GourmetRootBeer

Jun 012016
 

Bottle of Fest Pecan Root Beer From down in New Orleans comes one of the most unique takes on root beer that I’ve ever seen. The fine people at Fest decided to make a Pecan Root Beer in addition to some other awesome sounding flavors, like an almond cola and a bourbon cream soda. Each of these also has a “proper” name, after some jazz influence from the city. These names are to be used by those that are truly hip and jive to the inner beat of the city. The root beer’s name is Papa Joe, after the jazz pioneer Joe Oliver, who was better known as King Oliver. And if that’s got you confused it’s because your too much of a square to realize that Louis Armstrong, who was mentored by King Oliver, called him Papa Joe. That’s how on the level the cats at Fest are, and they’ve got a root beer to prove it.

The Body is very sweet and has strong caramel pecan notes over a medium sassafras flavor. The Bite is lacking in spice yet not smooth. It does have a good carbonation level. The Head is very tall but has no staying power and is gone before the first few sips are taken. The Aftertaste is a wonderful vanilla praline flavor that lasts the right amount of time.

I like this take on root beer. I’ve often though that a nut flavored brew might be the way to go and this has shown that it really is. Unfortunately, there’s still some depth that’s missing in this brew, so I can’t quite give it the Seal. I do recommend giving a Papa Joe a try, since you’ll never try another root beer like it. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three and a half kegs




May 252016
 

Bottle of XTZ Root Beer Riot Another very early root beer from my collection. My friend Michael brought it back from Seattle for me when I was still in high school. This was also the first energy drink root beer that I ever had. And do they want you to know that this is an energy drink. They even yell it at you in all caps with an exclamation mark. They also point out that “it’s energy^2” which doesn’t make a lot of sense from a physics point of view. I mean what is a W^2h^2 anyway? It has some strange ingredients like Maté, Betel Nut, and Gotu Kola to name a few. For the longest time I thought it was X Root Beer Riot since there’s a big X on it. The actual name XTZ is only on the cap. I’m not sure why they call this a root beer riot, but bucking conventions like sensible naming seems to be what these guys are all about.

The Body is weak at best but the Head is good. The Bite if any can only be described as weird. The Aftertaste is a strange combination of ginseng and other herbal stuff that tastes like medicine.

This stuff is plain awful. It made me feel ill drinking it and was difficult to choke it all down (but I did, because I always do *shudder*). I finally understand the name. Giving this to the masses would incite a root beer riot as they would both be appalled by what had been foisted on them as root beer and they demanded something proper. The bottle is not even that pretty. See how it rates against other root beers.

Half a root beer keg.




May 222016
 

Some Old Brews Sometimes we wish we could go back and capture an opportunity that we’ve missed. Sometimes those opportunities are root beers that we wished we’d bought when we saw them on sale. Sometimes, years later, we find those vintage bottles and wonder, could this really be a second chance? Often I’ve had those thoughts, yet I’ve never bought those old bottles that you see sometimes on Ebay and the like, figuring that they’d be long past the date where they’d taste remotely like they originally did. But a month ago someone posted on a Facebook group that he had a bunch of root beers, only 10 years old. I spied some that I’d missed, Hires, Journey Great Northern, and Sonora. He said they were only $10. Which sounded like quite the deal. With shipping it should only be around $20 which isn’t too much to risk unreviewably old brews. Maybe one or more would still be good. I told him that I’d buy them. After some back and forth about Payment the final total came to $40, which I wasn’t very pleased about. I mean, I know you can ship flat rate USPS for only $12, so his initial $10 had ballooned into $28 which is way more than I wanted to pay for such a thing, but I figured I’d go through with it anyways.

The first one I tried was the Journey. Journey brews have always been horrible, so maybe the horribleness of being really old would be indistinguishable from it’s original flavor and I could get a review from it. The first thing I noticed was that there was no carbonation left. It didn’t smell like root beer either. It tasted fruity and syrupy and utterly unlike root beer. The flavor can best be described as when you get a snow cone with every flavor of syrup, let it melt, and then drink the results. Not good at all, and clearly not what it originally tasted like. It wasn’t reviewable. What a disappointment. I pressed on though, and tried Hires, with similar results. Oh well.

Sonora seemed like it wasn’t quite as old. There was still some carbonation and a hint of vanilla amongst the snow cone syrup flavor. Still way gross and still not root beer. I’d like to say it was a waste, but it wasn’t, it was very informative. Now I wonder what some of those vintage bottles from the ’60’s taste like, snow cone syrup, or something different all together. Is it the fate of all old root beers to eventually degrade to the same strange state? At what age to they stop changing? I intend to find out, but not immediately, I’ve got real root beers to drink. But fear not, I’ll get to the bottom of this, for science, and for the love of root beer.