GourmetRootBeer

Aug 052020
 

Sprecher Maple Root Beer Bottle Sprecher is at it again. I don’t think there’s been another brand that’s given me as many posts, except for maybe Tommyknocker, but while they do it in all the wrong ways (changing a recipe over and over and over making it progressively worse), Sprecher is just making new and innovative products and flavors, building off of the success of their flagship brew. I seriously want to drive to their brewery one of these days and personally thank them for their positive contributions to the root beer world. Maybe after Covid is done. It’s only one state away. So this time they’re making a maple root beer, which is probably may favorite type of “flavor” root beer. This is made with pure Wisconsin maple syrup, much like their flagship brew is made with raw Wisconsin honey. If it’s anything like their flagship, it will be amazing.

The Body is dark and minty and really sweet. Maple syrup is noticeable after the initial sassafras and wintergreen start to fade. It’s smooth but not creamy, and there’s a distinct lack of vanilla which I feel would accent the maple far better than wintergreen. The Bite is very smooth, but lacking in spices. The Head is very tall with nice staying power. The Aftertaste is wintergreen and maple, an unexpected combo which works better than I would expect.

So that was rather unexpected. They made it a dark and minty type with the added flavor of maple syrup. I’ve never had anything like that before, and after nearly 450 root beers, that’s pretty impressive. Yet, I just don’t think it works quite right. Those flavors of maple and wintergreen kind of clash and it makes for a brew that’s interesting, but not quite top notch. Sorry Sprecher, you didn’t quite pull it off this time. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three and a half kegs




Jul 012020
 

Schilo's Root Beer BottleSeal of Approval This past February, I was back in San Antonio for DistribuTECH, which is there every few years. I did my standard morning routine, which involved breakfast at Schilo’s (I’m always manning the booth these days) which was usually breakfast tacos and a mug of their impeccable root beer. This time I noticed something I never had before, bottles. I asked and heard that they’d started bottling just in December. Supposedly the same recipe but what about those egg whites? It doesn’t say. Anyways, I got a six pack’s worth so I could send them out to some people I owe some brews. TSA, the ever useless and disgusting agency, decided to completely rip a label off of one of the bottles for “testing” I’m sure, so sadly one of the collectors I had in mind was deprived of a bottle. Seriously, how does TSA continue to exist? Nobody likes them at all. But I digress. The burning question, would this be as good as on draft?

The Body is rich and creamy with a sweet sassafras core bathed in copious amounts of luscious vanilla. It truly exemplifies root beer. The Bite as a nice level of spice and carbonation with a smooth finish. The Head is amazingly tall and lasts longer than any I can remember. The Aftertaste is sweet, spiced vanilla.

This brew is truly amazing. It’s pretty much the same great stuff you’d get on draft, though the draft stuff is a bit fresher with a cleaner flavor. This is pretty negligible difference, but you know, I notice these things. Still, top notch, like just the slightest bit of something extra (maybe some honey, a little extra spice?) would push this into solid 5 (I may be too stingy with those) category. But it’s just right on the line. My recommendation. Find this brew, drink it, and rise to that next level of root beer appreciation to which it guides you. See how it rates against other root beers.

4.5 Kegs




Jun 242020
 

A pints of Barney's Drive-In Root BeerSeal of Approval This past Saturday I had to get out. This lockdown stuff since March, I’m going a little crazy not having the life of travel adventures anymore. At the same time, I recognize that I need to be safe about things and stay away from people as much as possible. I know restaurants are starting to open but only for take-out, and I thought, there’s gotta be some root beer stand out there where you can just grab your food, eat on a picnic table or something. A little searching and sure enough, an hour an a half south of me, in the town of Waseca, I found Barney’s Drive-In. They still do car hops and have some picnic tables out in the sun for those who don’t want to eat in their cars (I for one am not eating in my new Tesla). Plus they make their own root beer and serve in frosty mugs. Exactly what I was looking for. So after walking around some lakeside parks in Waseca for a bit, I pulled into the drive-in and ordered root beer and a Coney dog. Now they have three sizes of root beer, but only the medium comes in a glass pint mug, the small and large come in plastic mugs, for some reason. They also let you order half gallons and gallons to take home. This is a root beer stand in every sense of the word. I, of course, got the medium glass mug.

The Body is extremely sweet with that classic root beer stand flavor which entails a lot of vanilla and some spices. Those spices make for a nice Bite when coupled with the good carbonation. It also finishes quite smooth. The Head is medium height decently frothy, if you ask them to make it that way. The Aftertaste is sweet, creamy vanilla that lasts and lasts.

Excellent brew. Just what I have been missing in my life lately. It might be a little too sweet, and could use some more complexity, but still, amazing stuff that I’d quaff to my heart’s content. Thankfully (sadly?) they don’t give free refills or I’d probably have drank myself sick. The foot long bacon cheese Coney was amazing too. This place is a must visit for all root beer and classic fast food lovers.

4 kegs




Barney's Drive-In

Barney’s Drive-In

The Barney's Drive-In Sign

The Barney’s Drive-In Sign

A bacon cheese foot-long Coney dog with a mug of root beer

A bacon cheese foot-long Coney dog with a mug of root beer. There is no better summer road trip food.