Birch beer

Jstorm

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Never could understand why it was called Birch beer, when in fact it comes from the root of a Sassafras tree. Years ago it was called Sarsaparilla and was a quack medicine for all kinds of ailments!!!
Wow. Didn't know all of that. Thanks
 

Lbrewer42

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Sorry to disagree, but true birch beer is made from birch tree sap/twigs/bark of the birch tree and therefore has a slight wintergreen scent to it (chew on the outer end of a small birch tree twig and you will get the wintergreen flavor - just don't chew too hard as the twig is also bitter). While hunting I would put a small piece of the twig in my mouth and let it sit - wintergreen flavor plus staves off thirst
Sarsaparilla is totally different and from the Sassafras tree root/bark and it's a different flavor (slight hint of an anise, not wintergreen, to the root/bark/leaves - yup - I have chewed on those twigs and leaves as well in the wild to stave off thirst).
I grew up in northwestern PA where even 2 liters of birch beer were sold in any grocery store along with root beer, cola, orange, and all the other flavors put into 2 liter bottles.
The most common brand of birch beer I know of is called Pennsylvania Dutch Birch Beer. We even used to buy generic birch beer in a 2 liter. But that was a cheap knock off tasting more like glorified and carbonated sugar water with a hint of root beer flavor.
Truth be told the Pennsylvania Dutch brand is good, but not the best just like any other mass produced variety of something.
You have not had really good birch beer until you find a smaller brand's product like Stewart's Birch Beer. I also have had homemade birch beer and actually like Stewart's better b/c its more carbonated. I even prefer good birch beer to good root beer (but love that as well when its good).
The good stuff will make you want more.
 

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ROBBYBOBBY64

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Good evening all. Just curious if anyone has tasted Birch beer. I have some A-treat full bottles and the cap says Birch beer . I'm assuming it tastes like root beer. It's not to common up here in Northern Indiana. Never heard of it! Thanks all!View attachment 232106
I liked it when I was younger. I would still drink it today. The 5 best Birch Beers are-
1. AJ Stephan's
2. Pennsylvania Dutch
3. Boylan's Creamy Red
4. Kutztown
5. Sioux City

ROBBYBOBBY64.
 

Jstorm

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I liked it when I was younger. I would still drink it today. The 5 best Birch Beers are-
1. AJ Stephan's
2. Pennsylvania Dutch
3. Boylan's Creamy Red
4. Kutztown
5. Sioux City

ROBBYBOBBY64.
I'm going to try to find some up here and buy it. There's supposed to be a few grocery stores that has it but I will have to check it out before ordering on the internet. I also found an Acl with Ginger beer. Never heard of that either. Have you ever tried that one?
 

Lbrewer42

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I have had many varieties of it over the years. They range from spicy and sweet to just sweet, but I also have made it at home. Its very easy to make (watch the recipes online since there is an alcoholic and a non-alcoholic version). I also make gingerale (also very easy) with close to the same heat as Blenheim hot variety (which blows away Vernors).
I carbonate mine with a homemade carbonation system much better than marketed ones. It was 100.00 initial outlay for equipment (though can be had on Craigslist for half that if you look). And it only is 15.00 for refill once a YEAR, and I use the system 4-5 times a week on a generic 2 or 3 liter bottle! In other words - also no extra money for special bottles. The system has way more than paid for itself. And I carbonate to 60 PSI instead of 30 PSI like Pepsi Coke, etc.!
 

Jstorm

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I have had many varieties of it over the years. They range from spicy and sweet to just sweet, but I also have made it at home. Its very easy to make (watch the recipes online since there is an alcoholic and a non-alcoholic version). I also make gingerale (also very easy) with close to the same heat as Blenheim hot variety (which blows away Vernors).
I carbonate mine with a homemade carbonation system much better than marketed ones. It was 100.00 initial outlay for equipment (though can be had on Craigslist for half that if you look). And it only is 15.00 for refill once a YEAR, and I use the system 4-5 times a week on a generic 2 or 3 liter bottle! In other words - also no extra money for special bottles. The system has way more than paid for itself. And I carbonate to 60 PSI instead of 30 PSI like Pepsi Coke, etc.!
Thanks for the info. Very interesting. Have a coke machine I'm going to fire up . Might be a good way to go!
 

Lbrewer42

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A link to where I got the plans:

My tank and valve cost 35.00 I think on Craigslist. Oh, don't skimp on the valve by attaching a tire valve tube to a 2 liter bottle cap. Been there, done that. Worked? Yes. But the auto locking on the stainless steel pieces you get (was 20.00 when I bought them on ebay I think) makes it so much easier, the tank lasts longer, and the seal is so much better. More I wish I had known - despite online debate, welding supply CO2 comes form the same original tanks as food grade. I use welding supplies to refill. Forget sports stores who recharge paintball tanks - way too expensive and normally don't handle the size tank you would have. Price up the specialized tanks and bottles of the typical marketed home carbonating units and you will see how much $$$$$$$ you save making one.
 

Jstorm

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A link to where I got the plans:

My tank and valve cost 35.00 I think on Craigslist. Oh, don't skimp on the valve by attaching a tire valve tube to a 2 liter bottle cap. Been there, done that. Worked? Yes. But the auto locking on the stainless steel pieces you get (was 20.00 when I bought them on ebay I think) makes it so much easier, the tank lasts longer, and the seal is so much better. More I wish I had known - despite online debate, welding supply CO2 comes form the same original tanks as food grade. I use welding supplies to refill. Forget sports stores who recharge paintball tanks - way too expensive and normally don't handle the size tank you would have. Price up the specialized tanks and bottles of the typical marketed home carbonating units and you will see how much $$$$$$$ you save making one.
Thanks for the tips. That's why I like this forum because of folks like you! Thanks.
 

Lbrewer42

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BTW - grape juice, chocolate milk (yum!), tea, coffee, water (what I mostly drink), and even whole grapes (they fit in a 1 liter bottle) can be carbonated. Have fun!
 

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