Oh, the bottles are trying to make friends again. In italic, brushy fonts they vaunt of "complex flavours" and "hand-finished"-ness.
All right, I'll bite.
First up is Real Brew Root Beer.
Common in local groceries but as yet untried. We picked it up with some Ginger Ale in the same brand. Below its appealing label is a little block of text declaring it to be:
"A complex flavour of sweet birch, licorice root, sarsaparilla, anise and other natural flavours."
Other descriptions on the bottle include Traditional Quality, Supreme, Subtle, Creamy, et cetera. Unfortunately, I don't think this soda has quite earned its own hype. It's good, don't take me wrong, but its sheer sweetness overwhelms any notion of subtlety or nuance. It's like drinking candy (my mother described it as "bubblegum" repeatedly), and I wouldn't imbibe it in great quantities.
Next is Henry Weinhard's Root Beer, which, interestingly, seems to be trying very hard to look like regular beer.
It's a good look, though. I approve of Mr. Weinhard's bemoustached visage glaring out at you as your drink. It adds ambience. And on the obligitory boasting front we have: "Draught style head", "Gourmet" "Hand finished with only the highest quality ingredients, including sassafras, honey and vanilla" aaaand I can't say I'm entirely derisive. This soda may not be as strong as the Real Brew, but there's more to taste. A slight tingle on the tongue, a strong undertone and aftertaste of honey, a thick, herbal construction... I heartily recommend it. Unfortunately, it seems a little harder to find. (My mother and sister picked up a couple of bottles from a place called The Carrot, which, in the slurry of artsy and fartsy "grassroot" cafés may in fact be the artsiest and most fartsy). If your come across it, pick up a bottle!