Drink Up

Sep 2, 2015 at 1:00 am

Coney Island Brewing/ Hard Root Beer

5.8% ABV

Coney Island Brewing Co. puts a welcome twist on an old favorite with their Hard Root Beer, the latest trend in craft beer that no one can seem to get enough of this summer. Hard Root Beer is brewed like a beer, but with the added flavors of traditional root beer. The result is a beverage that tastes and smells like the old-time soda of your childhood memories, but packs a punch with a 5.8 percent ABV.

While Coney's Hard Root Beer can certainly credit much of its success to nostalgic appeal, its familiar taste also reflects the company's meticulous brewing process. The beer is first brewed like a traditional ale, with 2-row malt, caramel malt, and European hops. It then undergoes a secondary fermentation with additional sugars and ale yeast, which is filtered to develop the root beer base. From there, a specialty blend of spices like Madagascar vanilla, anise, nutmeg, and cinnamon are added for that signature root beer essence. As soon as the carbonated concoction is poured, vanilla bean, licorice, birch, and wintergreen aromas are apparent as well as the delightfully creamy foam of the classic version. Notes of anise, clove, and pepper offset the cloying sweet taste for a well-balanced botanical blend.

It's no surprise the boozy soda pairs well with cotton candy, fries, popcorn, hot dogs, and other typical boardwalk offerings. Coney Island Brewing Co. is based in Coney Island, Brooklyn, N.Y., within arms reach of the famous amusement district's roller coaster rides, games on the pier, and throngs of beachgoers. And in case you were wondering, Coney's Hard Root Beer is sweet and thick enough to make an excellent "adult" root beer float when paired with ice cream. In fact, Ferndale-based ice cream shop Treat Dreams takes the alcoholic dessert idea one step further with their popular Coney Island Hard Root Beer Float popsicles.

A cold, frothy glass of Hard Root Beer perfectly complements the tastes, smells, and sights of summer, and that's what it's all about. Beyond IBUs and hops, the drink is most concerned with its fun factor. Craft beer aficionados as well as those who don't typically drink beer will find something uniquely appealing about this revamped throwback. Coney Island Brewing Co.'s Hard Root Beer is currently available in six-packs of 12-ounce bottles.