Aug 032016

Rock Island Brewing Company Pumpkin Spiced Root Beer Bottle Every year at the start of October, all of the coffee shops, chocolatiers, perfumiers, butchers, bakers, candlestick makers, and pretty much everyone else gets out their pumpkins and their spices and unleash a flood of harvest/Halloween/Thanksgiving food and fragrance upon the world in the form of pumpkin spiced lattes, hot chocolates, regular chocolates, candles, incense, Jell-O?, Pringles, Pop Tarts, and probably every food product imaginable. This continues until December when they swap out the pumpkin for eggnog and continue until the New Year. These products have varied levels of grossness with a few actually tasting good, though those are the exceptions and not the rules. Into this fray stepped the expert brewers from Rock Island Brewing Company (who’s rocking abilities cannot be overstated) and decided that a glaring hole in this onslaught of pumpkin spiced everything was root beer and they were gonna solve it. I wasn’t sure if I was excited to try it or not. On the one hand, Rock Island Brewing Company, on the other hand pumpkin spiced Jell-O…

The Body is spicy, very spicy. It’s thick and rich as well with some vanilla and pumpkin syrup flavors featuring prominently. The Bite is sharp and intense from all of that spice. I think I’m getting cinnamon, allspice, and clove; maybe others too. It really burns in a way that puts hair on your chest. The Head is okay. It’s medium-short with large bubbles but it sticks around for a bit. The Aftertaste is a honey pumpkin flavor that finishes with clove bits.

So they surely got that spiced part right. That this isn’t awful is a testament to the skill of the brewmasters. Not only that, if you are a spice addicted Bite lover, this could be one of your favorite brews. As for me, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. After much deliberation as I drank my two bottles … I would drink this again. During that “special” time of the year. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three kegs

Jul 272016

Bottle of Rock Island Brewing Company Root BeerSeal of ApprovalSome people rock. They can’t help it. They are just rockin’ wherever they are, whatever they’re doing. It permeates through every fiber of their being and oozes out to influence their surroundings. They don’t get on a bus, they rock on a bus. They don’t walk into Mordor, they rock into Mordor. If they live on a hill, it’s now Rock Hill. If they live on an island, it’s Rock Island! Sometimes they make root beer, but they don’t make it, they rock it and their brews are rockin’. Such are the people behind the Rock Island Brewing Company, who kettle brew their sodas and make two flavors of root beer. They are located on (the island formerly known as) Long Island (it’s Rock Island now…) and are recent comers to the gourmet root beer world. If you remember I helped with their Kickstarter campaign. Their label is quite appropriately a root beer bottle made into a guitar head. I have no doubt that they’ve made such a guitar and use it as they rock to and fro.

The Body is sweet and rich with honey and vanilla featuring prominently over a traditional sassafras flavor. There’s a little spice in there as well. The Bite is mild yet present in the form of a little spice. It has a wonderful mouthfeel and a smooth finish. The Head is excellent and lingers throughout the drinking experience. The Aftertaste is nice vanilla and honey.

This is a fine, fine brew. I always love those vanilla and honey braus and this is one of the better ones. With their name and label, they set a high bar for themselves, and I am very pleased to say that they rocked right over that bar. See how it rates against other root beers.

4.5 Kegs

Jul 202016

A pint of Designation Root Beer from At Large Brewing Company This past weekend the family and I went to the Children’s Museum in Everett. Before we left I thought I’d check Google to see if any new breweries had popped up. The closest one was At Large Brewing Company. I gave them a call and they said they did have their own root beer on tap. It was only a 15 minute walk away, and the weather was nice, so off we went to get some brew. At Large Brewing has only been open since Memorial Day, and doesn’t yet have a proper restaurant. Their root beer is from a custom made Cascade Beer Candi Syrup flavor, which they then mix and carbonate at the brewery and serve on tap. It’s called Designation Root Beer for some reason. I should have asked. Their tap room is kid friendly and had a bean bag toss game. They also serve hot dogs and pretzels with plans to expand to a full restaurant some day.

The Body is sweet with a strong wintergreen flavor that has some bitter notes. It’s like those standard dark/old fashioned root beers without any licorice. The Bite is sharp and spicy, from clove I think. There is not really any Head at all, but there is good carbonation. The Aftertaste is more wintergreen that ends a little bitter.

This is okay, but a little one dimensional. It’s like half a root beer, a good half to be sure, but there should be a strong vanilla flavor or a (very) light licorice flavor or something to go with that wintergreen and clove. It’d make a nice float though, which they also serve there, so I can see this being a hit in that combo, but I think I’ll pass on it plain next time I’m in the neighborhood.

2.5/5 Root Beer Kegs

The At Large Brewing Company's Brewing Vats

The At Large Brewing Company’s Brewing Vats

The different taps. Root Beer is the far left.

The different taps. Root Beer is the far left.