Feb 142018

Bandit Root Beer BottleBandit Beverages is a soda pop company in Northern Utah. They are focused on old fashioned soda flavors, especially IronPort. IronPort is a soda you can find in Utah, but mostly in soda fountains. They claim to be the only ones who sell bottled IronPort but I swear I’ve seen it bottled somewhere else. And yet, as I search the web (at the time of this writing) I can only find it at Bandit. But I don’t review IronPort so I don’t care that much. I do care about root beer, and no purveyor of old fashioned sodas would be complete if they didn’t have root beer, which Bandit does. They have six other flavors as well. I don’t know why they like bandits so much, but they do. Their tag lines are “Live your life on the run.” and “Drink like a bandit” They even say their website is run by “Bandit Beverage Bandits”. The label with the bull head silhouette makes me think they are going for old-timey Western six-shooter type bandits, which fits their flavor themes well.

The Body is rich and dark and spicy with vanilla and molasses flavors. There’s a lot of wintergreen as well but it’s a little bitter. The Bite is solid and spicy. Just like I like it. The Head is medium tall with average staying power. The Aftertaste is vanilla and wintergreen which is a little bitter.

Well, they nailed the classic old fashioned flavor alright. It reminds you of those old root beer barrel candies. I even gave a bottle to my parents and they thought the same. Overall it’ pretty good, yet a little too dark and bitter for my tastes. Would make a mean float, that’s for sure. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three and a half kegs

Feb 072018

A pint of The Granary Root BeerSo two weeks ago I was down in San Antonio for DistribuTECH 2018! And yes, that means I flew out just a few days after getting back from Chicago. I’m movin’ these days. That’s for sure. Devoted followers will remember that San Antonio is home to one of the best brews I know of, Schilo’s, so I was pleased with the knowledge that even if I didn’t get anything new, I was going to be getting something amazing. Nevertheless, when I hit the ground I started my searching and discovered The Granary ‘Cue and Brew, a brewery that does barbecue and makes their own root beer. So on my second night, after a wonderful team dinner at some Tex Mex (a must in San Antonio) I went a questing for my brew. I invited many of my colleagues but they all declined. Their loss, in my opinion, for delicious brews awaited! The Granary evidently has really delicious barbecue, but I had no appetite to try after dinner, just ordered my pint and got to reviewing.

The Body is sour and herbal with sweetness and strangeness. It doesn’t taste like a root beer at all. Also the strange flavor mixture isn’t good. The Bite is sharp with spicy sourness. The Head is nice. Decent height and staying power. The Aftertaste is bizarre and bitter.

Bletch! Gross! Not root beer. At best it can kind of be described as one of those herbal tea root beers, but it’s way off and nasty. I told the bar keeper “I’ve never had a root beer like this before” to which he responded that there’s no artificial anything, just roots and sweetener. I can agree with the “just roots and sweetener” no recipe, no trying to make it taste good, no research or care, just chuck some roots in a vat, boil them, add sugar, and serve. This is without a doubt the worst root beer I’ve had in a long time. So I guess my colleagues were right to stay away. San Antonio is an amazing city in that within 2 miles of each other is one of my top five all time favorite brews and one of the bottom five worst ever.

Half a root beer keg.

The bar of The Granary 'Cue and Brew. I needed a break from choking down that swill.

The bar of The Granary ‘Cue and Brew. I needed a break from choking down that swill.

Jan 312018

Pint of Exit Strategy Brewing Company Root Beer On the last day of my Chicago trip our meetings ended early and we had a few hours so I jokingly suggested to my colleagues that we could get another root beer. They said if I could find another place we could go by, so I plowed into Google and quickly found Exit Strategy Brewing Company. It’s on the same street as Brown Cow, interestingly enough, though about eight blocks away. It was started only a couple of years ago and became the “exit strategy” of the owners who quit their “real jobs” to devote themselves to their true passion. That passion has also included their own root beer, which shows how seriously they really get behind the craft brewery movement. I mean, if you don’t have a root beer, you’re not really all in. They serve their root beers in glasses shaped like cans, which I absolutely adore. I just wish someone would take this one step further and make sealed glass cans that can open like a bottle. Take a type of root beer I won’t drink (canned), and make it proper (in glass).

The Body is sweet with caramel notes and a little vanilla. It’s on the mild side though the flavor profile is spot on. The Bite is very mild with low carbonation. Nevertheless, and notwithstanding the low carbonation, it builds a mighty Head when poured which has a decent amount of staying power. The Aftertaste is a little dark, a little vanilla, and a little gone too quickly.

Not bad at all. I wish it were a little stronger and spicier and had more carbonation lingering after the Head, but it’s still a solid brew, not a Seal, but solid. It was a shame that I didn’t have time to get a meal there, as I’m sure their food would also be on point. My biggest complaint is that their sign is a rusty metal letters against a red brick building, so it was difficult to find it while staring right at it. But if you can find it, it’s worth dropping in.

Three and a half kegs

The soda taps, they also make other flavors besides root beer.

The soda taps, they also make other flavors besides root beer.

The Exit Strategy Brewing Company vats. I wonder which one is for the root beer.

The Exit Strategy Brewing Company vats. I wonder which one is for the root beer.