Jan 302015
 

Root Beer Bowl XLIX
It’s that time of year when the Super Bowl comes upon us. The biggest TV event in the US and massive celebrations shall ensue. Being from the Seattle area, this is especially exciting to see the Seahawks return as defending champions. There are many wacky ways that have been used to predict the winner, from rabbits, puppys, porcupines, search engines, and video game simulations. These are of course all rubbish. The most accurate predictor is one that I’ve known for years but only now make public. It is the Root Beer Bowl Predictor. Look at the three best bottled root beers from the respective teams’ larger home zone, Seattle area for the Seahawks, all of Massachusetts for the Patriots, and see the combined ratings. The keg difference in the rating multiplied by touchdowns gives the spread. The best root beer will win. Every time. Without question. Seriously.

So let’s get on to the teams. The team “captain” in this case is the highest rated brew from the city proper. For Seattle this is the Seal of Approval rated Jones Root Beer coming in at the lowest 4 kegs. The rest of the Seahawks’ root beer team comes from a 20 minute drive to the north in Mukilteo, WA, where Orca beverages makes the near peerless Bulldog Root Beer and the solid Brownie Caramel Cream Root Beer. This gives a team rating of 12.5 with nothing but Seal of Approval brews.

For the Patriots the captain is Emack & Bolio’s Rock It Root Beer. Very delicious but a poor Head relegates it to a mere 3.5. The rest Patriots’ Root Beer team line up comes from from Worcester, MA. The first is Polar Classics Root Beer with a respectable 3.5. Their final member is a sleeper, Ginseng UP, but not the Ginseng UP name brand root beer (which I haven’t reviewed yet), but their default private label recipe that they supply to the world’s private labelers. A Seal of Approval brew at 4 kegs. Then the Patriots’ final lineup gives them 11.

Prediction: Though the Patriots have a strong root beer lineup, it isn’t enough to overcome Seattle’s all-star lineup. I see the Seahawks winning this by 10 points. GO SEAHAWKS!!!

Root Beer Bowl Team Lineups:
Seattle: Jones – 4; Bulldog – 4.5; Brownie Caramel Cream – 4 = 12.5
Boston: Rockit – 3.5; Ginseng UP – 4, Polar – 3.5 = 11


Aug 042014
 

SuperCharger
Two weeks ago I went to TMC Connect, the Tesla Motors Club conference and expo. If you’ve followed this blog, you’ll know that a lot of the draft root beers have been found while I was at conferences related to electric cars, being the expert that I am. So anyways, I was a panelist at TMC Connect and I had to find a way to Monterey, CA. I posted on the forum that if anyone wanted to carpool down, I would buy all of the electricity needed to get there. This was a joke, since Teslas can charge for free at the Superchargers. Either way, a fine fellow by the name of Paul driving from Vancouver, BC agreed to take me down.

The road trip experience in a Tesla is far different than what I was experienced with while growing up. In my youth we’d push and push, stopping only for gas and ten minute bathroom breaks. We’d cover a lot of miles but never really know much about what was in between Point A and Point B. Interestingly, for much of those trips Point A was in Washington and Point B was Sacramento. On this particular trip Sacramento was also our first stop over and I was thus fully able to appreciate the differences between the traditional road trip experience and the Tesla road trip of the future. Instead of pushing though, you need to stop every 150 miles or so to get a 30 minute charge. It was then that I realized that a Tesla with supercharging is the perfect for root beer hunting. Many of the superchargers were in places where craft root beers could be found.

Hop Valley Brewing Company near the Tesla Supercharger in Springfield Oregon

Hop Valley Brewing Company near the Tesla Supercharger in Springfield Oregon

Not far from the Centralia charger is Dick’s Brewery. Further south in Springfield the Hop Valley Brewery right next to the supercharger had their own root beer. There are several other breweries in Springfield and though I didn’t look to see if they had their own since I had already found one. In Grant’s Pass I was told that Wild River had their own root beer, and at the next stop in Mount Shasta I found Etna Brewing Company Root Beer at the supermarket near the supercharger. And these are just a few that are in the towns connected by superchargers on I-5. I’m sure that there were more places I could have found along the way, but root beer hunting was not the main objective of the trip, and I’d already had good success. None of these places we’d ever even stop in when I was a kid driving to Sacramento, and many cool experiences were likely lost. While it does take longer to road trip in an EV, I think the experience is far superior, as it forces you to enjoy everything in between.

Additionally, the idea of extremely cheap to free travel suddenly makes root beer questing guilt free and enjoyable. There are numerous breweries and root beer stands only a few hours from me but the cost doesn’t seem to justify a solo trip. With an EV, especially a Tesla, that isn’t a concern. It is my opinion that the future of automobiles is EVs, and as far as root beer questing is concerned, it’s going to be a great future indeed.


Dec 162013
 

Root Beer cans and bottles in Saudi Arabia
This last week I had the immense pleasure of traveling to Dhahran in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to do more electric car academic things, presentations and a thesis defense. I of course was on the look out for the greatest soft drink the world has and ever will known/know. I was simultaneously hopeful and worried. Hopeful, because all alcoholic beverages are banned and so many beer companies make 0.0% malt beverage to sell there, and worried because none of my Saudi friends have ever liked root beer. And also because the internet filter put on by the government blocked my site. I assume it is due to the “beer” in the title of Eric’s Gourmet Root Beer Site and all of the talking of root “beer”. I did send an unblock request explaining the misconception so hopefully it will be taken care of soon. Either way, it didn’t bode well for root beer finding.

I searched in every grocery store and cafe I encountered, and while I did find many new and strange sodas and malt beverages, root beer eluded me until the second to last day. I had gone to Safeway in search of a post card (also something nigh impossible to find). In the soda section I saw cans of imported A&W, my heart was swollen with joy, but not as much as when I turned the corner and saw another display with bottles of IBC. A drinkable gourmet root beer in a regular grocery store. A most triumphant win for the good people of the Kingdom this is. With any luck it will catch on and they’ll start making their own version for me to review. Until then, all root beer lovers heading out that way for extended periods of time can rest easy in the knowledge that some gourmet brew is awaiting.