Here's Thompson on the root beer at the Westport brewpub:
When McCoy's was opening, owner Mark Kelpe wanted to do a different draft root beer than the one at 75th Street. He's from Cape Girardeau, so he took me to get a big foam mug of root beer from A&W at a little stand out by the interstate. It was out by 91st and I-435. It was the only place that had it on tap around here. He said, 'Try this. This is what I want.' It had this big vanilla flavor; it was almost like cream soda.
And so we looked for those cream-soda flavors with the bite of root beer. For a long time, we had an awesome connection for pure Mexican vanilla. We also use good sugar, brown sugar and cane sugar that we boil into a simple syrup. There's birch bark and sarsaparilla — all these botanicals and extracts to balance. We also did a fresh version of ginger ale, like Blenheim's. That's something I'd like to try again, maybe with our Moscow Mule.