Vancouver’s Steph Jones of Red Truck Brewing flew to Winnipeg to kick off A&W’s Root Brewery.
To introduce their latest product innovation – Root Beer made with natural cane sugar and all-natural flavours – the iconic fast food restaurant hosted a brew-off featuring Steph Jones, as well as TV celebrity chef Jeremy Senaris and craft beer podcasters Craig “Cee” Thorn and Tiffany Alexis.
The challenge was to recreate A&W Root Beer®, using the same key ingredients that go into every frosted mug: licorice root, sarsaparilla root, birch bark, anise seed, and natural cane sugar.
In her realm, but slightly out of her comfort zone, Red Truck beer brewer Steph went to work, quickly developing a flavour profile she hoped would match the unmistakable taste of A&W’s. Selecting from mason jars filled with key ingredients, she adjusted her own personal concoction, filled her sachets to brew and lit the boiler. Once reduced down to a syrup, Steph added the carbonation and filled her flight glasses to be put to the test. The process was slightly different than beer, which can take days to develop, rather than only a few hours.
“It’s a little different from what I do every day at work,” said Steph, describing the experience. “I loved to be able to look and taste and touch and smell all of the natural flavour ingredients.”
And while each competitor agreed that, in the end, none of their root beers came close to A&W’s, one thing they all agreed on was how nice it is to know what goes into your favourite beverages.
Designed to look and feel like what you’d expect from a hip, local craft beer brewery, A&W’s Root Brewery featured a walk-up bar, wood panel walls and interesting decor, with plenty of opportunities to spark a conversation or sit back and relax on the patio.
Curious to get a taste yourself? You can try one for free on Saturday, July 22nd during their Free Root Beer Day celebration.