Float On, Root Beer

Happy 115th birthday, awesome summer beverage! The root beer float was invented on this date in 1893 by Frank Wisner, owner of Cripple Creek Brewing Company in Colorado. Legend has it that one moonlight night, he looked out over Cow Mountain and, to him, the scene reminded him of a big scoop of vanilla ice cream “floating on top of a black, Cow Mountain.” The name of the drink was shortened to “black cow,” and the rest was history.

In honor of its quindecentennial (real word!), a bevy of information on all things root-beer-float-tastic:

• Step aside, William Carlos Williams. Three methods for eating a root beer float. The Melting method, the Half-Melted With Spoon method, and the Backwards method. [WikiHow]

• On June 19, 1999, the A&W; Root Beer stand in Lodi, California became set the world record for the Largest Root Beer Float at 2562.5 Gallons. [A&W;]

• In 2003, Coca-Cola launched Barq’s Floatz, a vanilla-spiked offshoot of their Barq’s root beer brand, that was supposed to mimic the experience of a soda fountain float. It’s no longer available, even though it apparently tasted pretty darn good. [BevNet]

• There are over 2500 brands of commercially produced root beer. This page lists the vast majority of them. [Root Beer World]

• In the late 1800s, The Women’s Christian Temperance Union launched a campaign against root beer because it had the word “beer” in it. Root beer magnate Charles Hires had an independent laboratory confirm that “beer” was purely a descriptive term, and the ladies were mollified. [Eat Your History]

• Probably the best homemade making-a-root-bear-float music video of all time, to Tone Loc’s Funky Cold Medina. Not that it’s a crowded field. [YouTube]

• The Fizz Cup is a plastic thingaroo that you attach to the top of your bottle of root beer (or other soda) and fill with ice cream, in order to make every sip a perfect combo of float flavors. [Gizmodo]

• The “cream” part of the ice cream loves to foam up, so it is advised that makers of root beer floats (and any other type of ice cream soda) add the ice cream last. [We Figured This Out Ourself As A Child]

A 1939 L.A. Times article urging parents to try the novel dessert idea of a root beer float. “Children, especially, are fond of these “floats” which may be concocted in many flavors”!!!!! [L.A. Times (sub req’d)]

[Photo: Root beer float, via jonolist’s Flickr]

Float On, Root Beer