by Kat Robinson
Around here there only seem to be three options. There’s Diamond Bear’s excellent Big Rock Root Beer, a nice licorice-scented vanilla flavored brew with real holding power. This is the root beer I obtain for special occasions, picking up a growler or even a keg depending on the size of the crowd. Alas, it’s not available outside of the brewery and a few local eateries such as Capital Bar and Grill.
Then there’s Vino’s sweet and earthy brew… also available to take home but unavailable elsewhere. It’s a perfect pizza accompaniment, and a great option for non-drinkers (or extraordinary lightweights like me). I dig. I seriously dig.
And then there’s Frostop. Nearly three decades after the chain went under, the longtime Central Arkansas mainstay has migrated first to North Little Rock and then through three locations on JFK, now settled in a strip mall north of Savers. The root beer is still made right there — it’s birch-y and slightly astringent, very light and so easy to drink, especially in a frosted mug. A Frostop root beer is truly an experience. I talk more about Frostop over on Tie Dye Travels, incidentally.
But what other options do we have in Arkansas for root beer? I seriously want to know. I wish we had a good local root beer bottler so I could pick some up when I go out of state to give to people I meet elsewhere. I know that’s a pipe dream for the Diamond Bear folks. Thoughts? Recommendations?