Jun 242015

Chowning's Tavern Root Beer BottleSeal of ApprovalI know what you’re thinking. “Eric, Chowning’s Tavern is just Dominion Root Beer with a different label.” Yes, this is true. This is just a relabled Dominion. However, way back in 1998 when I tried Dominion root beer it had significantly different ingredients. And in between then and now, they had changed their recipe as well. So this is the third iteration of Dominion and Chowning’s Tavern Root Beer where they’ve kept their name the same. It really bugs me when companies doe that since I don’t like going back and changing reviews. Therefore I’m just filing this under Chowning’s Tavern. It’s a stretch by my standards, I know, but it’s a new root beer with a “new” name. This is only served in Colonial Williamsburg Taverns. I’m not sure if the strange colonial looking man on the label is mister Chowning but he looks like a Chowning.

The Body is nice with a prominent sassafras flavor accented by honey and spice. It’s quite a standard root beer flavor, but executed superbly. The Bite is spicy and solid but it ends smooth. The Head is tall and lasts throughout the entire drinking experience. The Aftertaste is also very nice; vanilla with a hint of wintergreen.

This hits the spot. It’s not as good as the original Dominion Root Beer of yore, but it’s definitely a delicious well balanced brew in every department. I’d drink this again and again, if it were available around here. See how it rates against other root beers.

4 kegs

Jun 172015

Mendocino Taubold's Private Reserve Home Brewed Root Beer Bottle My grandmother found this for me shortly after I began collecting/reviewing root beers. She lives in Sacramento and found it while visiting Mendocino. She gave it to me when the family was down visiting. Unfortunately they insisted that I share the bottle with the rest of the family. Fortunately, this comes in a 25 ounce bottle that looks more like a wine bottle so there was plenty to go around. It’s yeast brewed but guarantees less than 0.05% alcohol by volume. It has some strange ingredients like Eugenol and Gum Tragacanth. It also has wild cherry. I’m not sure what the picture on the bottle is supposed to be, but the Taubold is some Mendocino local painter. I’m not sure of his affiliation with this root beer but maybe he helps make it or something. On the back of the bottle is a large poem about Taubold meeting John Wayne and a bet that Taubold couldn’t capture the Duke’s smile correctly in painting. The stakes were John’s ranch and the rights for Taubold’s Private Reserve, which I guess means this root beer. The story goes that Taubold succeeded, so he has John Wayne’s ranch evidently.

This is a very mild root beer. It has no real Bite to speak of and it also has a weak Body and Head. The Aftertaste is fruity.

The fruity is to be expected, what with the wild cherry. I’m not sure why everything else was so weak. I apologize for not being more descriptive of one of the most unique brews I’ve ever tried, but I was only 17 so you’ll have to forgive me. The company has since gone out of business, which is sad yet not surprising. See how it rates against other root beers.

2 out of 5 root beer kegs

Jun 102015

Wooley Bugger Root Beer Bottle This root beer comes from the Yellowstone Valley Brewing Company in Montana. For those of you who don’t know, a Woolly Bugger is a fly used in fly fishing. It’s a wet fly, which means it goes under the water as opposed to a dry fly which floats on top. I did try my hand at fly fishing for a few years so I’ve used one of these. Now the name is slightly different but based on the picture you can tell that’s what they’re going for. This makes it the second fishing themed root beer I’ve seen. There’s also some cow girl riding the fly with the caption “Wild Fly Rider” I think this is the first root beer to feature a busty cow girl on it that I’ve had. There are several other curiosities about their label. It says Grand Cru, which is a wine classification for superior quality. Then on the side of the label it reads “Guaranteed to Wooley Your Bugger and Then Some. The Black Elixir of the Yellowstone. Hardy Drink For Hardy Souls! THE Rocky Mountain Root Beer.” It’s like they couldn’t decide one what they wanted their tagline to be so they went with all of the suggestions. I have no idea what the first one is even supposed to mean. The last one will probably raise objections from the Rocky Mountain Root Beer people. The third line is, well, okay, whatever, and the second one makes me think it’s going to have a lot of licorice in it.

The Body is minty and I want to say birchy. There’s a little anise as well. There’s a strong wintergreen Bite but that’s it. The Head is short yet foamy. The Aftertaste is wintergreen and birch that’s a tad bitter.

This tastes more like a birch beer to me, though I can’t claim to be an expert on them, I’ve had several and they remind me of this. It also tastes similar to Spring Lake Root Beer with their birch beer extracts. But unlike some of the birch root beers, this one really lacks the vanilla, the sassafras, and the spice flavors. It still passes as a decent root beer though. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three kegs