Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Way Things Used To Be

One of the first stops on our summer vacation was at the Frostop Root Beer Stand in Huntington, West Virginia. We had managed to get to the place at opening time, (10AM) on our way to a late breakfast down the road and the carhops (all guys) were more than happy to take my order even at this early hour. While I was getting a couple of pictures of the place and the menu my wife managed to get my attention just long enough to inform me that the carhop was in the process of putting ice in my Root Beer. I managed to catch him and let him know that I wanted no ice diluting my Root Beer, he corrected the problem and I got my Root Beer in a To Go cup.
Despite the fact that this Root Beer wasn't served in a frosty mug it was a great way to start out the day. I couldn't tell you what the ingredients were, as there was no listing for them on the cup. What I can tell you, though is that this Root Beer isn't bad. It has a decidedly Draft Root Beer aroma and flavour. A creamy mouth feel accentuated by a strong caramel and vanilla taste. Like many true Draft Root Beers, the fountain Frostop has a very weak carbonation and no head to speak of. Honestly, it's hard to say that I missed them, in this case. The caramel and Root Beer flavour that permeates this brew make it a truly unique representation of a time which is almost gone.

Add to this the fact that they throw this Root Beer together on the spot, serve it via carhop and are a still functioning Root Beer Stand and Frostop manages to score big with me! This is old fashioned Root Beer and it makes no apologies for being what it is. This is not some mass produced, overly ambitious swill. It's just an old fashioned, iconic Root Beer dinosaur of a better time and it works extremely well. If you get the chance to stop in at this place for a brew, do it! You'll have no regrets. At some point I'll have to get a bottle of Frostop and see if it compares to the Drive-In version.

Aroma: Old Fashioned Draft Style Aroma. Vanilla stands out.
Carbonation: There's not a lot of carbonation here and I'm not sure that this particular Root Beer needs it.
Mouth Feel: Creamy, thick and nice. Just what you might expect from an old fashioned Root Beer.
Root Beer Flavour: Frostop's flavour is easily identifiable as Old Fashioned Draft Style. Lots of vanilla and a delicious caramel taste. Some companies could learn a lot from this brew!
Sweetness: This brew is sweet, just at the edge of almost too sweet. Enjoyable.
Head: None to speak of.
Aftertaste: Caramel and a sugary taste. While I cannot say with any certainty whether they use Cane Sugar or not it is certainly reminiscent of Cane. It is good, though!
Overall Taste: This Root Beer stands on its own for flavour and the taste is just fine in my book. It is not a very complex brew but it stands out from the run of the mill. Its taste is great, even in a Styrofoam cup.

Frostop Root Beer from the Drive Inn at 1449 Hal Greer Blvd in Huntington, West Virginia gets a 7/10. Make sure to drop by there if you're in the area, it will be worth the trip! Next time I'll make a point of eating there, too!

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Glyph said...

The Frostop Root Beer that I'm familiar with is a mass-produced soda, though one of the better ones that I'm able to get my hands on. It's also the cheapest of the good root beer's that I've found at $0.99 per liter bottle. Though apparantly not available in Indiana, it's well worth finding if you can. Here in Minnesota it's in just about all of the major grocery stores, and quite a few other locations as well. Their website is at http://www.frostop.com/

Michael said...

I've seen the Frostop website (note the link in the post. I do wish they had it available in Indiana, too. The Drive Inn at Huntington used a draft syrup and made it up on the spot.

Stanton said...

Love your blog!

The thing that frosts me about the Huntington Frostop is that the rootbeer has no frost on top! This in spite of the name and big spinning rootbeer mug with a good healthy head of frost.

Michael said...

Thanks! Hope you stop in often! I also love a nice frothy head on my Root Beer but that's something that's harder and harder to find on any brew these days. It's especially so on most "draft style". I certainly love to see some folks go back to a formulation that allowed for a foamy head but I fear that's not likely.

Michael said...

PS: Look for a link to the WVHotdogBlog in the FoRB section!

Anonymous said...

I fell in love with Vanilla caramel creme soda....too good to be true JUDE