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Sprecher Brewing – Hard Root Beer

bourbon barrel hard root beer

ABV: 5.0%

Root beer with a kick, “boot beer,” but more particularly, Sprecher Brewing Co.’s Hard Root Beer. That is quite a mouthful. A delicious mouthful! This five percent alcohol adult version of the classic American soda was brewed with added flavors to give it a sweet-bourbon-like profile. The brewery has only done two releases, one small test footprint and now a bigger footprint in more markets after the first release went over so well. Still, if you are lucky enough to find a four pack of these 12 oz. sarsaparilla booze-pops, make sure to snag some.

I recently shared some of these oak-sodas with friends at our annual Fourth of July celebration and shortly after, everyone was jonesing for some of that sweet cola nectar.

The Rundown

From the pour, this drink hits the nose with recognizable quaffs of a classic root beer aroma but it’s also laden with hints of vanilla and oak. And,on the tongue, it’s a similar story. This is a bourbon barrel beer, just one short whiff from the tumbler provides a nice wood flavor coming through that plays nicely with the vanilla bean sweetness. If you are a fan of regular root beer, you know what to expect here. The sweet, rich and creamy cola taste is the star here, but you can tell something extra is creeping around in the dark, semi-viscous suds. As the root beer coats the throat, legs of sweet vanilla and oak blend with the classic root beer flavors (think sassafras, ginger, sarsaparilla, lots of sugar) to cruise down your gullet, while traces of bourbon emerge in the back but without the usual spicy burn. The whiskey here is softening, not the elevating breed with the zing. And, on the finish, the oak note engorges and hangs on for dear life along a sweet ride of herbal, rooty flavors. This is definitely a matchless offering, so grab one if you can.


This deserves to be paired with food whether it is a float made with Stranahan’s Whiskey Brittle Ice Cream from Sweet Action  (or some other vanilla prominent ice cream) or paired with slow smoked ribs while you are PorchDrinking (I think listening to William Elliot Whitmore may be the perfect soundtrack for that afternoon). This hard root beer boasts big flavors that could compliment and contrast many a picnic offering.

I imagine pairing a cigar with this would also be nice. Maybe some sticks that bear momentous spice. Cigars with a more woody profile that could play off of the oak and use a little sweetness and balance from the soda’s smooth vanilla flavors would pair perfectly.

The Hard Root Beer is the perfect solution to any summer occasion. With any good fortune, I’ll be able to find it on a regular basis and be able to continue sharing it with friends. Cheers!

**This post has been amended to reflect a change in this beer’s name from Bootlegger’s Bourbon Barrel Hard Root Beer to simply Sprecher’s Hard Root Beer.

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