Ohio Root Beer Day Trip

by Erin

Love root beer? Come take a ride with me to SW Ohio for an Ohio root beer day trip! Includes stops at root beer stands, one of my favorite grocery stores, and breweries.

Keep Calm and Drink Root Beer
Back in March I planned the best Ohio day trip – at least in my opinion. We drove 2 hours south to Cincinnati on the hunt for root beer (also check out my other root beer day trips: Dayton Area Round 2).

I have been compiling a list of root beer stands in Ohio over the years and after being cooped up for a year finally decided to start crossing some off the list. Lucky for me, there happened to be a concentrated amount of them in and around Cincinnati.

Cincinnati Root Beer Day Trip Route

Totaling 4.5 hours of drive-time we hit up 6 spots on my list in just one day. Not all were root beer stands, but root beer was involved and consumed at each stop.

Root Beer in Ohio:

We decided to hit up the furthest spot first, and work our way back home to Columbus, filling ourselves with not only root beer but also tasty eats as well. Now, I normally only review glass bottles of root beer on this blog of mine. But I am willing to bend the rules from time to time. As a refresher to my rating scale, a 3 is a good review, not crazy amazing but good, which is where I start every review process and then it either moves up or down from there based upon various characteristics. Alight, shall we?

So if you are following along with the above map, the first stop was…

50 West Brewing Company

Fifty West Brewing Company

Fitting that we would start with a brewery that is named after U.S. Route 50 which stretches across the entire country from Ocean City, Maryland to Sacramento, California. What a road trip that would be. While they are obviously a brewery at heart, lucky for me many breweries also make their own root beer! So we pulled into their beer garden, ordered a cheeseburger and some cold root beer to start the day.

The root beer at 50 West had a good amount of carbonation, resulting in both good fizz and foam. It was creamy, with a medium flavor profile. Definitely good and one I would drink again, but not ruffling any skirts. Solid 3/5.

And of course we paired it with their classic double cheeseburger. Highly recommend!

50 West Root Beer & Cheeseburger

Our second stop was…

The Root Beer Stand

The Root Beer Stand

The root beer at this stand in Sharonville has been made on site since 1957 and has received recognition as the best root beer in Cincinnati. But they are also known for their footlong cheese coneys. So I will give you one guess as to what we ordered to pair with our root beer at this stop.

We sipped on their root beer (which you can also buy by the gallon) on their outdoor picnic area. It had a lot of vanilla flavor, but wasn’t very carbonated and reminded me of A&W. Which is also a solid classic 3/5. But funny story I didn’t know they started as an A&W Root Beer Stand until after I made that assessment!

Also, their no-frills cheese coney made me think of the Ohio Sate Fair, which made me sad that it’s closed to the public this year.

The Root Beer Stand Root Beer & Chili Dog

Next up…

Jungle Jim’s International Market

I’ve visited this magnificent foodie wonderland many times before, once while exploring all that Butler County has to offer, which is why I knew it had to be part of our trip, because they have an entire aisle dedicated to root beer!

Despite stopping here any chance I get, it never fails that I find something new, both in general and in root beer. This trip I picked up 4 new to me root beers including AJ Stephans butterscotch, Chumlee, Manhattan Special, and Das Nubs Belch Krieg.

I’ve only tried two of those four thus far. Das Nubs Belch Krieg root beer was creamy, smooth, and not too fizzy with medium flavor. Another one that’s a good 3/5.

The AJ Stephans butterscotch was an improvement, with nice butterscotch flavor, creamy and smooth, not too fizzy, and sweeter than a normal root beer but not overpoweringly so. Really good 4/5. (The regular AJ Stephans root beer I rated a 3/5 in the past)

Jungle Jim's Root Beer Aisle

After a break from eating, we were ready to go for stop #4 at…

Jolly's Drive-In

Jolly’s Drive-In

Jolly’s is actually one of Butler County’s oldest restaurants! Since 1938, Jolly’s Drive-In (A&W) has been serving Hamilton and Fairfield communities with their delicious food.

Their root beer (which I presume based off their signs is actually A&W) had good carbonation and a medium flavor profile so it’s no surprise that it came in as a 3/5.

But again, you pair a standby good root beer with a drive-in cheeseburger and fries and you will not see me frowning.

Jolly's Root Beer & Cheeseburger

Our fifth overall stop, but third in Butler County brought us to…

Rivertown Brewery

We could have ordered a root beer from the bar, but we decided to take ours to go once we realized they actually canned their root beer! Four pack to go, yes please (and extras to share with my friend Mark, The Root Beer Aficionado).

But of course we drank one in the car. It was creamy, with caramel and a slight anise flavor, but medium body of flavor overall and medium level of carbonation. That caramel kicked it up to a 4/5.

Little did I know that in addition to their taproom, they are also a full-service BBQ eatery! Clearly we are going to need to plan a second trip sometime.

Rivertown Brewery Root Beer

I would have liked to hit up J&E Root Beer Stand (again also in Butler County), but at the time they were closed. So we ventured up to Dayton for our last stop on our route…

The Root Beer Stande

Unfortunately, despite having the largest menu of the day, their kitchen was backed up and we didn’t want to wait 45 minutes for food, so we only got a root beer here. While I promptly forgot to take a picture of. Never fear, it was a plain styrofoam cup.

Their house made root beer had medium carbonation but fizzy (think Barq’s but better), with vanilla flavor and a bit of a birch tang/bite. And another 4/5. Not a bad way to end the day.

Root Beer Stande

Other spots I would have liked to hit in the Dayton area was Voltzy’s and J&E Root Beer Stand but they were closed at the time. But in about 6 hours we hit up two breweries, three root beer stands, and one of our favorite grocery stores! We shared 5 new root beer, 2 burgers, 1 chili dog, and took home 4 new bottles to save for later. Oh and a cool t-shirt and sticker. I call that a win.

More root beer in Ohio:

Looking for root Beer in Columbus, OH?

Here’s a list of places I have found that don’t require leaving Columbus:

  • Ohio Pop at Punk Pigs, The Ohio Taproom, The Hills Market Downtown, Outerbelt Brewing, Kenny’s Meatwagon, Porketta Food Trailer, Ajumama Food Truck, and 451 Spirits.
  • Parsons North High Brewery makes their own root beer and has it on tap (you can even get it as part of your flight).
  • Rocket Fizz has an assortment of root beer and other flavored pop, but also nostalgic sweets.
  • Elevator actually makes my favorite root beer I’ve had thus far in Ohio. Although the brewery location shut down, they only had the root beer at the restaurant and they still carry it!

And while I know I just listed a bunch of places that don’t require driving very far, another favorite of mine that is worth the drive just for one stop is Market Street Soda Works in Newark, OH! They have an incredible bottle selection and have a couple on tap as well.

Where are your favorite spots to get root beer? I am always on the hunt, especially when I travel, so let me know where I should head to next (in and especially outside of Ohio)! After all, I have been known to plan an entire trip based on root beer (looking at you Seattle). In fact I am tentatively scheduling an adventure up to Wisconsin in 2022 ;-).

Ohio Root Beer Day Trip
Six years ago: No-Churn Roasted Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie Ice Cream

Seven years ago: Slow Cooker Beef Tacos

Eight years ago: S’mores Jar Cake for One

Ten years ago: Skillet Chicken with Peppers and Peanuts

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Radha July 8, 2021 - 11:52 pm

This is a great trip. Love the details you have collected to stop by all through the journey. What a fun road trip!

Dan July 7, 2021 - 8:22 pm

How about fro stop they had stands in different states and was made in Columbus also Stewart root beer

Erin July 8, 2021 - 8:13 am

As far as I know there are no longer any Frostop stands in Ohio (although I see one just over the border in WV). But I have had it before! And there is a restaurant in town that has it on draft that I’ve been meaning to go to (Tony’s Coneys). And Stewart’s is next on my list! I am planning different road trips for different regions of Ohio.

Sheila Thigpen July 5, 2021 - 9:18 pm

What a fun and creative day trip! So many good ideas and tips!

Amy (Savory Moments) July 3, 2021 - 8:12 am

What a fun little road trip! I never imagined there were so many kinds and places to have root beers. It’s a delicious drink and one of my favorites when I drink soda.

Erin July 5, 2021 - 7:05 pm

I am planning a trip next summer to a bunch of places in Wisconsin!

Inger @ Art of Natural Liivng July 2, 2021 - 10:48 pm

Wow, kind of like the root beer version of a Napa wine tour! I don’t like root beer but my husband is a huge fan! Any cream soda :)

Dad June 10, 2021 - 12:56 pm

I wondered how you drank all the root beer and ate all those burgers and dogs but then I saw you and Bob shared them. Definitely not on my post bypass diet though! Sounded like a great trip.

Erin June 10, 2021 - 2:56 pm

Oh yea definitely shared!

Gene June 25, 2021 - 8:01 pm

Save yourself all the driving, and just go to the Ravenna A&W and get a root beer foot long coney dog with mustard onion and slaw. You will drive out of there with a grin?

Erin June 26, 2021 - 9:54 am

Haha fair suggestion! Any reason why that particular A&W location is better than others in Ohio? There are three here in Columbus, OH that are much closer.

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Susan June 9, 2021 - 11:26 am

Your root beer trip makes me want to try the beers at the breweries you went to and/or listed…

Richard Mann July 4, 2021 - 2:13 pm

Thsnk You. This is great.. I have already made 2 Root Beer Stand trips so far and our next one was to go South to Cincinnati (Sharonville) and work up to Columbus area.
I bought a former A&W Root Beer stand drive in that I am currently restoring in Uhrichsville, Ohio. We have made our trip as an educational resource for our new endeavor. We are trying to find what rootbeer we are going to sell and how to make it. I knew it is similar to brewing beer but Never thought to check with breweries. Had plans to open this year still but learning about making rootbeer is time consuming and hard to get information.

Erin July 5, 2021 - 7:04 pm

Good luck! I’ve only ever made it with a kit.


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