GourmetRootBeer

Jul 172019
 

Two weeks ago I took a nice long vacation and went and visited my parents back in Central Washington. We took the train which I highly recommend. One of the days we went to visit Ohme Gardens in Wenatchee, which is a lovely alpine garden with lots of trails and fountains and ponds and streams and the like. Very picturesque. But since it’d been awhile since I’d been there, I did the search and you know what’s coming, Root Beer! I started calling breweries, and stopped as soon as I started, because the very first place I called, Badger Mountain Brewing, said they did, in fact, make their own root beer. Where to eat for lunch was settled! Badger Mountain Brewing was started in 2012 and has produces nearly 2000 barrels of brewed stuff a year. They also have a restaurant in their tap room with some of the most epic food imaginable, which I’ll get to in a bit, but first, the root beer.

The Body is earthy and isn’t overly sweet for a root beer. There’s a sarsaparilla and anise flavor in there as well, but not in a bad way. The Bite compliments the Body well, with cinnamon and nutmeg giving a nice kick. The Head is medium tall and foamy and lasts. The Aftertaste is mild anise and sarsaparilla.

So, it’s kind of the whole herb tea type root beer, but not far enough outside the “normal” spectrum to still be a good root beer, not a Seal, but good. It pairs exceptionally well with food too, which is nice, because as I said, this place has amazing food. I had their signature Badger Burger, which was a patty of brisket and bacon, with onion strings and beer cheese sauce on it. It was unbelievably delicious, and I’ve had a lot of the brewery burgers. The fries are fresh cut and super good as well. This place is definitely worth visiting, for the food alone, with that nice root beer the cherry on top to seal the deal.

Three and a half kegs




The Badger Mountain Brewing Taps.

The Badger Mountain Brewing Taps. The root beer tap is the far right.

The Badger Burger with fries.

The Badger Burger with fries. Words cannot adequately describe how good this is.

The Badger Mountain Brew Vats.

The Badger Mountain Brew Vats.

Jul 102019
 

A pint of Northern Soda Company Butterscotch Root BeerStill at the Northern Soda Company tap room, after I’d finished a pint of their most excellent root beer. I decided to play some games. In addition to their board games, they have some pinball machines and old arcade games. It was with great disappointment, however, that I discovered that their classic pinball machine didn’t cost a quarter like at Blue Sun, but a whole dollar a game. I went to try a cheaper game, but that was still fifty cents, and it ate my quarters without ever letting me play. I was less than pleased, but whatever, I got a chess board and played a nice game of chess with my son while I snacked on some popcorn and learned more about their company and the tap room. It was also their Make-Your-Own-Soda-Day, where for a price you could mix your own syrup flavors into a spring top bottle which they would then fill with carbonated water and cap so you could have it later. Interesting concept. Maybe I’ll try it sometime, but first I needed a pint of that butterscotch root beer.

The Body is rich and minty with a strong butterscotch flavor. These two flavors don’t really mix well, so despite the sweetness and the creamy vanilla, it just doesn’t taste right. The Bite is very mild, a little lacking I’d say. The Head is rather short and not very foamy. The Aftertaste is more of the mismatched butterscotch and wintergreen.

Nope. Sorry. It doesn’t work. They’ve got a good root beer, and butterscotch can go well with a good root beer, but not this type of root beer. Not with that creamy minty flavor profile. Minty butterscotch is not a good thing. Go try it, take a Lifesavers wintergreen and one of those butterscotch discs and suck them both at the same time. That’s what this is like. So I’ll pass in the future. Like the overpriced and coin eating arcade games, not everything there is top notch. But their original root beer is, so still give it a visit.

2 out of 5 root beer kegs




Northern Soda Company Tap Room Arcade Games

The arcade games at the tap room. Shame they’re not all a quarter.

The Northern Soda Company product equipment.

The Northern Soda Company product equipment.

More of the production equipment and pallets of soda.

More of the production equipment and pallets of soda.

Jul 032019
 

A pint of Northern Soda Company Root BeerSeal of Approval The week after Sacramento I had another root beer target. Northern Soda company is rather new, being open for only a year or so. They are committed to making sodas in small batches, with real sugar, and no preservatives, to make soda like it used to be made. Except they put it in cans, which I’d say isn’t properly retro, it should be bottled, and thus I hadn’t tried it. Fast forward to a few weeks ago, they opened their own craft soda tap room! Now that is something I can get behind. So I gave them a call to make sure they had some root beer on tap, and they said they did, plus they’d made a batch of butterscotch root beer which was also on tap. So it was settled, and I sallied forth with my family to try some brew. The tap room is like your standard non-soda tap room, with tables and free popcorn. They even have board games. The perfect place to relax with the family and get a root beer.

The Body is rich and full with minty vanilla accenting its core. While having a darker profile, it doesn’t have a strong licorice flavor, which is nice. The Bite is good and spicy yet finishes smooth. The Head is very tall and foamy, most excellent. The Aftertaste is a creamy wintergreen and vanilla.

Oh yum. I like this brew. It reminds me of Ozark and River City. It’s true quality that’s fun to drink while you play a nice game of chess. I have wondered the viability of the tap room, since it’s a mere 15 minutes from Blue Sun Soda shop, and how many craft soda shops northern Minneapolis can support, but with root beer this good, I think they’ll do just fine. It’s definitely worth a visit, just call ahead and make sure the root beer is on tap.

4 kegs




The Northern Soda Company Taproom

The outside of the Northern Soda Company Tap Room

The Northern Soda Company Bar

The tap room bar. They plan to expand the number of taps in the future.

Northern Soda Company Popcorn

Free popcorn, like all Minnesota tap rooms. Also note the children’s coloring pictures on the wall.