Me and my nostalgia…
IBC holds a special place in my heart, since it was the first bottled root beer I ever had. It might even be the root beer that made me a fan of root beer, since I don’t even remember having any other brand of root beer before then besides your standard A&W (which I will cover in a later post), which I often didn’t even prefer over the more standard Coca Colas and 7-Ups of the world, and of which I actually preferred the cream soda over the root beer. My first IBC came from a restaurant somewhere I can’t remember, and for years after, I kept the empty IBC bottle from that restaurant as a novelty decorating a bookshelf in my room. That was before I realized that one can purchase it in practically every supermarket, and that it was within reach this whole time (hey, I didn’t do the grocery shopping when I was a kid, OK?).
Even after I moved out on my own, I don’t think I bought IBC – root beer or cream soda – more than a few times since cash was scarce in those hungry years, and root beer (of standard or non-standard variety) was only an occasional luxury (which, mind you, was OK, since it’s not exactly real food, nor good for me in large quantities…). Shortly before obtaining gainful employment, when root beer could finally become a more frequent treat, I discovered Henry Weinhard’s Root Beer, and Weinhard’s quickly became my go-to multi-pack root beer. Thus, this is actually the first time I’ve purchased IBC in several years. Would it be as good as I remembered - the face that launched a thousand ships into the great root beer sea?
Actually, yes, it is as good as I remembered (!). Certainly I’ve had plenty of better root beers since then – including, in my opinion Weinhard’s – but that doesn’t detract from IBC being a good root beer. In fact, it is a very good “pantry” root beer – that is, one that is easily better than your mass market canned root beers (and better than many of the non-mass market ones I’ve documented on this journal), a very good value (usually less than $0.50 per bottle, on sale), outside the norm enough to be considered something special to serve guests, yet mild enough to have wide appeal to most guests (unless the guest absolutely doesn’t like root beer, in which case I’m rescinding their invitation to my house). There’s a good balance of root beer flavor and sweetness, though, as I mentioned earlier, it is milder than I would normally prefer. But even though I would have liked a stronger root beer flavor with a more herb-y bite, it’s good enough for me to want another one and strong enough to be an everyday root beer (as opposed to a special occasion one, which I reserve the 5 rating for). Again, strong enough to not be same-ol’-same-ol’, but mild enough for wide appeal.
This is definitely something I would keep around the house for when people drop by – the nostalgia is an added plus. Good enough to get a 3.5.