Feb 122014

A Mug of Schilo's Root BeerSeal of ApprovalA few weeks ago I was down in San Antonio for DistribuTECH where I was making a presentation on Cold Load Pickup. My usual Google search of “root beer ” turned up Schilo’s Delicatessen which boasts their own homemade root beer, and it was only two blocks away from my hotel. My first afternoon in San Antonio found me at Schilo’s for lunch and brew. The deli itself is about 100 years old and has been in its current location for around 70. It was started by a German family and is still run by a German family, though not the same one. The root beer was introduced during prohibition and they’ve kept the same original recipe ever since. They make it fresh every day in kegs, which are they then tap out from underneath a sweet wooden barrel arrangement.

The Body is sweet and rich and caramely. There’s tons of creamy vanilla complementing a spicy sassafras flavor. So, so good. The Bite is nearly perfect with loads of spice and the right amount of carbonation. It finishes very smooth. The Head is nice and foamy, though it could be a little taller and foamier. It’s good enough, but not quite perfect like the rest. The Aftertaste is lovely spiced vanilla.

Wow, wow, WOW! Every few years a root beer comes along that totally blows me away and this is one of them. I went back every day to get a mug and a free refill. The more I had, the more I loved it. It’s so rich and creamy and delicious. If the Head had been perfect, this would be a 5, but it was just slightly less than, so it only gets a 4.5. I’d say this is one of the top 5 brews I’ve ever had. It’s definitely worth making a trip to San Antonio for. It’s a shame they don’t bottle it. They said they were working on it, but since they use egg whites as a foaming agent (original recipe), they can’t let it get room temperature. That’s a shame, but I’d rather they stay true to that amazing recipe. Their food is delicious as well. My lunch was Wienerschnitzel with a side of the best split pea soup I’ve ever had. There’s a reason this place has stayed strong for over 70 years.

4.5 Kegs

My lunch at Schilo's

My lunch at Schilo’s

The root beer barrel on top of the keg with a pitcher of root beer getting a refill.

The root beer barrel on top of the keg with a pitcher of root beer getting a refill.

The San Antonio River Walk. Schilo's is just above the River Walk, though not at this particular spot.

The San Antonio River Walk. Schilo’s is just above the River Walk, though not at this particular spot.

  One Response to “Schilo’s Root Beer”

  1. As a native Tulsan I fully agree with your review of Weber’s Superior Root Beer. If you are ever in Tulsa you need to taste their fresh on tap and try another Tulsa tradition, Brownies Hamburgers and Root Beer. They only serve on tap and 1/2 gallon and gallon growlers. It is not as complex as Weber’s but has a nice head when fresh and they do not spare on the vanilla (which I love).

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