The Magic Behind Real-Life Butterbeer

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The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal’s Islands of Adventure just sold its millionth butterbeer, which creates a nice segue into two burning questions about the Hogsmeade brew of choice: Does it contain butter? Does it contain beer?

No on both counts.

Having a son who’s ragingly allergic to dairy, I shook down several WWoHP staffers on several different occasions about the dairy content, and they all professed that the potion was dairy-free. We ordered ours – one frozen, one regular – but I got a little concerned when the butterbeer slingers (the patient souls seen in the clip above) topped the concoction with a creamy foam. They assured me that the foam was also dairy-free, and judging by the fact that we didn’t wind up in the Wizarding Emergency Room for a magical encounter with the Epi-Pen, they were right.

On to more fun topics: What does butterbeer taste like? Not beery at all, but more like a sophisticated take on cream soda. Butterscotch can be oversweet and cloying, but butterbeer is not. I’d recommend trying both the frozen and the regular kind, as they taste a bit different. If it’s early in the day, though, pass on the souvenir mug, as it’s a drag to carry it around all day.

Another wizarding potable worth trying is Pumpkin Juice: It’s for sale in souvenir bottles the shops of Hogsmeade as well as in cups the The Three Broomsticks and the Hog’s Head pub, where–in case you were disappointed at the non-alcoholic nature of butterbeer–you’ll also find Potter-inspired cocktails, beer and wine. In the books, pumpkin juice never sounded all that appealing to me, but Universal’s version is a treat: made of apple juice with pumpkin and apricot puree and spices reminiscent of pumpkin pie, it’s refreshing and less soda-sweet than butterbeer.

Stay tuned for a look at the shops and attractions of Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. More questions about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter? Post them in our forum, and if I don’t have the answers, I’ll find ’em.

And be sure to check out Matt Blum’s review of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter over at GeekDad!

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7 thoughts on “The Magic Behind Real-Life Butterbeer

  1. my two young sons, 8 and 10, are both asking me if we can go to this park at sometime in the near future. Being in Canada it represents a major expense (upwards of $5000 for a week) and I’m thinking maybe we could make a 7-10 day adventure of this and Disney and Universal Studios. I’m just wondering if the park is worth the investment on it’s own or if it would be better as only a portion of the trip.

    1. Wirehedd, the answer to your question hinges on this: Do your sons like roller coasters? That will help me fill you in on an optimal plan for your trip.

  2. though if you think cream soda is overly sweet and thus disgusting, be forwarned that butterbeer has the same problem… though granted the non-foam part was a bit more palatable – I’d ask for one with no foam if I ever go back and want to try it again…

    (Funny story – there was a woman in line who got mad about it not being alcoholic – she said she’d read that they “took it out but had put it back in” – to which I wanted to scream, “have you read the books? duh! its not going to be alcoholic!” besides – they weren’t more than 30 feet from the Hogs Head Pub, go get yourself a drink if you’re that desperate, don’t get all irate that butterbeer doesn’t include alcohol!)

  3. Jenny,

    Thanks for the run-down on the Butter Beer and pumpkin juice at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Our son also deals with dairy allergies and we never take a chance on something if we don’t know for sure. So, when we get to the park, we’ll take your advice and order the frozen Butter Beer in the keepsake mug at the end of the day!

  4. Thank you! No allergies, but we’re all lactose intolerant and butter would be a problem. We are here now–it’s warm, and we will be off to get some butterbeer, thanks to your post!!

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