Oct 262011

Sacramento is a special city to me. Both of my grandparents lived there and so we would go every summer for a week or two. After I became a root beer connoisseur, Sacramento was a place where I found many a new brew to review. The very first summer after my root beer ascension, while I was looking for root beers in the Sacramento mall near old town, I came across the River City Brewing company. They made their own root beer but only sold it on tap. It was amazing. I wished they bottled it so I could review it. They didn’t so I moved on, always remembering that amazing brew. Well when I came across this, I did a double take. Had the amazing root beer of my nascent days of a root beer aficionado finally been bottled? River City Root Beer is from Sacramento. Sadly though, it is made from different manufactures, so my dream remains yet unfulfilled. I was still excited, however, to try a brew birthed in the city of such root beer legacy. This time, I was not disappointed.

The Body is rich and creamy with traces of mint surfacing. It has a very strong and rooty flavor. The Bite is most excellent with the perfect amount of spices and carbonation. The Head is good. It builds to a very decent height and is pretty frothy. It lingers throughout the entire drinking experience, though I’ve had many that are taller and frothier. The Aftertaste is a lovely, creamy combination of vanilla and mint that sticks around about the perfect amount of time. This is an exceptional brew in all categories.

It says on the bottle that this is a brew to bring back memories of a time gone by, and I do think of glorious root beer days in Sacramento when drinking it. Underneath the cap it reads “Thanks to those who have gone before.” I must say, that this root beer, truly honors the past of great brewers while leading the way to a glorious future. See how it rates against other root beers.

Oct 242011

“G’day Mate, I ‘ear you been lookin’ for some root beer Down Under. Well Bundaberg’s all we got, it’s Australian for root beer.” I suppose that would be how the conversation would go if I went to Australia and was looking for a root beer. It has a pretty cool short bottle that is actually 0.7 fl oz larger than the standard root beer bottle. It is also brewed so that got my hopes up. On the label is says “Invert bottle before opening” I found this rather curious. I wasn’t sure if they were saying that because ingredients would settle, or if they were implying that right-side up for them down there, would be upside down for us up here which would then require us to invert the bottle before we opened it to avoid spilling it everywhere. Not to ruin my root beer though, I dutifully inverted the bottle and made sure it was then right-side up before opening. When I poured it into the glass I noticed particles in suspension. So it seems that the reason to invert it is the former and not the latter.

The Body on this is not really like anything I’ve ever tasted before. The very first drink of the bottle makes me almost gag of surprise but then it isn’t so bad. Then is a strange and complex flavor that is fruity, so much fruity. I didn’t expect that fruit flavor at all. Not really much root beer flavor, but not terrible. It is actually very sweet. The Bite is very mellow and sour. The Head is actually not bad. It builds to a medium height and has a decent amount of frothiness to it. It still fizzes away faster than it should, though. The Aftertaste is a very tart fruity flavor with the faintest trace of some creamy vanilla.

It actually isn’t bad, but it doesn’t seem to be a root beer. If you relabeled the bottle and called it something else (I’m not sure what) I am sure that it would be a quite good whatever it should be called. I suppose this is what the Aussies think root beer should taste like. It is also pretty disappointing because based on the ingredients, it should be much better than this. Intriguingly, like Mercury Root Beer, they put two kegs on the bottle. I think that this time they are spot on. See how it rates against other root beers.

Oct 222011

The bottle on this one is pretty cool. It’s got a picture of the god Mercury drinking from a mug and has root beer bubbles everywhere. I don’t really like the fact that they call it root beer soda pop, as I like to think of root beer as a premium brewed carbonated beverage and not something as low class as a soda pop. Though, Sprecher’s calls theirs root beer soda and that is amazing, while Virgil’s calls theirs premium micro brew and it is pretty bad. So I guess what you call it isn’t nearly as important as its Body, Bite, Head, and Aftertaste. This is also sold as Freaky Dog Rooff Beer, the two are exactly the same.

The Body has a strong, dark sassafras flavor with slight licorice and wintergreen bits coming through. The Bite isn’t that good. There are not really any spices though the carbonation is at the right level. The Head is short and gone fast but not one of those two second root beer Heads. The Aftertaste is heavy wintergreen with a bit of licorice that lingers too long. It’s not really bad; it’s just not really good either.

So I guess it really is more soda pop quality, though it’s flavor isn’t really what I think of when I think of soda pop root beer, as this is distinct instead of generic. I find it curious that on the side of the bottle they have a picture of two kegs. I didn’t notice that until after I had rated it. I suppose if they were looking to make two keg root beer they can take pride in knowing that they almost hit their target. See how it rates against other root beers.