Stuff like this is why we started the Hungry Dads podcast (and website). Wacky , gimmicky, odd, unproven, and unhealthy – A&W Root Beer Pop Tarts are right in our wheelhouse. This product delivers directly on its promise. It is unquestionably a Pop Tart, and it definitely tastes like root beer- or more precisely, root beer candy. So from that point of view, they get full credit for achieving their stated goal.
A&W Root Beer Pop Tarts are sweeter than most quality root beer, with an unquestionable, and legit, albeit not-intense root beer taste. Pop Tarts’ flavor chemists did a good job finding a mainstream flavor level. But the middle-of-the-road flavor intensity may be A&W Root Beer Pop Tarts’ essential failure. Root beer is a fairly divisive flavor. The only people who are going to try these with an open mind are folks who already like root beer. With that in mind, why not go all the way with a little more biting root beer kick? It’s not like Pop Tarts was going to win over root beer haters with its restraint.
The real question is probably whether or not the successful creation of a root beer flavored breakfast pastry is an achievement to be lauded or lambasted. (More simply put, is this idea gross or intriguing?) I think we can all agree that Pop Tarts are not just for breakfast. It is safe to assume that very few purchasers of A&W Root Beer Pop Tarts waited until the next morning to toast up some A&W pastries to enjoy with their morning coffee. So let’s dismiss the idea that this is a breakfast pastry. It’s a gimmick snack. Plain and simple.
When reviewed in that context, A&W Root Beer Pop Tarts are an undeniable success. They are a tasty, fun gimmick. A conversation piece. Nobody, especially the Pop Tarts people, actually believes that a flavor like this would join he pantheon of Pop Tarts’ standard flavors. It’s a great, niche, limited edition offering. And disappointingly, they didn’t go far enough. Good root beer bites back a little. A&W Root Beer Pop Tarts are the Goldilocks, not the bear.
Thanks again to Hungry Dads correspondent and root beer critic Gary Costello, for this gift-in-kind.