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A Lotta Bottles O' Root Beer On The Wall

Three capital letters appeared in the air over my head when I saw the sign: The Root Beer Store –  World's Largest Root Beer Selection.  I pulled a 6G right turn onto Tacoma's 6th & Orchard, roared to the door and charged in.

I was not disappointed.

These people are serious about root beer.   The Root Beer Store stocks over 100 different brands of root beers, birch beers, ginger ales, ginger beers, and other specialty sodas, plus root beer candies, root beer rental kegs, even root beer apparel.  Besides the one I visited in Tacoma there are Root Beer Stores in Puyallup, Redmond, Lynnwood, and sometime this summer, Mill Creek.

The stores stock well known national brands like Hires, A&W, and Dad's. But who knew there were so many regional brands?  Like Bawls, Brownie's, Sparky's, and Caruso's Robusto.   To say nothing of the ultra-enticing Cicero Salted Caramel root beer.  And that takes us barely into the "C"s. 

Credit The L&T

Oh wait, there's a "B" I forgot to mention  in the photo to the right –  and it's a meal in itself. 

Nancy's husband Mac is a true root beer obsessive. "He actually keeps physical notes like 'this one's too sweet, this one's too flat..."

She prefers the drier tasting birch beers, which, amazingly, she did not know were brewed from re-cycled canoes.  I think she still doesn't believe me.

There's even a root beer from Down Under, Bunderberg's. Had it been up to me I would have named it Kangaroot Beer, but that's why I get the big bux. 

"Give me some root beer, chug-a-lug, chug-a-lug, chug-a-lug."

– The Beach Boys

Dick Stein joined KNKX in January 1992. He retired in 2020 after three decades on air. During his storied radio career, he hosted the morning jazz show, co-hosted and produced "Food for Thought" with Nancy Leson and wrote and directed the Jimmy Jazzoid live radio musical comedies and 100 episodes of Jazz Kitchen.