Dec 042019
 

Rocket Fizz Root Beer with Nutmeg Bottle So Rocket Fizz is at it again. Not to be content with having essentially cornered the market on celebrity root beer (the uniqueness of each is growing increasingly dubious), they’ve taken to copying other “premium” root beers that are out there. Like how they copied the Indian Wells Special Reserve with their Gold Mine. So now they look to copy Virgil’s Special Edition Bavarian Nutmeg, spring top bottle and all, with their own root beer … with nutmeg … And that’s what they called it. Root Beer with Nutmeg. Not sure why they couldn’t come up with anything else. I mean, why not reach out to some other region of some other country completely unaffiliated with root beer and add nutmeg. Like Rocket Fizz Limited Edition Dublin Nutmeg Root Beer. Cause the Irish in Dublin are just as knowledgeable about root beer as the Bavarians. Anyhow, while they could copy the waxed cap of the Indian Wells, they seem unable to bottle a spring top bottle on their line, leading to the bizarre spring top bottle that’s just capped with a regular cap. So that spring cap is there to just, reseal it after drinking half, a pint? It’s only a pint. We can drink a pint. Plus the gasket is probably all dirty from being out in the open air. I honestly don’t think Rocket Fizz thought this thing through well enough before they launched production. But the taste?

The Body has nutmeg! This is without question. It just blasts in your face. But nutmeg is good so this isn’t a bad thing. There’s also a sweet sarsaparilla flavor with some wintergreen and other spices. Maybe a tad of vanilla? There’s a lot happening here and the balance is a little off. The Bite is undoubtedly very spicy from the aforementioned nutmeg, and the other spices, and the carbonation level is good. The Head is magnificent. The Aftertaste is some wintergreen and nutmeg that turns bitter and herbal.

It’s not quite proportioned well for me. Like the name and the bottle, it seems they rushed the recipe. I guess they didn’t want to miss the bandwagon for the whole special nutmeg root beer that’s existed for the past 20 years … It isn’t bad though, so there’s that. I appreciate what you’re doing Rocket Fizz, giving me more stuff to review and all, but maybe slow down, make a plan, get a good brew, and then launch your product. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three kegs




Nov 272019
 

HR Popping Snacks Root Beer Float Popcorn Another find at the Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store. HR Poppin’ Snacks is a family owned and operated business from Nebraska, which makes sense cause they’re Cornhuskers down there. All they make is flavored pop corns which is distributed throughout a several state radius. They make both a root beer and a root beer float pop corn, which makes sense as their root beer float has a mix of root beer and vanilla kernels so why wouldn’t they sell a root beer, vanilla, and root beer float. Nevertheless, despite being Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store, it only had the root beer float variety leaving me to mourn as I type this, realizing there was something else I could have purchased. I’ve only had one other root beer float pop corn before, yet it was very good so the bar is set high.

The root beer flavor is subtle and spicy with a noticible wintergreen flavor. The vanilla flavor is very sweet but not a lot of vanilla. Together it sort of resembles a root beer float, but not really. It’s sweet and salty crunchy, but lacking in its root beer and floatiness.

Yeah, this rather falls flat. It’s not particularly bad, but not really good. I’d pass on this and get the Sprecher one any day if the choice were available, and if not, I’d just pass on this all together. Their other flavors are probably better, but don’t waste your time on this stuff.




Nov 202019
 

GrowlerWerks uKeg

You may not know this, but I’ve dabbled quite a bit with home root beer brewing. I mean, you should know it, in as much as I’ve blogged my adventures of it. To summarize though, the biggest issue with making Seal of Approval quality brew was getting good carbonation. I had tried three main methods; Yeast, dry ice, and just using carbonated water. All had their drawbacks. Yeast you have to be careful with so it doesn’t over carbonated, explode, or generally make the root beer taste yeasty. Even in the best case scenarios, it makes the root beer taste a little yeasty. Dry ice is really cool for parties, but it’s hard to get a good carbonation from it. Trying to pressurize with dry ice also results is explosions. The best I could find was using carbonated water. This works decent, though the carbonation just isn’t quite there. But it had been my go to for awhile, and I had two nice 1.5 gallon ice tea dispensers that I’d use for root beer parties. But I’d always wished for a keg. The problem was, kegs are really expensive and a real pain to use in a home kitchen setting. Then one fateful day, a coworker told me about the GrowlerWerks uKeg.

The uKeg is a pressurized growler that’s intended to make people’s beer taste tap fresh for up to two weeks. It’s essentially a mini-keg system that’s easy to use, clean, transport, and finally let me get the perfect root beer I’d been searching for. Let me walk you through how it works. It has a pressure regulating cap that is charged with a standard food grade 16g CO2 cartridge. After filling the uKeg with liquid, you adjust the regulator until you get the desired pressure, displayed on a convenient gauge, and then you’re set. There’s a goose-neck tap to dispense your bubbly brew in the most satisfying way possible. Additionally, it’s vacuum insulated so you can keep it cold for nearly 8 hours outside of the fridge (I have verified this). And it’s small enough that it easily fits inside most fridge door milk shelves.

I immediately knew that this was at last the product I was searching for. While the instructions don’t really address homemade root beer, after extensive research I can share how this is easily done. There are really two ways to try and carbonate your root beer in the uKeg, full forced carbonation or starting with carbonated water and letting the uKeg finish it. I recommend the latter, as getting a good root beer fizz takes about 2 weeks and three CO2 canisters, whereas starting with carbonated water takes only 1 CO2 cartridge and 3 liters of carbonated water. You could even do 2 liters of carbonated water and 1 liter of regular water as long as you let it sit as least three days before serving. I’ve developed a nice base recipe that you can use to get started.

The basic idea is to make your own root beer syrup and then gently pour the syrup and the carbonated water into the uKeg after charging the cap. After it’s sealed set the pressure to 15 psi then swish the uKeg around to stir the mixture. Shaking is bad as it can get root beer into the regulator values and mess them up. Then just let it settle for awhile and you’re good to go. I recommend making it at least a day before you want to serve so it can fully settle. I also recommend making the syrup and chilling it and the carbonated water the night before, as the colder the ingredients when you mix them, the less CO2 will be lost.

So if you love making homemade root beer, you need to buy a uKeg. If you know someone who loves making root beer, it’s the perfect Christmas gift and just the right time to order for the holidays. Feel free to ask me any questions about additional root beer making tips and happy root beer brewing. I’ve been hosting root beer parties at home and at work this past year and it’s been a real hit. I’ll post new recipes from different extract brands from time to time.

Eric’s uKeg Root Beer Recipe

    Syrup

  • 1 1/2 Cups White Sugar
  • 3/4 Cups Honey
  • 1 1/2 Cups Water
  • 3 Tsp McCormick Root Beer Concentrate
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/8 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/8 Tsp Ginger
    Method

  1. Mix sugar and honey in a pot with water
  2. Bring to a boil
  3. Add root beer concentrate, vanilla, and spices
  4. Simmer for 15 minutes
  5. Chill
  6. Mix with 3 liters of chilled seltzer water in a uKeg
  7. Let sit for at least 12 hours to settle