Mar 172015

Tommyknocker and Polar
Some people hate staying the same. They eschew tradition and continuity in favor of change. The principle offender in the root beer world of this is Tommyknocker, having changed its name twice and its recipe four times in the last 10 years. So why would they keep with a good Seal of Approval formula? This time their “New Root Beer” is gone, replaced by an All Natural Root Beer, and since they changed the name they figured they shuffle the ingredients a bit, adding things like citric acid and deciding it’s wiser to put more Organic Root Beer Flavor than Caramel Color. So a new name, a new recipe, means new reviews for folks that do that sort of thing.

Polar, the makers of Polar Classics Premium Root Beer was so inspired that they decided to change their label, name, and recipe too. Like adding more sugar and getting rid of their artificial ingredients. Now root beer reviewers everywhere can rejoice that there are two new brews to try and write about. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some root beer to drink.

Mar 112015

Central Coast Brewing Company Old Fashioned Root Beer Bottle This one’s pretty unique is that it comes from a small brewery and it’s actually bottled. Many, many breweries make their own root beer, but few of them go to the trouble of bottling it. Even fewer put it in only 22 ounce bottles so it’s of epic root beer proportions. I’ve had exactly one other type of root beer in a 22 ounce bottle at the time of writing this, also from California coincidentally. I heard about it from another website and sent them an email asking to order some. I waited for a long time and gave up on them. Then a couple of months later they responded saying that my email was in their spam folder. That’s the problem with putting the website url in my signature I’m sure. Oh well. I got a six-pack which is pretty massive. On reading the label I noticed that it said “No Preservatives – Keep Refrigerated” Which is also something you seldom encounter with a root beer. It was nice though because my wife only likes to drink natural, non-preserved root beer, so I could share some of each bottle with her. My mug is only 20 ounces after all and though the ingredients and nutritional information isn’t labeled anywhere, I figured it’s close enough to being all natural.

The Body is somewhat rich with a full sassafras flavor complimented by some light vanilla and wintergreen hints. The Bite is very nice with a bit of spice that I can’t place and some carbonation burn. The Head is very tall but only moderately frothy. It fizzes down quickly but the last bit lingers awhile. The Aftertaste is light vanilla and wintergreen that vanishes seconds after you swallow. It’s the biggest flaw in this I feel.

This is pretty middle of the road as far as root beers go. It doesn’t really take any chances in the flavor department so probably the majority of root beer fans will find it pleasant enough. Though it’s an all around solid brew, it doesn’t really move me the way my favorites do. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three and a half kegs

Mar 042015

Old Soaker Root Beer BottleFor a brewery that only started in 1995, I’m really surprised they were able to get the name they did. I mean, the Atlantic Ocean is pretty big and borders a lot of states and towns which have existed for hundreds of years. And you mean to tell me, that in all that time, in all of those places, no one thought of naming their brewery after the gigantic ocean next to them? You’d think that name would have been snapped up in colonial times. But it wasn’t. And even for The Atlantic Brewing Company, it wasn’t their first choice. Go figure. The Old Soaker part is a treacherous granite ledge that is only visible at low tide which has lead to the sinking of many a ships probably, hopefully. If it didn’t I’d wonder why they called it the Soaker. I really like the label. It seems there are more and more ships on the labels lately.

The Body is sweet and creamy with vanilla and caramel hints, but it doesn’t taste quite complete. There’s something missing that should be in there that I just can’t place. The Bite is solid and spicy with a smooth finish. The Head is phenomenal! It’s so tall and frothy I couldn’t pour the whole bottle at once. The Aftertaste is light vanilla and something slightly bitter, not my favorite.

This kind of reminds me of the Intergalactic Root Beer, in that it doesn’t taste whole. It is a decent brew with some bonus points for that amazing Head, but it just feels lacking in some way. The slightly bitter Aftertaste is also a drawback. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three and a half kegs