May 202015

Hot Rod Magazine Root Beer BottleSeal of ApprovalShortly after I began reviewing root beers my good friend found me this in Seattle. If you can’t tell the picture is of some sort of car completely consumed in flames. Above it reads “Something to drink when you’re hot” and below the destruction it reads “we’re sure he’s dead anyone got a root beer?” in two different fonts. This is both awesome and confusing but since I was but a mere teenager at the time, it was overwhelmingly awesome. It was also a limited edition root beer made for Hot Rod Magazine. The back side of the label says you can win a free year’s subscription if you send them a picture of something with wheels. There’s no expiration date on that. I wonder if I can still win 17 years later? For some odd reason this is only 11 ounces instead of the normal 12. If any root beer seems to be a mere private label in disguise, this fits the bill, however, I can find no other root beer that matches the same ingredients in my collection. The closest is Jack Black’s Dead Red, which has all of the same ingredients listed other than the sweetener, Jack Black’s uses cane sugar while this uses HFCS. Then there’s that whole “Natural and Artificial Flavors” that could be completely different. This is bottled by Generation Foods who also makes the Skeleteens line so it is probably just a variation of the Jack Black’s recipe. Yet it does have different ingredients and a different name so it is a unique root beer on its own.

This is one of those root beers with a nice sweet smooth Body. The Head is lacking but it doesn’t go flat. The Aftertaste is adequate. The Bite is wonderful with Brazilian Guarana. The worst part is that it is caffeinated but it does add to the Bite.

I like it. I really do. I like Jack Black’s as well, but this one is better, smoother, sweeter. The Head is a drawback, it it is much better than the two second Head. This was one of the first Seal of Approval’s I gave, though I haven’t seen this in years. It’s a shame. It’s the only guarana energy type root beer that’s worth drinking on a regular basis. See how it rates against other root beers.

4 kegs

May 132015

Cold Spring Premium Root Beer Bottle Another one which I received in trade from the great root beer collector Jon. It also seems that this has been discontinued so he gave me one of the world’s last. Truly I must sing his praises. Okay, here goes … ♫♪ Oh Jon, oh Jon, oh great and glorious Jooooooon! ♫♪ … Alright, now that’s over with, on to this Cold Spring. It’s a brewery, you know, with a storied past. There’s a spring there and they use the water to make beer. And root beer, or they did at least. It’s been around for 125+ years so they’ve probably made root beer several times in their “storied” history. Springs seem to been another reoccurring theme with breweries. It makes sense, you kind of need a source of water. They took a Spartan approach to their bottle. A simple circle with the name and the flavor. Some small text above. Who needs anything else? Well most other brands do, that’s who, but not Cold Spring they are so above that, or they were when they were making this at least.

The Body isn’t super sweet and has a nice creamy vanilla flavor to it but it’s light on the other root beer flavors. There’s also something slightly off in the flavors that I can’t place. There really isn’t a lot of Bite to this one, it’s nice and smooth. The Head is medium-tall and lasts a good long while. The Aftertaste is creamy vanilla.

This is pretty decent but not all there. It’s almost more cream soda than root beer, which I don’t mind terribly but I prefer it reversed. Still, I miss this already, even though we just met. Not in a sobbing and crying way, but still. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three and a half kegs

May 092015

A pint of Dry Dock Brewing Company Root BeerStill in Denver, though fleeing from the land of exorbitant parking fees, I went to a microbrewery I knew was closed yet knew they had their own root beer. They had a parking lot! Since I had an hour before they opened, I wondered if I could find something else that was open right away. My search led me to Dry Dock Brewing Company, out in Aurora, a 20 minute drive from where I was. Parking there was also not a problem (I asked on the phone before I made the trek). Coming from the West Coast, I find a lot of nautical themed breweries. I didn’t expect there to be one in Colorado, because, you know, there’s not really any major lakes or oceans or even navigable rivers. Knowing this inconsistency, they went with Dry Dock, nautically themed sans water.

The Body is mild and creamy with vanilla undertones and notes of wintergreen. The Bite is pretty mild but there is little spice if you really look. The Head is non-existent, unfortunately. The Aftertaste is a mild minty vanilla that is rather pleasant.

This brau is much better than that Wyncoop swill. Nothing spectacular, but something good enough to drink with a meal. I would have liked to even stay for a meal, but they didn’t actually have any food at this brewery. They did have a book of restaurants that would deliver, but I would have rather written about the food made at the brewery itself. It makes me feel kind of like Guy Fieri when I do that, going to these breweries and root beer stands, trying their root beers and their signature dishes. But since I couldn’t do that here, I took to the airport early to chill in the United Lounge, and who should I find next to me at the buffet line, but Guy Fieri himself. Before I could make any small talk someone else asked him for a picture/autograph so I figured I’d leave him alone with the exception of a shout out when he was leaving the lounge to catch his flight. In summary, lots of breweries in Denver, and this one is decent.

Three kegs

Dry Dock Brewing Company

The Dry Dock Brewing Company looking like a dock without water.

The Dry Dock Brewing Company Taps. The root beer is the sad one without a pretty label.

The Dry Dock Brewing Company Taps. The root beer is the sad one without a pretty label.

Dry Dock Brewing Company Brew Vats

I always love a brewery where you can see the brew vats from the bar.