Aug 172016
 

A pint of Great Basin Brewing Company Root Beer Tesla Gigafactory Road Trip Brew number two. This one was in Reno. On the first night after the TMC Connect welcome reception. I had checked to see if there were any local breweries and found that the Great Basin Brewing Company was only a 15 minute walk from the conference center. So I asked some of my friends if they wanted to walk down with me and got a merry crew of three other Tesla enthusiasts. Along the way we caught Pokémon because they play as well as me and I can’t miss an opportunity to catch more. Plus Nevada is all desert and so lots of rock and fire type spawn there whereas in the rainy, river filled Seattle area I mostly catch water type. The brewery itself was a gym so my friends and I, who are on different teams, battled unceasingly over it until the root beer arrived. And since you care more about root beer than my Pokémon adventures, I’ll get on that part of the post.

The Body features a strong wintergreen flavor with cloves and a decent amount sassafras, yet it feels that there’s something missing. There’s a sharp Bite with the spices present. The Head is excellent, though it fizzes away just a little faster than I’d like. The Aftertaste is wintergreen that ends a little bitter.

This is okay. I’ve had better but had much worse. It reminds me of that Designation Root Beer but with a much, much better Head. So I’d drink it again. I have no idea how the food is at this place, since I’d just come from a fully catered reception, I wasn’t hungry at all, but I’m sure it is good.

Three kegs




Aug 102016
 

A glass of Portland Soda Works Root BeerSeal of Approval Two weeks ago I embarked on an awesome road trip to TMC Connect and the Tesla Gigafactory Grand Opening party. My friend from Vancouver and I carpooled as usual but now he has a Model S P90D instead of that Model S 60 he used to. Since it was a road trip I quickly looked over the route to find any root beers that would need to be tested. The first was one I’d known about for awhile, the Portland Soda Works. They have a very awesome story about their creation. The condensed version is they started their company to provide high quality alternatives for those who enjoy eating at restaurants but don’t drink alcohol, something I can totally get behind. I can’t stand how we straight-edge folks get left out. They also wanted to make their sodas from whole ingredients, if they can’t get the the roots or leaves themselves, it isn’t going into their drinks. Such dedication is a rare find. Unfortunately that also means that they can’t use sassafras because of the FDA and their questionable research, so it’s a sarsaparilla base. They had actually known about me for awhile, so when I asked if I could drop by for a taste they were very accommodating. They showed me and my friend their entire operation in the old bakery in the sketchy neighborhood by the railroad tracks. They let us taste a lot of different syrups and flavors, but then it was on to business, their root beer.

The Body is very rich with sarsaparilla the dominant flavor and a complex blend of other spices and flavors including cloves, star anise, and vanilla. It’s very sweet as well. The Bite is solid and spicy but it finishes oh so smooth. The Head is tall and foamy. It lingers and tastes wonderful and silky smooth. The Aftertaste is a rich vanilla with a bit of sarsaparilla flavor.

Wow! It’s not your archetypal root beer flavor to be sure, but they still captured enough of that root beeriness to to have it fall on the side of the root beer line. I’ve had some mixed experience with those all natural sarsaparilla based brews before, but none of them have pulled it off like these guys. I am proud to give this my Seal of Approval!

4 kegs


Their syrups and some flavor experimentation

Their syrups and some flavor experimentation.

The building that houses the Portland Soda Works and other businesses

The building that houses the Portland Soda Works and other businesses.




Aug 032016
 

Rock Island Brewing Company Pumpkin Spiced Root Beer Bottle Every year at the start of October, all of the coffee shops, chocolatiers, perfumiers, butchers, bakers, candlestick makers, and pretty much everyone else gets out their pumpkins and their spices and unleash a flood of harvest/Halloween/Thanksgiving food and fragrance upon the world in the form of pumpkin spiced lattes, hot chocolates, regular chocolates, candles, incense, Jell-O?, Pringles, Pop Tarts, and probably every food product imaginable. This continues until December when they swap out the pumpkin for eggnog and continue until the New Year. These products have varied levels of grossness with a few actually tasting good, though those are the exceptions and not the rules. Into this fray stepped the expert brewers from Rock Island Brewing Company (who’s rocking abilities cannot be overstated) and decided that a glaring hole in this onslaught of pumpkin spiced everything was root beer and they were gonna solve it. I wasn’t sure if I was excited to try it or not. On the one hand, Rock Island Brewing Company, on the other hand pumpkin spiced Jell-O…

The Body is spicy, very spicy. It’s thick and rich as well with some vanilla and pumpkin syrup flavors featuring prominently. The Bite is sharp and intense from all of that spice. I think I’m getting cinnamon, allspice, and clove; maybe others too. It really burns in a way that puts hair on your chest. The Head is okay. It’s medium-short with large bubbles but it sticks around for a bit. The Aftertaste is a honey pumpkin flavor that finishes with clove bits.

So they surely got that spiced part right. That this isn’t awful is a testament to the skill of the brewmasters. Not only that, if you are a spice addicted Bite lover, this could be one of your favorite brews. As for me, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. After much deliberation as I drank my two bottles … I would drink this again. During that “special” time of the year. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three kegs