Vintage soft drinks have returned, while new labels have emerged recently. Together, they're giving the standard soda giants a run for your money at local grocery stores. To make sense of the soda shelves, I tried root beers from four of the best brands. Here's what I found.

Vintage soft drinks have returned, while new labels have emerged recently. Together, they're giving the standard soda giants a run for your money at local grocery stores. To make sense of the soda shelves, I tried root beers from four of the best brands. Here's what I found.

Boylan Bottling Co.

Price: $3.99 for a four-pack

boylanbottling.com

In short: This traditional recipe goes easy on the vanilla and is strong with vintage, rock-candy character. It feels thinner than creamy, modern root beer and finishes without a hint of syrup.

Kicker: Boylan has been bottling since 1891.

Best for: Anyone after a dime-store sugar kick

Gale's Root Beer

Price: $1.19 for a 12-ounce bottle

galegand.com

In short: A strong cinnamon smell sets apart this craft pop immediately, and it's followed by a spicy, gingery flavor that's unlike any root beer you've ever had.

Kicker: It's made by acclaimed pastry chef Gale Gand.

Best for: Drinking alongside a slice of pumpkin pie

Sioux City

Price: $3.89 for a four-pack

whiterockbeverages.com

In short: The makers of a fantastic sarsaparilla have produced a clean, perfectly sweetened beverage with a quaint root bite.

Kicker: Bottles come with an old-timey sheriff on the label

Best for: Floats; any party where you plan to have more than one root beer

Goose Island

Price: $4.59 for a four-pack

gooseisland.com

In short: Vanilla and wintergreen whiffs come off the top, and a subtle, minty finish says goodbye when you swallow. In between stands a classic yet refreshing drink

Kicker: Made by the famous Chicago craft brewery behind 312 Urban Wheat Ale

Best for: After-dinner enjoyment for anyone who has to drive