Nov 052014

Frostie Root Beer Bottle This was part of a mail order variety pack that I got the summer after my mission. It’s one of the more common brands of gourmet root beer out there, but is not sold much on the West Coast. Frostie has been around since 1939, and actually been continuously sold since then, unlike many brands which are being revived these days and tack a “Since 19” It was also first bottled in an abandoned jail house in Maryland … there’s a joke in there somewhere, I know it, but I’m just not familiar enough with the area to make it. The name and label confuse me. It almost seems like they’re going for a Christmas theme, like Frostie the Snow Man, and the picture on the label is of some Santa wannabe. There’s snow as well and a frosty mug of root beer. They’re just oozing with Christmas iconography but they leave it at that, making you wonder if it’s just some happy festive coincidence. Oh well, as far as I’m concerned it’s the Christmas Root Beer until someone says otherwise, or makes a more Christmasy brew.

The Body is good, but has a strange, unplaceable flavor surfacing after the initial contact. There is a good Bite. The Head good as well. The Aftertaste is that same strange flavor, which isn’t gross, but just doesn’t belong.

Not bad, not bad at all. If it were not for this aforementioned flavor, Frostie would’ve rated higher. However, that flavor is there and it really drags it down. It’s still drinkable. Mixing it with food, or with a scoop of ice cream in a float, would probably hide that strange flavor. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three kegs

Oct 292014

CiceroChicagoStyle_big The third root beer from the Cicero Beverage Company/Capone Family Secret people. They were kind enough to ship me two bottles of this after I completely loved their Salted Caramel variety. This one is Chicago Style and I can’t for the life of me figure out what that’s supposed to mean. I know of a Chicago Style deep dish pizza, like what you find at Giordano’s, but Chicago Style root beer? I didn’t know that was a thing. Granted, they’re not the first to slap that on their bottle, there’s Goose Island Chicago Style and Chicago Draft Style, but once again, there really isn’t any specific definition of what Chicago Style entails. Maybe it’s like “old fashioned” or something in that it doesn’t really mean anything but is good marketing. They are in Chicago after all. Anyways, this one’s label is similar to their salted caramel except there’s no salted caramel flowing down.

The body is a medium strength standard root beer flavor that isn’t overly sweet. The Bite is sharp on the tongue and a little harsh going down. Not my favorite. The Head is extra tall, but fizzes down really quickly. The Aftertaste is a light and sweet vanilla flavor.

This is an alright brew that is rather refreshing. There isn’t any unpleasantness but at the same time it doesn’t really have anything to jump out and grab your attention like the Salted Caramel or the smooth sweet vanilla of Capone. The not creamy, slightly harsh, and tall yet quickly dissipating Head is similar to Chicago Draft Style, so maybe that’s what Chicago Style is all about. Why not? See how it rates against other root beers.

Three kegs

Oct 232014

Witches Brew Root Beer

Halloween is coming, which means creepy costumes, too much candy, pumpkin spice everything and wonderful parties. And what Halloween party would be complete without a big cauldron of bubbling brew? Here’s a recipe that I’ve been perfecting for witches brew root beer, guaranteed to be a hit. Make it in a cauldron or a punch bowl if you don’t have a cauldron. But seriously, if you’re going all the way, you really should get a cauldron. Nothing impresses your friends like a big ol’ cast iron cauldron bubbling with root beer, except for the flavor of this root beer.


  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups honey
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 tsp McCormick Root Beer Concentrate
  • 1/8 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 gal cold water
  • 2 lbs dry ice

Add sugar, honey, vanilla, root beer concentrate, spices, and 4 cups of water in a pot and bring to a rolling boil while stirring.
Reduce heat and let the mixture boil on low for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add to cauldron with the rest (28 cups) of the water.
Crush half the dry ice and add to the cauldron, stir the mixture until the dry ice is largely disolved, this adds the primary carbonation
Add second pound of dry ice as a single or several large blocks. This will bubble for the duration of the party and help maintain the carbonation level
WARNING Do not seal a lid on your root beer while dry ice is bubbling, it will explode, trust me…