photo above - Part of the interior of XXX Root Beer Drive-in.In my last post I told you about how John's old school chum, Ken, spent the day with us and how we toured some of their old stomping grounds. Today I'm continuing with this saga but felt it deserves its own separate post.
After spending a good portion of the afternoon driving up and down little roads that led into lakeside neighborhoods we headed back towards town. Suddenly Ken was struck by an idea.
"Do you like root beer?" He asked, with an obvious motive in mind.
I nodded affirmatively while John was slightly less enthusiastic. "Well, I like an A&W float every now and then."
"I'm not a big fan of A&W " Ken went on " To me it has a sharp flavor. The best root beer, bar none, is triple X. I find it has a smooth, creamy taste. Whenever I'm in Issaquah I always have to stop by the triple X to get my Root Beer fix."
Like me, John had never heard of triple X Root Beer, but Ken was quick to fill us in on all the pertinent facts.
photo above - It was a busy place, granted there are many empty booths but the majority of the customers were outside having their gigantic burgers and frosty mugs of famous XXX Root Beer "al fresco" on the outdoor patio. I found it difficult to get a clean shot of the interior without someone walking by - here I caught the flying hair of a hurried waitress. Must admit she has lovely locks - long and shiny.
XXX Root Beer's history is long, dating back to 1895, it's long but it's an interesting history; the following is my synopsis .
Basically XXX began as a beer brewery but diversified into soft drinks. With the onset of prohibition, XXX Brewery switched over from beer production to solely producing its line of soft drink. There was a period of rapid growth and popularity and XXX Root Beer Drive-Ins were quickly spread across the continent. But as fast food establishments emerged they began nudging out the smaller local drive-ins and diners, XXX began to experience a decline in its number of locations.
photo above - As is apparent, the interior of XXX is chock full of vintage memorabilia and tons of retro pieces.
In 1960 it was suspected that Sassafras, an ingredient used in the making of a number of soda fountain drinks, was a carcinogen, therefore the government banned its use in all food and drinks. Companies were given a one year "grace period" in which to convert over to safer ingredients. It took time but eventually "flavor chemists" were able to find safe alternatives that would keep XXX Root Beer's historic creamy flavor along with the frothy head that draft root beer is noted for.
Photos above and below - More of XXX's interior. One could spend days looking through the place and never see everything that's on display there. It was truly overwhelming.
In summation, the fast food chains pretty much took over and now there are but 2 of the old, original XXX Root Beer drive ins left in existence; one in Issaquah Washington and the other in Lafayette , Indiana. These 2 drive ins still use the same creamy tasting, root beer syrup to make their draft Root Beer.
Photo above - Fantastic vintage jukebox. You don't see many like these anymore, especially ones that play the old 45's.
If you'd like to read a more in-depth history of XXX it can be found HERE
Photo above - One enormous gum ball machine.
Photo below - I had my hubby stand next to it to give a perspective of its size. Yep, it's one really big dispenser.
As a side note, the Issaquah XXX Root Beer Drive-In is also well known for its summer car shows as their website can attest to: