Monday, May 9, 2016
Soda Folk: It Floats My Boat
Root beer was a firm staple in my American household. We had a specific, oversized glass mug reserved for root beer floats, which my dad would make for me after dinner: two scoops of vanilla ice cream, root beer filled up to the brim with a long spoon and straw stuck in the middle. I'd sit at the dinner table, my legs dangling off the chair as I swirled mixed the two together to make one, delicious iced treat.
When I moved to London nearly a decade ago, root beer didn't exist. Or, it wasn't readily available. So when Byron came on to the burger scene and started serving it on their menus, I was ecstatic. Today, they stock Soda Folk root beer and cream soda (another beverage from my American childhood) - a company with its roots in Colorado and one that was founded by an American expat like me.
I love Soda Folk's root beer because, unlike other brands on the market, it's made in small batches using natural ingredients and sweetened with cane sugar. If you've never tried root beer before, it's the best place to start: Soda Folk's cans have a lovely, maple syrup finish that lingers on the tongue long after you've taken the last swig.
After a dizzying week at work, my friend Caroline and I headed to Byron for burgers and - you guessed it - root beer and cream soda.
I'm often asked about my favorite burger in London. Fair question, since a lot of American chains have now opened in the city and other burger joints have their own cult following (and special sauces). But my friend (and fellow American expat) Jodi and I have always loved the burgers at Byron. They're simple, well made, and the staff always give me extra pickles when I ask (nicely!). Pickles that are cold, tangy, crisp, and satisfyingly crunchy - just like the ones back home.
Case in point (I'll ask for one and will normally get three or four):
I order the same thing every time I go to Byron: cheeseburger (with American cheese and extra pickles), a side of fries and a Soda Folk root beer. And it always hits the spot.
After we polished off our burgers, we headed straight for the root beer and cream soda floats. As I stirred the ice cream into my soft drink, it brought back so many memories of sharing the dessert with my dad before his diabetes prevented him from having any sweets at all. It made me a little teary!
The taste of Soda Folk's root beer makes me feel like I'm getting a little slice of "home". It's comforting and familiar.
Have you ever tried root beer or cream soda? What did you think? John doesn't like it! I prefer it to any other kind of pop (yup, I said "pop" - I'm from the Pacific Northwest! Here's a handy and hilarious map that explains it all!). I'm thinking that I should keep a supply at home. Anyway, if you haven't tried it, I'd highly recommend popping down (pun intended) to your local Byron for a burger and a root beer float. Let me know what you think!
Caroline and I were generously hosted by Byron and Soda Folk - thank you! All opinions are my own.