Aug 052015

Boylan Root Beer BottleThis is produced by the Boylan Bottling Company (I know big surprise) and has been around since 1891. It’s actually one of the more common brands of gourmet root beer. I’ve found it all across the nation and even in Canada. Yet, when I first got this over a decade ago, I mail ordered it in a variety pack. I probably should have just waited until I found it in my many travels, but you never know what you are going to run across before you buy it. Their website says that they let their sodas speak for themselves with “no hype, no marketing gimmicks.” So you’d forgive me for never knowing they were a commonly available until age and miles verified the fact. And to think, some of the others I passed up that day are long gone and I’ll never get a chance to try them … The bottle is kind of unique and with the painted logo rather old fashioned. For some reason it says Boylan Bottleworks on the bottle whereas the website calls themselves the Boylan Bottling Company. I’m not sure why they do that. There is no explanation anywhere. Even Wikipedia says that it was called the Boylan Bottling Company since its founding. So I’m at a loss.

This has a very strong Body and an alright Aftertaste. It says “best head” on the bottle but the Head is not that good. The Bite is okay.

This is a pretty ‘meh’ brew. It’s also pretty middle of the road so I can see why it would catch on. As one of those pure cane sugar sodas, people who like that would stock it. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three kegs

Jul 292015

Mad River Root Beer Bottle In high school I had several friends that were obsessed with the Mad Max trilogy. They even bought cars that looked somewhat like The Last V8 Interceptor and tried to make them more so. It was an infectious craze and soon we all would make ridiculous Road Warrior references at all occasions. It should come as no surprise then, that the in first variety pack of root beer I ever ordered, I had to include Mad River, because that is clearly what Mad Max would drink. It even says “Drink Mad” on the bottle. Upon receipt of my brew, I was of course the envy of our little group of Mad Max maniacs. But there’s so much more depth to this bottle than a Mel Gibson reference. They plastered all sorts of taglines and catch phrases on this in the hopes that one of them would stick. From clich├ęs like “The original” to “Live it up, this is not a rehearsal” They even tell about their cold brewed process and how their all natural, a fact that escaped me back then because I didn’t even care. Evidently they even use some “traditional methods of a 125 year old brewery” whatever that’s supposed to mean. Interestingly the river in question is a rather small part of the label. You’d think they’d put more emphasis on that.

This has a fabulous Bite, but the Head is terrible, the Body is weak and the Aftertaste is strange.

And thus it was that this root beer, despite all of its catchphrases, missed the most important one, something to do with Bite. That’s all I could remember of it. It was completely unremarkable other than when it hit your mouth it bit just perfectly before turning all weak and strange. Unsurprisingly, this is long since out of business. I guess the market for Mad Max obsessed teenagers buying the soda for a novelty could only take them so far. See how it rates against other root beers.

2 out of 5 root beer kegs

Jul 252015

A pint of Glacier Brewhouse Root BeerI have the best friends. Especially a fellow by the last name of Clapp aka, The Clappicus Maximus, member extraordinaire of the elite Humans vs Zombies clan The Cowboys from Hell. He likes craft beers the way I like craft root beers (also Fanta but that’s another tale), and is always going to different breweries and taprooms and such. Whenever he sees a unique root beer he’ll text me to see if I’ve tried it, and I’ve gotten quite a few nice brews this way. This last week he discovered this at The Watershed Pub & Kitchen in Northgate, and let me know. I had to head over that same week since Glacier Brewhouse is in Anchorage and Watershed rotates their taps, so who knows when I’d ever find it again. This is only the second root beer I’ve ever had from Alaska, and to be honest, I’m not sure how many other root beers there are from there.

The Body has a medium strength rooty flavor that is lighter on the anise than others of that genre. It’s rich and creamy with wintergreen and vanilla as well is and nice. The Bite isn’t much as this is a very smooth brew. There’s some spice but I’d prefer a bit more. The Head is medium short despite the best efforts of the bartender, but very frothy and lasted the duration of the pint. The Aftertaste is vanilla and wintergreen that turns a bit bitter.

This is pretty good. It’s nice and creamy and doesn’t have anything bad about it. But the flavors are just not all there to get a Seal of Approval. Definitely get this with your meal if your in Anchorage or visiting the Watershed though.

Three and a half kegs

The Glacier Brewhouse Root Beer tap (and some beer taps) at Watershed Pub & Kitchen

The Glacier Brewhouse Root Beer tap (and some beer taps) at Watershed Pub & Kitchen