GourmetRootBeer

May 152019
 

A&W of Lodi

I have some beef with CCR. For while they have some classics, they also wrote the song Lodi, where they maligned the birthplace of arguably the most iconic root beer in existence. I don’t care how bad the rest of the town may be. You can’t speak ill of the place where A&W was born. Yet, despite me often traveling to near Lodi, I’d never gone to the sacred birthplace of this amazing brew. So two weeks ago, when I was in Sacramento for work, I took an evening to drive the hour south to get a draft from its birthplace.

The original stand, built in 1919, is no longer there, sadly. Only a small plaque on the sidewalk marks the spot of the original stand. But nearby is a very old A&W Drive-in that still offers curbside service. It was to this drive in that I went for dinner and a brew. The inside is like a small A&W museum, with a display case full of artifacts and memorabilia, with more along the walls. They sell a lot of cool merch as well to their delicious food, of I bought a shirt and some mugs. Truly Lodi and their A&W Drive-in is a place to where every true root beer devotee must make pilgrimage. And so a new a new category to this blog must be added. Root Beer Pilgrimages. For there are many other such places that need to be visited and blogged about.

The display case of A&W relics

The display case of A&W relics

A&W of Lodi wall

Wall displays are everywhere.

Picture of Roy Allen and old A&Ws

Picture of Roy Allen and old A&Ws

The merchandise display

The merchandise display. I may have bought too much.

A tasty meal with delicious root beer!




May 082019
 

Kemps Pop Jr.'s
A while ago I was back in Cub Foods, getting some manner of groceries and I figured, hey, maybe there’s some new root beer frozen treat in the cooler. I don’t know why there would be. I doubt the stores change their stockings that frequently. Yet, there they were, more Kemps’ variety packs with a root beer in it. I don’t know why these are Pops Jr.’s. They look pretty regular sized to me. The same size as the float bars. Maybe a true pop are one of those double stick things and the juniors are single sticks? Would that mean the float bars were also juniors, even though they weren’t called that? I’m probably over thinking this.

It has a mild and generic root beer flavor that’s a little too weak yet still refreshing. There’s a minty hint to it as well which is nice, but you can only really notice that if you bite it, and if you have cold sensitivity on your teeth that could be a problem.

The flavor seems to be the same as their Float Bars recipe, which makes sense, but it’s stronger here as you don’t have the vanilla ice cream overpowering it. So in that respect I’ll say these are closer to the sort of root beer pop you’d want, but I still think it still falls short, and I don’t recommend it if looking for a root beer treat.




May 012019
 

Johnny Reb Root Beer Bottle If you are easily triggered, you’re gonna probably want to skip this review. After all, this is gonna the most controversial review of all time (I hope). Snowflakes gonna run to their safe spaces at the mere mention of this review. Feast your eyes on that very un-2019 label. Yup the one and only Confederate Battle Flag. That can of worms just got opened, cause they went and put it on a root beer bottle. And once a new root beer comes into the world, I have to drink it and write about it. So here it is. Now, I gotta be honest. I have no love for this flag. I grew up in Washington State, and all I remember being taught about this was that they were rebels who tried to secede and we beat them. The first time I ever saw this flag in the wild it was as an early teen when I went to some Saturday night race track we had in our home town, and then I saw people wearing it. I honestly thought it was hilarious because, who wears the flag of the traitors, in the North? Lots of people evidently. I guess Southern Pride is a thing, though not one I’ve any first hand experience with, and this is their HERITAGE! Not hatred. Get over it. At least to them. But, there was that whole slavery thing and that flag means a very different thing to a lot of other people, as it was the battle standard of those fighting for the right to treat an entire race as mere chattel, which is about as repulsive as it gets, so yeah, as far as they are concerned, that flag is HATRED! (Don’t you love being white-man-splained about all of this as though it is something new?) Why some brewery in Florida wanted to put that on their label is anyone’s guess. Maybe they just liked to court the controversy, much like I’m doing by being blissfully neutral on such a charged subject. Anyways, I’m genuinely surprised this root beer is still for sale and won’t be surprised at all of outcry shuts them down. But what I care about much more than the label is the contents of the bottle, which is, after all, what a root beer should be judged by (says the guy who literally has categories for if the bottle is pretty and if it isn’t)

The Body is mild and generic. There’s a little hint of vanilla but nothing else really noteworthy. Just a middle of the road sort of flavor. The Bite is harsh from carbonation yet the Head is short and doesn’t last. There’s also not a lot of spiciness. The Aftertaste is faint vanilla that is gone quickly.

Well, that’s pretty meh. You’d think that with such a bold label there’d be a correspondingly bold choice of flavors. But there’s nothing really bad about this (other than a very controversial label), but nothing really great about it either. I give it a Drinkable rating, though honestly, I’d be hard pressed to find a place where it’s acceptable to drink it. Ummm, Confederate Monument removal protests? Probably not. Err.. Civil War battle reenactments? Yeah, that’s it. Some brewery in the North should make a Billy Yank root beer, and they could sell them both at Gettysburg and places like that. Yeah, I think that’s the only way to not risk getting attacked over drinking this utterly mediocre brew. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three kegs