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Day 133: Root Beer Making


Got Root Beer Pasadena?

Root Beer PasadenaViews

Day 133 of 365 things to do in Pasadena gets us geared toward OktoberFest celebrations, while making our very own batch of root beer!

Now we know when we say “root beer”  the name  either brings up a love or despise kind of feeling for the old time drink. Maybe if you tasted some home-made root beer you might just find it delightful.

After all who can resist the opportunity to make a Root Beer Float! =)

The Root Beer Making Event takes place Saturday, September 25th at The LA County Arboretum from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Cost is $12 per family for Members and $14 per family for Non-members. For additional information please call 626.821.3222.

You’ll learn the science behind root beer as you make your own batch to take home!

Interested in a little Root Beer History? There are varying theories about who invented root beer and how it came to be.


There are early historical documents in which Shakespeare is noted to have drank “small beers.” This European brew, actually made from an early colonial American recipe, contained 2-12-percent alcohol, and was considered a light, social drink made from herbs, berries and bark. During American Colonial times, root beer was introduced along with other beverages like Birch Beer, Sarsparilla Beer, and Ginger Beer. Only root beer would emerge as a longtime favorite. There are even historical documents which show 18th century farm owners brewing an alcoholic version of root beer in backyard stills for family get-togethers, social events, and parties.


Most historians believe that the invention of an actual root beer recipe happened by pure accident, thanks in part to an inventive pharmacist, eager to create a miracle drug. Though people had been drinking an herbal home brewed variety for years, root beer was still just an experiment for the creative and inventive. In 1870, an unknown pharmacist toying with a handful of roots, berries and herbs, came up with a recipe for root beer which consisted of juniper, wintergreen, spikenard, pipsissewa, sarsaparilla, vanilla beans, hops, dog grass, birch bark and licorice. The original drink was quite medicinal in nature, tasting both bitter and sweet. Even though the pharmacist offered the drink to the public as a cure-all, it was never marketed or well-received.


Meanwhile, Charles Hires, also a pharmacist, was on his honeymoon around the same time when he discovered an herbal tea he simply could not part with. After taking the recipe of herbs, berries and roots home to Philadelphia with him, he began selling a packaged dry mixture to the public made from many of the same ingredients as the original herbal tea. Well received, Hires soon developed a liquid concentrate blended together from more than 25 herbs, berries and roots. The public loved the new drink and as a result, Hires introduced commercial root beer to the public in 1876 at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition. In no time, it became a popular drink of its day. By 1893, the Hires family sold bottled versions of their well-known brew, sealing their place in root beer history!

Do you have a fun root beer story you would like to share with us? We hope that you and your loved ones enjoy a visit the LA County Arboretum in Arcadia and take part in the opportunity to make a batch of this classic drink.

Be sure to let us know how it turns out!

Visit 365 Things To Do In Pasadena®  for more fun activities in Pasadena California and surrounding neighborhoods.

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