Sep 192018

A pint of Maple Island Brewery Root Beer So remember how I said Stillwater was worth a walk around? I thought my family should see that quaint little town, and walk up those stairs and it had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that there just happened to be another brewery in the historic downtown that also happened to make their own root beer. Nope, definitely not, it was all because I felt they needed to experience that lovely little town… cause it was Saturday and the weather was lovely, probably the last lovely summer weather weekend of the year. So we parked right by the brewery, Maple Island Brewing, and went to get a root beer first thing because of course I did. It’s a fun brewery with live music sometimes and a great game where you pound nails into a bloc of wood using the small side of a hammer (which I totally destroyed the rest of my family on) and free popcorn and food trucks and things. But they make a root beer and that’s all I really cared about.

The Body is very sweet with a sarsaparilla flavor accented by wintergreen and a little vanilla. I think there’s a tad bit of anise in there too. The Bite is mild, with only a little spice and not a lot of carbonation. There really isn’t any Head at all, sadly. The Aftertaste is a faint vanilla that I wish were stronger.

So, not bad at all. It’s yummy enough but that lack of Head costs them serious points. Also it could be a little stronger all around. But it’s a fine enough brew that if you’re already touristing about in that quaint little town and climbing up tall stairs and whatnot you should drop on in for a pint.

Three kegs

Maple Island Brewing in historic downtown Stillwater

Maple Island Brewing in historic downtown Stillwater

Maple Island Brewing Vats

The brewing vats.

Sep 122018

A pint of Liftbridge Brewery Root Beer So my family has been on vacation in Europe for the past month, leaving me with lots of free time on the weekends to chase down root beers, and Labor Day was no exception, so I set out to Stillwater, a quaint little town on the border with Wisconsin (which I’ve yet to set foot in). There resides the Lift Bridge Brewery, named after the lift bridge on the St. Croix River. Lift Bridge actually cans their root beer, and they can be found all around the Minneapolis area. But I don’t drink root beer from cans, so my only way to try it was to go straight to the source, which I did because it was Labor Day and only a 45 minute drive away.

The Body is very minty with a little vanilla. It isn’t overly sweet, but it isn’t lacking either. It does feel a little hollow, like it needs more sassafras. The Bite is harsh and sharp. There’s a ton of carbonation and some spices. It is too harsh in my opinion. The Head is medium tall with a good foaminess that lasts. The Aftertaste is a strong wintergreen flavor that ends a little bitter. It reminds of those wintergreen Lifesavers.

This is solid, but lacking. There really isn’t anything bad about it, it just needs a few tweaks to make it top notch. If you’re in the area, check it out. The town of Stillwater is worth the walk around, and even climb those downtown stairs, just don’t run up the stairs two steps at a time, my legs are still sore.

Three and a half kegs

The Lift Bridge Brewery.

The Lift Bridge Brewery. This picture was taken from inside the taproom looking through the brewery door.

Sep 052018

A glass of Schneider's German Root Beer Still at the Minnesota State Fair, after I’d visited The Root Beer Hut I figured it was time to hit up all of the fair essentials, like roasted corn, big fat bacon on a stick, Sweet Martha’s Cookie Jar, etc. After I’d gotten my corn and was waiting in line for my bacon (which I dual wielded for awhile), I saw another root beer stand. Schneider’s German Root Beer. Mind blown, two root beers for me to review when I only expected one! This was going to be an epic fair. I decided that I should walk the whole grounds (since I’d just recently had a 32 oz Challenge Root Beer) and catalog all of the root beer stands at the fair. After about 4 hours of wandering, I was ready for review Round 2. Schneider’s German Root Beer was established in 1947 using a family recipe. Like the Challenge Root Beer, it’s only available at the State Fair from one of two stands. I assume the one I visited was the first such stand.

The Body is very spicy and reminds me of a root beer barrel candy. There’s some vanilla with a slight fruity tinge as well. The Bite is spicy with good carbonation and a relatively smooth finish. The Head is a medium height but lacks staying power. The Aftertaste is a spiced vanilla.

This is pretty good. I better than the Challenge Root Beer, though more expensive. You get what you pay for I suppose. There still was a fruity tinge, and that keeps it from a Seal for me. But it’s yummy all the same and is sure to go well with all of that salty stick food you’ll be buying at the fair.

Three and a half kegs

Schneider's German Root Beer stand.

Schneider’s German Root Beer stand. A bonus root beer at the fair for me.

German Root Beer stand

The other German Root Beer stand.