Jun 292016

LostRhino_Big From the Lost Rhino Brewery in Virginia comes this brew. This is named after big wave seeking surfers (rhino chasers) and not extinct subspecies of Rhinocerotidae as the name and label seem to imply. Indeed the ghostly black silhouette of the rhino hoisting a gushing keg of brew on its back is almost whispering, “Pour out a keg in honor of our dear West African Black brethren who are no more, and our Northern White brethren soon to follow. This root beer’s for you…” Wow, that’s really sad now that I’ve written it. The travesty that is the disappearance of this horned mega-fauna was not lost on the brewers either, and they actively donate a portion of their proceeds to conservation efforts and rhino sanctuaries. Thus the solemn label leads to good things. It comes in a rhino-sized 22 oz bottle (see that Hippo Size? That’s how it’s done) that has a rhino shaped bar code with a surfboard on its back. I didn’t even know you were allowed to make a non rectangular bar code. One final interesting fact, the brewers were some of the original brewers at the original Old Dominion Brewery, before it moved from Virginia.

This has a very dark Body with prominent licorice and wintergreen flavors. There’s a bit of honey buried in there as well, but you really have to search. Additionally, it really isn’t very sweet for a root beer. The Bite is rather mild with a little spice and light carbonation. The Head is medium-short but with good staying power. It just needs more carbonation. The Aftertaste is licorice and wintergreen that turns a little bitter.

This really isn’t my style. It might appeal to the folks who really love the licorice wintergreen brews with low carbonation, but not so much me. I prefer creamier stuff. See how it rates against other root beers.

2.5/5 Root Beer Kegs

Jun 222016

Pithy Little Root Beer BottleAh the Pithy Little Root Beer from the Pithy Little Soda Works from the Pithy Little Wine Company. As you can tell, I love saying Pithy Little. This brew was provided by the magnanimous anthony even though he seems to view me as his greatest existential threat since capital letters, for some reason … evidently. The pithy little label has got a rather classic look with a bottle cap and bubbles, though it’s all black and white. I really think it could use some color, it just looks like it should have some colors in there. In case you don’t know what pithy means, they helpfully provide the dictionary definition for you as “1. concise and forcefully expressive” I’m actually glad they provide that, because there’s another definition of pithy that I associate with roots and stuff “2. (of a fruit or plant) containing much pith.” Boy do I hate pithy radishes. So when I think of pithy and root, it’s generally definition 2. This is probably not something you’d want your root beer to be associated with. Pithy little roots, sounds so … not delicious. So them providing definition 1 was a very good idea.

The Body greats you with luscious, sweet vanilla and some caramel but then proves to be rather hollow after that. There really aren’t any other distinguishable flavors. The Bite is distinctly lacking, especially in the spice department. The Head is medium height but fizzes away quickly. The Aftertaste is more delicious vanilla.

I do love me some vanilla, but this really doesn’t have much else. It should be renamed to Pithy Little Vanilla, since that’s the only “concise and forcefully expressive” ingredient. It’s actually quite a fine soda, but falls short as a root beer. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three kegs

Jun 152016

Boylan's Natural Root Beer BottleSeal of Approval This is an extremely elusive brew. In fact, the company’s own website doesn’t even acknowledge it’s existence. Yet the signs are out there if you really look. If you search for this you can find some reviews and some cases for sale (at like $100 a case after shipping) such that it almost seems like it’s been discontinued. But it hadn’t. I searched far and wide to find just a few bottles. I even found a shop in Canada selling other Boylan’s Natural flavors but not the root beer for some reason (because the universe hates me sometimes). Finally, the great sage of sassafras gifted me two bottles out of his abundant beneficence. Strangely, unlike their regular root beer, which is just labeled as “Boylan” this is “Boylan’s” because forget logic and consistency.

The Body full of rich rooty flavors that are almost herbal. There’s some nice bourbon vanilla and spice in there as well to keep it from being too dark. The Bite is excellent with cinnamon the prominent spice. It’s strong enough to grab you, but not harshly. The Head is tallish with medium staying power; adequate. The Aftertaste is a lovely bourbon vanilla and cinnamon.

I’m impressed, I didn’t really think that their normal root beer was anything special but this has a lovely complexity of root beer goodness. Dare I say, this is the only time I’ve encountered a natural version that’s better than the regular version. Dear people at Boylan Bottling Works, stop hiding this from the world! See how it rates against other root beers.

4 kegs