Float Your Root Beer
5 top spots in Austin to get a retro root beer float
National Root Beer Float Day is August 6, but we don't need some silly declaration to appreciate the retro dessert. Looking for a place to pick up the beloved novelty? Here are five places in Austin that do stellar interpretations of this American ice cream classic.
Flat Top Burger Shop
Flat Top's Black Cow root beer float is made with Texas-churned Blue Bell French vanilla ice cream, Black Cow root beer, a dollop of whipped cream and a preserved red cherry. Manager Neil Rubenstein uses Blue Bell ice cream as the base because of its rich custard flavor.
To revive the vintage roots of the famous treat, Rubenstein began researching and discovered that gold miner Frank Wisner made the very first root beer float with Black Cow root beer and from-scratch ice cream in 1893.
"Root Beer floats are a quintessential summer staple, and there is no better way to keep your beverage cold during these hot Texas summers than to throw some ice cream in the mix," he says. $3.99
Cow Tipping Creamery
Made with Maine root beer and in-house soft serve, Cow Tipping Creamery features a unique twist on this sweet classic. The dairy used in the float is organic and sourced from non-HMO, grass-fed cows and comes in either Madagascar or Tahitian vanilla flavors.
To top off the unconventional interpretation, the creamery plops a dollop of nondairy pineapple whipped cream on top. $2.99
Nau's Enfield Drug
If you like a standard root beer float, you'll love the version at Nau's Enfield Drug. Using a tall, footed ice cream glass, the shop mixes fountain root beer, generous scoops of Blue Bell homemade vanilla, canned whipped cream and a bright red maraschino cherry. If root beer isn't your thing, you can opt for Dr Pepper or Coke instead. $4
Root beer floats aren't on the permanent menu at this Austin burger joint, but P. Terry's owner Patrick Terry says diners can always request one at any location. Those who crave a near copycat of this dessert often order P. Terry's root beer shake, made with vanilla ice cream and Maine root beer syrup.
"We originally offered the root beer shake for a limited time, but the overwhelming response when we ended the promotion was so strong that we kept it on the menu permanently," Terry says. The 16 oz. shake sells for $2.
This Rainey Street spot is known for sausages and beers, but what Austinites may not know is that Banger's features a delicious float among its dessert offerings. Using root beer on tap and Blue Bell ice cream, the bar crafts a fizzy, sweet version of this famous treat. $5.50