Is root beer ever alcoholic?

Answered by Kyle Floyd

Is root ever alcoholic? This is a question that has sparked much debate and confusion among enthusiasts. As someone with a background in both sommelier and , I can shed some light on this topic.

Traditionally, root beer was made using the root bark of the sassafras tree or the vine of Smilax ornata, also known as sarsaparilla. These natural ingredients not only gave root beer its distinct flavor but also contained trace amounts of . In fact, root beer made through the traditional process typically contained around 2% alcohol.

However, it is important to note that this level of alcohol is extremely low and not enough to make someone drunk. In fact, you would have to consume a large quantity of root beer to experience any sort of intoxicating effects. The primary purpose of this small amount of alcohol was to help extract the flavors from the roots and enhance the overall taste of the beverage.

In times, the production of root beer has evolved, and many commercial brands now produce versions. These versions typically use synthetic flavorings and extracts to mimic the taste of the original root beer without the alcohol content. So, if you pick up a bottle of root beer from the grocery store, chances are it will be non-alcoholic.

However, it is worth mentioning that there are still artisanal and craft root beers being made that adhere to the traditional brewing methods. These small-batch root beers may contain a slightly higher alcohol content, ranging from 2% to 4%. Some breweries even experiment with adding additional alcohol to create a stronger, more alcoholic version of root beer.

It is important to read the label or inquire with the producer if you are specifically looking for a non-alcoholic root beer. Most commercially available root beers clearly state whether they contain alcohol or not. If you have dietary restrictions or personal preferences, it is always best to check the label to ensure you are selecting the right product for you.

While traditional root beer made from sassafras or sarsaparilla roots may contain a small amount of alcohol (around 2%), it is not enough to cause any intoxicating effects. Most commercially available root beers are non-alcoholic, but there are still craft and artisanal options that may have a slightly higher alcohol content. As always, it is essential to check the label or inquire with the producer if you have specific concerns about the alcohol content of a root beer product.