Oct 262016

Seal of ApprovalBottle of AJ Stephans Butterscotch Root BeerRemember when butterscotch root beer was all new and exciting? Those were fun times. Now it is becoming ever more common, which isn’t a bad thing for people like me who review root beers. This butterscotch root beer is different than the rest, this is the one to make it mainstream. Why? Because AJ Stephans was a long established root beer whose makers looked at the trend, and decided to add to their existing lineup. All of the rest were either stand alone brands which only had a butterscotch root beer, or they were Dang!, who has been doing butterscotch before it was a thing. The problem I’ve observed with so many of those other butterscotch brews is that they are heavy on butterscotch, light on the root beer. But AJ Stephans is a heavy, dark root beer, so maybe they’d find a winning combo?

The Body has a strong butterscotch flavor that doesn’t overpower the root beer flavor. It’s a very good balance. The Bite is not much. Just some carbonation prickle for the most part. The Head is short, but very frothy, so it lingers, but it doesn’t really build. The Aftertaste is creamy butterscotch and vanilla.

Nailed it. This is by far the best butterscotch brew yet. The Head and the Bite could use a little work, but finally I’ve found a butterscotch brew worth keeping stocked up on. See how it rates against other root beers.

4 kegs

Oct 192016

Red Jammer Root Beer BottleOn the last day of my trip to Alberta, we went on a tour of Glacier National Park, driving through the Going-to-the-Sun Road and admiring all of the beautiful scenery. We even went whitewater rafting down a river. All along the road we saw these old timey red buses filled with tourists. They’re called Red Jammers because they’re red, and they used to have a double clutch which made a jamming noise as the drivers would shift on the steep roads. Originally, the buses were just called Reds and the drivers were called Jammers but not anymore. At the end of the road we stopped at a gift shop and I saw bottles of Red Jammer Root Beer, the Official Root Beer of Glacier National Park. I got three bottles and then parted company with my friends, and headed out into the sunset towards Washington again. I didn’t have sun glasses so I was pretty much squinting for 5 hours, I should have thought that drive through better.

The Body is weak and indistinct, not very sweet and has a hint of anise flavor in it. It is kind of gross if you ask me. The Bite is alright. The Head is bad. The Aftertaste is kind of gross with a mild anise flavor.

I don’t like this one bit. All in all it tastes like a Flathead Lake Monster Root Beer that some one stuck a licorice stick in over night, which is actually an improvement over normal FLM. I wonder if that is because they are both made by the same brewery. Of all of the root beers I’ve tried, this may be the only one that’s a simple relabel, but I’m not sure. There were differences and I did taste three bottles of each. The UPCs are different so I’m going to err on the side of this is distinct, though not much. See how it rates against other root beers.

2 out of 5 root beer kegs

Oct 122016

Abita Root Beer BottleA root beer from that first summer after my mission. I ordered this online in a variety pack. There was no particular reason for picking it when I did, just another brew I hadn’t tried. Abita is a craft brewery in Louisiana founded in 1986. They proudly declare that they use pure Louisiana cane sugar in their brew. They also use “root beer flavor” which I suppose is better than cola flavor or orange flavor. They have a classy label, or at least they did in 2003. It’s still classy but the color scheme has changed. I prefer this version. The reddish-brown and deep blue with silver dots just makes me think of some dark rich brew.

The Body was strong rooty flavor, yet lacking in that there was no honey and it wasn’t very creamy. There was also a hint of icky in the Body after the initial contact. The Bite was solid, though not overly pleasurable. The Head was fair. The Aftertaste was that same icky though not really strong.

So this was a tough one to judge. It isn’t horrible but not overly good either. It wasn’t my favorite flavor profile nor did it have any special characteristics, but it didn’t have huge glaring flaws either. When it finally came down to it I had to ask myself if given the opportunity to drink this again, would I? After much deliberation and a few bottles, I must answer no. It’s that little bit of icky that really pushes it over the edge. See how it rates against other root beers.

2.5/5 Root Beer Kegs