I was in Chicago for the IEEE T&D Conference and Expo and needed to find some new root beer. Since Chicago probably has more brands of gourmet root beer coming out of it than any other city I can think of, I was sure there had to be at least something. I was looking for 1919 but I couldn’t seem to find anyplace close by. I asked the hotel concierge and he began to search after learning that Goose Island was something I could get bottled. He searched and called places and finally found Eleven City Diner, which is one of their recommended spots anyways and found that they had not one, but two house root beers, a classic and a blonde. I immediately set on foot to get my root beer. And it started to snow, and I was only wearing a very flimsy jacket because it had been sunny and warm in Seattle the day I left. Soon it was snowing and blowing and I still had 15 minutes to walk. But root beer is worth the pain. Eleven City Diner itself is an old Jewish Deli that specializes in cured meats – corned beef and pastrami. They barrel age their root beer extracts and use real cane sugar and Madagascar vanilla. They have an awesome root beer soda mixer/dispenser that’s ice cube chilled and dispenses both flavors. I decided to start with the classic.
This has a medium strength, standard creamy root beer Body. It’s got a very nice flavor but it needs a little more of it. The Bite is a little spicy and bubbly. The Head is medium-tall and foamy. The Aftertaste is a nice vanilla and caramelized cane sugar flavor that lasts not quite enough.
This is a solid brew that just needs to be a little stronger. Not sweeter, just stronger. It’s still plenty good to go with the meal, especially since it’s a bottomless mug. I give it a solid 3.5 kegs. For dinner I had their open faced Rubin’s Reuben that has both corned been and pastrami. It was amazing. I couldn’t wait to come back and try the blonde root beer. Stay tuned for that review next week.