Aug 062014

A Pint of Dr. Ziggy's Root BeerSeveral weeks ago I went down to TMC Connect, the Tesla Motors Club conference, in Monterey. I was on a panel on electric vehicles and the grid. I got a ride down with a fine fellow named Paul, who came from Vancouver, BC. We drove in his Model S, stopping at the super chargers along the way, and by so doing made it to Sacramento from Seattle in about 16 hours. Did I mention it didn’t cost us a penny since super charging is free? Yeah, Teslas rock. Anyhow, when we were a little south of Portland I asked him if it would be possible to search for some root beer at a brewery. He said he didn’t mind so I searched Google maps for breweries in the town of the next Super Charger, Springfield. I called up the first one, Hop Valley and asked if they had root beer, which they said they made their own. When we entered the location on the map, we saw that it was right next to the Super Charger. Ultimate root beer super charging win! We wouldn’t even have to go out of our way and we could try the brew during our 30 minute charging break. Even though it is made by Hop Valley, it is called Dr. Ziggy’s after the owner’s father.

The Body is sweet and sort of spicy with a decent sassafras flavor and some brown sugar hints. The Bite, however, quickly turns acidic sour and prickly and overpowers the good flavors detracting significantly. The Head, as you can see, is fabulously tall and lasts the whole time. The Aftertaste is a nice buttery, nutty flavor which is really, really good.

So this one starts out decent, turns bad, and finishes wonderfully. Add in the beautiful Head and I’ll give it a solid 3.5. We didn’t try any of their food since we’d eaten at the previous Super Charger, but I hear that the brewery smokes their own meats on the roof of their establishment. This is definitely the place to go when you’re road tripping in a Tesla between Washington and California. Or just drive straight there, with a Tesla, all it costs is time, and the drive is time well spent.

Three and a half kegs

The Dr. Ziggy's Root Beer Tap

The Dr. Ziggy’s Root Beer Tap

The inside of Hop Valley Brewing Company

The inside of Hop Valley Brewing Company restaurant.

Hop Valley Brewing Company near the Tesla Super Charger in Springfield Oregon

Hop Valley Brewing Company near the Tesla Supercharger in Springfield Oregon

Aug 042014

Two weeks ago I went to TMC Connect, the Tesla Motors Club conference and expo. If you’ve followed this blog, you’ll know that a lot of the draft root beers have been found while I was at conferences related to electric cars, being the expert that I am. So anyways, I was a panelist at TMC Connect and I had to find a way to Monterey, CA. I posted on the forum that if anyone wanted to carpool down, I would buy all of the electricity needed to get there. This was a joke, since Teslas can charge for free at the Superchargers. Either way, a fine fellow by the name of Paul driving from Vancouver, BC agreed to take me down.

The road trip experience in a Tesla is far different than what I was experienced with while growing up. In my youth we’d push and push, stopping only for gas and ten minute bathroom breaks. We’d cover a lot of miles but never really know much about what was in between Point A and Point B. Interestingly, for much of those trips Point A was in Washington and Point B was Sacramento. On this particular trip Sacramento was also our first stop over and I was thus fully able to appreciate the differences between the traditional road trip experience and the Tesla road trip of the future. Instead of pushing though, you need to stop every 150 miles or so to get a 30 minute charge. It was then that I realized that a Tesla with supercharging is the perfect for root beer hunting. Many of the superchargers were in places where craft root beers could be found.

Hop Valley Brewing Company near the Tesla Supercharger in Springfield Oregon

Hop Valley Brewing Company near the Tesla Supercharger in Springfield Oregon

Not far from the Centralia charger is Dick’s Brewery. Further south in Springfield the Hop Valley Brewery right next to the supercharger had their own root beer. There are several other breweries in Springfield and though I didn’t look to see if they had their own since I had already found one. In Grant’s Pass I was told that Wild River had their own root beer, and at the next stop in Mount Shasta I found Etna Brewing Company Root Beer at the supermarket near the supercharger. And these are just a few that are in the towns connected by superchargers on I-5. I’m sure that there were more places I could have found along the way, but root beer hunting was not the main objective of the trip, and I’d already had good success. None of these places we’d ever even stop in when I was a kid driving to Sacramento, and many cool experiences were likely lost. While it does take longer to road trip in an EV, I think the experience is far superior, as it forces you to enjoy everything in between.

Additionally, the idea of extremely cheap to free travel suddenly makes root beer questing guilt free and enjoyable. There are numerous breweries and root beer stands only a few hours from me but the cost doesn’t seem to justify a solo trip. With an EV, especially a Tesla, that isn’t a concern. It is my opinion that the future of automobiles is EVs, and as far as root beer questing is concerned, it’s going to be a great future indeed.

Jul 302014

A pint of Capitol City Brewing Company Root BeerSeal of ApprovalOn the second day in DC, after I’d finished my … stuff, I had the evening free to myself. So after going to the National Mall and defying the “shut down” barricades (I’m such a rebel, I know), I headed out on foot to walk to the Capitol City Brewing Company for dinner. It was an hour walk but I am very cheap in my root beer questing and the exercise is good for me. They have two locations in the area, the closest to me was the Arlington location in The Village at Shirlington. The brewery is a very impressive place. They have four large brew vats in the middle with the bar around them. The vats are labeled with whatever is brewing in them at the time. They have other brew vats in other part of the restaurant as well. The place is very lively and looks to be quite the hang out to watch the Redskins play foot ball.

The Body is rich and creamy and delicious with caramel and vanilla notes. It has a mild Bite, just barely enough, and is very smooth. The Head is short, yet frothy and lasts. It’s just barely good enough to not dock serious points. The Aftertaste is a sweet, buttery, nutty flavor that kind of reminds me of buttered popcorn jelly bellies. It comes in strong, complementing and replacing the other flavors and lasts quite awhile, slowly fading as you wonder just what it is. I’ve never tasted that flavor in a brew before and I like it a lot.

I don’t want to say ‘wow’ but, Wow! That Aftertaste blew me away. The brew had plenty going for it at the first drink, but after swallowing it shines like nothing I’ve ever had before. It takes a good creamy brew and makes it exceptional. You just want to keep drinking it and drinking it to get that flavor again. Unlike Hops, they don’t give you a free refill, sadly, but I can understand as I would have probably drank an entire kegs worth. It’s a shame the brew mistress had just left before I got there, I would have loved to congratulate her personally on being awarded the Seal of Approval. The food was delicious as well. The server suggested I get a burger, and their Hickory Burger was divine. If you’re in DC you must visit this place.

4 kegs

The Root Beer Tap

The Root Beer Tap

The bar is really cool with those brew vats in the middle.

The bar is really cool with those brew vats in the middle.

Ah dinner, a hickory burger and fries. It's a bacon cheese burger with tons of chipotle barbecue sauce.

Ah dinner, a hickory burger and fries. It’s a bacon cheese burger with tons of chipotle barbecue sauce.