, this one caused excessive burping to the point that it made it difficult drinking from the bottle as the extra air intake from the mouth to bottle seal, just amplified issues.

There was more foam than either Frostie or Virgil’s, but less than Dad’s. It was satisfying to pour, but the carbonation made me want to chug the drink to reduce the number of times I would be burping. It tries to be more of a root beer than your run of the mill mass produced drinks. And it almost succeeds.

Score: All scores are on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being the lowest rank possible and 10 being the highest.

Foaminess 5
Bite 7
Overall Taste 6

Next time we review Frostie Root Beer