This brew is a long time in the making. I’ve known of the existence of this company for a long time, promising to take root beer crafting to the next level, the level reserved for fine wines, whiskeys, and balsamic vinegar, ageing it in oak barrels, but they were never quite ready to release it. Now, finally, after a much longer wait than the required aging process, the product is ready and has been released this year. The root beer ingredients, before adding sugar, are all barrel aged for a year. There’s something about just the concept of barrel aging that has me excited, like root beer is getting taken to the next level, getting the respect it finally deserves. This company is from Chicago and makes this root beer as well as a barrel aged blonde root beer (review next week). A phone conversation with the owner some years ago revealed that he also works with the Eleven City Diner to supply their root beers, though it’s not the exact same recipes. I know of exactly one other barrel aged root beer, Weber’s, though they use birch barrels and don’t say how long they are aged. Needless to say I was excited beyond measure to try this brew.
The Body is complex and spicy with a unique, woody type favor that is no doubt the result of the barrel aging process. Yet, it’s also a little light in depth, needing just a bit more of that flavor to really shine. The Bite is sharp and spicy with lots of spices and fizz. The Head is tall and beautiful as it should be. The Aftertaste is light. That same mature, woody flavor but gone far too quickly.
This is unique, and good, but not quite all there. I like the flavors that are developed as a result of the barrel aging process, but it needs a little more oomph in there to really seal the deal. Some more vanilla or something. See how it rates against other root beers.