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Candy Review: Brach’s A&W Root Beer Barrels

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Brach’s Root Beer Barrels

As I have mentioned before, many of my candy proclivities that I have carried since childhood are a direct result of the candy my dad enjoyed. For example, my father would stop at a drug store to buy some motor oil while I remained in the car playing Game Boy. When he returned, there would be a half-eaten bag of Twizzlers in his hands for me to share (it’s the only way to explain my adoration for the waxy confection).

But sadly, not all of the candy he favored became staples of my candy lineup. His affinities for Crows and Jujubes confounded me. But the one flavor obsession that my older brother inherited from him and I never did was root beer.

It seemed whenever root beet was invited to the party, I was the third wheel. My dad and brother would go out from root beer floats, grab root beers and chili burgers, and even debate which variety was the most superior. It drove me nuts that they could stomach that junk!

So while my father was visiting for Christmas and I was giving him a restaurant tour of Austin, we hopped into The Korean House for dinner (one of the few restaurants open for Christmas Eve). After having a yummy basket of Yasai Tempura, the waiter left our table a handful of A&W Root Beer Barrels.

My dad immediately reached for several pieces. Sensing my dislike for the candy, he tried to placate my fears and strongly advocated I at least try one. As a Candy Addict, I realize I have to sample candy I like and may not like, so I stuck a few in my pocket and promised him I’d try them… later.

Well, a month goes by, I find myself in the midst of doing laundry, and what do I find in my jeans? You guessed it. My first thought is that I should have just let them go through the rinse cycle, but that wouldn’t make me a very good addict, now would it?

These hard candy pieces are dark brown and shaped like a barrel, which makes perfect sense given the name. Despite root beer having a rather potent aroma, the candy carries none.

As soon as the candy hits my tongue, the root beer flavor pervades my mouth; however, it’s not as strong as I remember the beverage being. In fact, the flavor is rather complex with notes of vanilla and malt that meld with a cinnamon-esque tinge (the sort that is slightly hot).

Maybe it’s because there is no carbonation to interfere with the sassafras, but I actually “tolerated” these. And by that I mean I ate all the ones I had. The flavor is mild and contained with a woodsy presence, thus not overpowering like the soda. My final verdict is that these babies are decent if you don’t like root beer (like me), but are probably amazing if you do (like my dad).

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3 Responses to “Candy Review: Brach’s A&W Root Beer Barrels”

  1. 1
    cb says:

    I’ve found root-beer- and sas’fras-flavored hard candies to often have that light, sweet quality (your description of the candies fits my experience). Though, I think they’re most similar to the little bottles of root beer concentrate I smelled as a child. It’s definitely a better taste than the bottled stuff, in general.

  2. 2
    laurie says:

    I wonder if there’s something about Korean restaurants and awesome candy? My favourite one gives out various flavours of Werther’s.

  3. 3
    Lose That Girl says:

    Ew. I actually like drinking root beer – not sure if I’m brave enough to down the candies.

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