Jul 302014
 

A pint of Capitol City Brewing Company Root BeerSeal of ApprovalOn the second day in DC, after I’d finished my … stuff, I had the evening free to myself. So after going to the National Mall and defying the “shut down” barricades (I’m such a rebel, I know), I headed out on foot to walk to the Capitol City Brewing Company for dinner. It was an hour walk but I am very cheap in my root beer questing and the exercise is good for me. They have two locations in the area, the closest to me was the Arlington location in The Village at Shirlington. The brewery is a very impressive place. They have four large brew vats in the middle with the bar around them. The vats are labeled with whatever is brewing in them at the time. They have other brew vats in other part of the restaurant as well. The place is very lively and looks to be quite the hang out to watch the Redskins play foot ball.

The Body is rich and creamy and delicious with caramel and vanilla notes. It has a mild Bite, just barely enough, and is very smooth. The Head is short, yet frothy and lasts. It’s just barely good enough to not dock serious points. The Aftertaste is a sweet, buttery, nutty flavor that kind of reminds me of buttered popcorn jelly bellies. It comes in strong, complementing and replacing the other flavors and lasts quite awhile, slowly fading as you wonder just what it is. I’ve never tasted that flavor in a brew before and I like it a lot.

I don’t want to say ‘wow’ but, Wow! That Aftertaste blew me away. The brew had plenty going for it at the first drink, but after swallowing it shines like nothing I’ve ever had before. It takes a good creamy brew and makes it exceptional. You just want to keep drinking it and drinking it to get that flavor again. Unlike Hops, they don’t give you a free refill, sadly, but I can understand as I would have probably drank an entire kegs worth. It’s a shame the brew mistress had just left before I got there, I would have loved to congratulate her personally on being awarded the Seal of Approval. The food was delicious as well. The server suggested I get a burger, and their Hickory Burger was divine. If you’re in DC you must visit this place.

4 kegs

The Root Beer Tap

The Root Beer Tap

The bar is really cool with those brew vats in the middle.

The bar is really cool with those brew vats in the middle.

Ah dinner, a hickory burger and fries. It's a bacon cheese burger with tons of chipotle barbecue sauce.

Ah dinner, a hickory burger and fries. It’s a bacon cheese burger with tons of chipotle barbecue sauce.


Jul 232014
 

Jack Black's Dead Red Root Beer Bottle A pirate themed energy drink root beer, I’ve never seen one of those before. To be fair, I had this one first. At the time ordered it, I thought they were referencing one of my favorite comedy actors, who, to the best of my knowledge has never actually portrayed a pirate. The only other Jack Black was some pirate ghost from an old Disney series that had to go and save 100 lives to avoid damnation. I don’t think that’s what these guys are going for. It does seem a jolly scull and crossbones, so let’s just assume they were envisioning some sort of Nacho Libre prequel set on the high seas in a ship called the Dead Red with an awkward, incompetent captain (Jack Black) and a delinquent crew. Root beer would somehow be involved. Probably Jack Black’s favorite drink and the crew would always be doing something to it as part of a running gag. And then Jack would yell “Who’s been screwin’ with my brewin’?” or something like that. I’d definitely watch that movie. There are also many humorous sayings written on the bottle like “Second time available in 416 years” … okay, and “Better Dead Red than just plain Dead” which remains to be seen.

This has a nice sweet and creamy Body. After the initial contact however, there is a strange flavor that surfaces and takes away from beauty of the brew. The Bite is too strange. There is too much Guarana in it. The Head is alright. The Aftertaste is of vanilla and Guarana.

Well that is pleasantly surprising. These energy drink type root beers are usually frightening at best but that’s pretty decent. Not Seal of Approval good, but good enough to warrant an occasional bottle on International Talk Like A Pirate Day, for a Pirates of the Caribbean marathon, and similar type activities. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three and a half kegs


Jul 162014
 

A frosty mug of Hops Root Beer Last October I went to Washington DC for … reasons. As the usual routine demanded, I scanned Google Maps before the trip and found Hops Grill Brewery a mere 20 minute walk from the hotel I’d be staying in. Since my flight was to arrive at 6:20pm I knew where I would be eating dinner that night. Except my first flight was late just enough that I arrived at the gate of my connection just as it left. I was put on a later flight that wouldn’t arrive until 9:20pm. No biggie, Hops stays open until 11:20pm I’d still have plenty of time. Except that flight was 40 minutes late as well. By the time I got to the hotel, it was 10:25. I called Hops to make sure that if I arrived at 10:55 they’d still let me order, and took off running. I made it with 15 minutes to spare. After a glass of water and a few minutes of repose, I ordered my root beer.

The Body is dark and spicy with wintergreen and a little licorice. It is very rooty and reminds me of those old root beer barrel candies, you know, the ones with a slightly reddish wrapper. The Bite is spicy and while not harsh, it’s not smooth and kind of a sharp Bite. The Head is very tall and a decent froth level so it lasts awhile. The Aftertaste is wintergreen and a little licorice with bitter notes at the end.

So it’s not my favorite flavor profile, and bitter notes, while slight, are still bad. The super tall Head, though, compensates a bit. I’d put this at just barely drinkable, it was close though. Subsequent mugs with my meal reinforced this. I had fried catfish and ale onion rings which was delicious and worked with the spicy brew pretty well.

Three kegs

Fried catfish and ale onion rings. Delicious.

Fried catfish and ale onion rings. Delicious.

The brew vats add a nice atmosphere while dining.

The brew vats add a nice atmosphere while dining.

The bar is in an island in the middle of the restaurant.

The bar is in an island in the middle of the restaurant.