Mmmmm…the sweet creamy taste of an ice cold root beer float on a summer day. Takes you back to carefree summers when all you had to do was decide whether to go swimming, play baseball or ride your bike with friends.
Could the A&W folks really capture that magic in a bottle? A bottle that must be able to sit on a grocery shelf for weeks or even months? Our Food Channel Chefs panel put it to the test to find out.
A&W makes great root beer, so that’s a start, we thought. There’s also a Sunkist Orange Float flavor. We tested both.
The packaging is handsome, quite eye-catching. It manages to look both contemporary and nostalgic at the same time.
One thing we quickly discovered as we began our test: it’s important to pour the stuff right down into the glass…let it rush out in a hurry to achieve that nice foamy head. The package directions tell you to do it just that way, turning the bottle upside down. Once we got the hang of the “fast pour,” we felt the appearance of the float was pretty yummy-looking.
The taste? Well, if you’re expecting it to match the “real thing” – a freshly poured root beer with real ice cream and lots of creamy fizz – well, it doesn’t quite measure up to that gold standard. One of the chef comments was that it tastes like the last vestiges of a root beer float, after the ice cream has melted…” and that’s a pretty accurate summation. Face it. You’re going to have to give up a little of the root beer float experience for the convenience of having an instant treat that’s ready to enjoy right from the fridge.
We also tried the Sunkist Orange Float, which had a flavor reminiscent of an orange push-up or Dreamsicle (do they still make those?). It’s pretty sweet. The younger kids in your household will probably go for this one.
Here’s to A&W for trying to capture magic in a bottle. But if you really want a sweet and creamy root beer float, we recommend you grab a mug of real A&W Root Beer, add a scoop of Haagen-Dazs French Vanilla Ice Cream, and enjoy…out on the back porch, on a summer day, forgetting your cares, till you get down to the delicious dregs at the bottom of the glass.
Try it for yourself and let us know what you think.