I love root beer, and I still believe that a root beer float is one of the 10 best desserts in the world. So when I saw this article in yesterday's N.Y. Times, it naturally caught my eye. Eric Asimov writes:
No soft drink incites the passions the way root beer does. People love it or they hate it, but they don’t ignore it. Few sodas have the mystique of a frosty mug of root beer.
Nobody chugs root beers mindlessly the way a reformed smoker downs Diet Cokes. Instead, people dissect them and analyze them. They debate the merits. They break down the formula, if they can. They might even try to make root beer themselves.
In the United States, hundreds of root beers are brewed by soda makers large and small. The sheer quantity and diversity of root beers dwarfs the quantity and diversity of any other soda, although the actual volume is but a trickle compared with the ocean of cola pumped out by the corporate giants that rule the global soda market.
I almost never write about soft drinks, and I almost never drink soda. If I do, though, it’s usually root beer. I love it and always have. I have nostalgic memories of root beer floats — what other genre of soda lends its name to an ice cream drink? — and of road-trip pit stops at A & W root beer stands.