What’s the Difference Between Birch Beer and Root Beer?

Are you looking for an alternative to liquor or soda? Consider beer root or beer birch. This article explores the battle of flavors, including their herbal similarities, between these two beverages. This article is for those who know how to read and have a palate that suits them.

Differences in Origin

Differences in Origin

Nevertheless, the resemblances cease at that point. Moreover, they are not alcoholic beverages. These “beers”, despite their designations, are not actually beers. They resorted to plant sap and roots in order to produce medicinal teas and syrups. The creators of birch beer and root beer intended for these beverages to possess healing properties.

The following illustrates the disparities in the origins of these beverages.


Pennsylvania is renowned for its carbonated and sweet Birch beer, which is made from herbal extracts and the bark of the birch tree. On the other hand, Sassafras beer is a carbonated drink made from the root of the sassafras tree.


In the 1700s, John Mortimer, a writer and agriculturalist, began to wonder about the homemade birch beer that poor settlers created, as revealed in his book.

At the conclusion of the procedure, they incorporate yeast to impart the beverage with its unique flavor. They boiled a mixture of birch soda and processed sugar.

Because it was more appealing to workers, he decided to rename it from “root tea” to “root beer”. Throughout that period, he promoted it as a universal remedy for various illnesses. Charles Elmer, an American pharmacist, distributed this herbal beverage in his pharmacy. The origins of root beer can be traced back to 1876.

Primary Ingredients

Primary Ingredients

Initially, brewers tap birch sap to plant. Birch bark comes from birch, which is used as an ingredient in birch beer. The essential ingredients used to make them are very different, which makes root beer and birch beer distinct. Root beer and birch beer may have similar characteristics.

Birch oil or birch syrup is created through the process of distilling the sap of the sweet birch tree, which imparts the beverage with its unique brown hue and taste. The manufacturers in the industry extract this substance.

Scientists have found that the root of sassafras can be carcinogenic, which is why this change is being made. Artificial flavorings currently used in beer factories include licorice, cinnamon, honey, cloves, ginger, molasses, and anise. The original recipe for this beverage also includes the root of sassafras. Meanwhile, beer root originates from the root of sassafras.

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In order to improve the flavor, they also include star anise, crushed ginger, and vanilla bean. This also imparts a subtle caramel taste. The color of the birch beer is achieved through the use of molasses and brown sugar. Subsequently, brewers create a syrup by simmering sugar and water. The process of brewing birch beer entails simmering birch oil obtained from the bark.

Cook the sassafras and sarsaparilla roots to create root beer. Include vanilla bean seeds, sugar, and water. Enhance the enjoyable effervescence by incorporating seltzer water.

Some differences are recognizable. However, these two have similar colors and flavors, so it’s not surprising. Some drinkers may confuse root beer and birch beer.


Birch Beer and Root Beer Taste

Nutmeg or cinnamon, cloves, and vanilla can provide various flavors. The overall taste of it depends on the spices it contains. You may also notice hints of a peppery taste. Additionally, it has earthy and sweet undertones, making it creamy. Birch beer has a similar minty flavor reminiscent of wintergreen.

This drink has a wide array of flavors including nutmeg, honey, and vanilla. The delicate sourness adds character to the drink. Some commercial brands are slightly acidic. Generally, root beer is caramelly and sweet.


Some brewers utilize it for producing root beer due to its properties. In root beer, one can also detect traces of birch bark. Root beer leans towards the sweeter end of the spectrum. In contrast, birch beer is milder and has a lesser degree of sweetness compared to root beer, rendering it more invigorating.

Contemporary producers utilize synthetic components, which is the reason why sarsaparilla has a more fabricated taste. Conversely, birch beer possesses a more intricate flavor profile and contains a lower amount of sweetness.


The extended fermentation process of birch beer results in these variations. Nevertheless, birch beer generally has less foam compared to root beer. Both of these carbonated beverages are categorized as such.

Alcohol Content

Birch Beer and Root Beer Alcohol Content

The result is a refreshing and crisp beverage when yeast breaks down carbohydrates and produces ethanol. Some modern brewers are already making alcoholic versions using a mixture of ale yeast. Birch beer may have the word “beer,” but it contains no alcohol.

The ABVs of beers created by brewers have been reduced from 10.5% to 5%. Most commercially-prepared versions of these beers have zero alcohol. The old-fashioned root beer, on the other hand, contains around 2% alcohol.

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The white version has a noticeable wintergreen flavor. Generally, birch beer is not strongly carbonated and has a milder mouthfeel. The color of the beer’s birch can be brown, red, or white, depending on the hues used from the birch tree.

Some manufacturers add flavors and colors to enhance the malt, such as black or chocolate. You can also find variants with orange. The most popular color of beer is brown, which is rooted in its flavor.

Differences in Consumption

Birch soda and root soda are delicious beverages. But can you savor them in the same manner? Continue reading to discover.


Can consumers find beer birch anywhere in the world? No, unfortunately. You can mainly find this drink in the northeastern United States. Manufacturing plants for beer birch are primarily found in Pennsylvania. However, some businesses distribute this beverage in Canada and England.

Birch beer is a less common drink compared to mainstream beverages. In some Asian countries, you can find this drink being sold in restaurants and grocery stores. Moreover, you can purchase popular brands of birch beer in Australia, UK, and the US. Commercially prepared variants, especially root beer, are more widely available.


Birch Beer and Root Beer Uses

You can use birch beer to make refreshing cocktails. You can mix it with lemon juice and gin to create a refreshing drink. Another option is to use this drink for desserts. An excellent suggestion is to make vanilla whipped cream with granita. The result is a creamy and sweet ending to a meal.

Floats are popular for beer enthusiasts. It is a simple concoction of root beer with a scoop of ice cream on top. Creative cooks also use root beer to make pastries. Some of these desserts include pies, brownies, and puddings. The food’s unique and unforgettable flavor gives it a delightful sweetness.

Serving Temperature

Brewers recommend chilling birch beer in the fridge for two days. This technique makes it more refreshing and crisp. Owners of the restaurant suggest serving root beer ice-cold on the other hand. It’s best to drink it colder than actual beer.


This delicately sweet beverage is most enjoyable when accompanied by hamburgers, BBQ ribs, and hamburgers. Grilled meats also complement its robust, earthy tastes. Birch beer is a perfect accompaniment to Philly Cheesesteaks, as it is a native of Pennsylvania.

The flavors of savory and spicy are complemented by the sweetness and carbonation of the grilled chicken and pulled pork, as well as the smoky barbecues of brisket. It pairs well with this sweet beverage, but it also goes great with a slice of gouda cheese. However, the famous ice cream’s vanilla is a perfect match for the root beer.

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Table of Comparison Between Birch Beer and Root Beer

This is an overview of the differences between birch beer and root beer. It can help you understand the unique qualities of each.

Cocktails and granita are typically served at a chilled temperature after being refrigerated for two days. They have a sweet and caramel-like flavor and come in shades of brown, orange, or red. They pair well with floats and pastries. The serving temperature is ice cold. They have a refreshing and creamy taste with hints of mint and earthiness. Birch bark and Sassafras root are the main ingredients used. These beverages can be found in Pennsylvania, Canada, and England. They are also available in the US, UK, Asia, and Australia. They come in white, red, or brown colors. The primary ingredients for these drinks are Birch Beer and Root Beer.

In this video, a blind taste test is conducted to compare root beer and birch beer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you want to know more about these two drinks? Here are some of the most posed questions asked by curious drinkers.

Is birch also used in root beer?

Some brewers use birch root in brewing root beer, as this ingredient enhances the flavors and gives the modern versions a similar taste to these two drinks.

Does birch beer smell like root beer?

The root of the sassafras tree emits natural fragrances reminiscent of piquant basil and fennel. Hints of anise and black licorice can be detected in the aroma of root beer. Conversely, birch beer exudes a minty scent, reminiscent of methyl salicylate or wintergreen. Birch beer does not possess the same aroma as root beer.

Is birch beer healthier than root beer?

It consumes a moderate amount in order to optimize its sugar content, with a total of 40 grams. However, it can also contribute to improving the health of the skin and hair. Birch sap contains minerals and antioxidants that can function as pain relievers. In general, birch beer is a healthier alternative to regular beer.

This sweetener is recognized as being unhealthy. Additionally, root beer contains high levels of corn syrup fructose. It already contains artificial flavorings and preservatives. Unlike in ancient times, it does not contain minerals and vitamins. Root beer is now prepared commercially.

What is red birch beer root beer?

This beer has a distinct taste because brewers add distilled birch sap, which is a unique ingredient. Although it belongs to the family of root beers, it may be called red birch beer.


Each offer has something delightful. These two beverages have their merits. When does the flavor come? Who wins in the battle between root beer and birch beer?

Sometimes they like to drink to their heart’s content, and they both hope you enjoy it too. However, birch beer is a healthier option. Even though they have similar colors and tastes, they come from different origins.

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