Jul 212021

The Dorothy Molter Museum Interpretive Center
The last weekend in June I took a road trip with the family to the north of Minnesota. Our final destination was Ely and top on the list of things to see there was the Dorothy Molter, aka The Root Beer Lady, museum. Dorothy lived out in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness on the Isle of Pines where she ran a resort. They used to have pop flown in by float plane but after that was banned she started using the empty bottles to make root beer for her guests. Eventually the area was designated by the federal government as wilderness, but Dorothy was allowed to keep living there, where she still made thousands of bottles of root beer every year for the canoeists that would visit. After her death, her cabins were relocated to the museum site.

I’ve written about her root beer before, and while it’s not by any means my favorite, I must acknowledge anyone who devotes so much of their lives to making root beer in the wilderness that they earn the title The Root Beer Lady. The museum itself is quite nice. The interpretive center and gift shop opens to a trail with her cabins and artifacts. Mostly focused on her life, but also the history of the Boundary Waters area. They also have a lot of her original root beer making equipment. The Dorothy Isle of Pines Root Beer is said to be as close a recreation of her root beer as possible.

The gift shop has not only bottles of her branded root beer, but also many other root beer candies and products, many of which I’d never seen (look for future posts). The whole place is wonderful, informative, and very much root beer themed, making it a site to which any true root beer fan should make pilgrimage.

Dorothy’s root beer making equipment. They actually have root beer making lessons here.

The Point Cabin. Where guests stayed in the summer.

The Point Cabin. Where guests stayed in the summer.

The winter cabin

The Winter Cabin. Where Dorothy stayed during the winter.

The gift shop

The gift shop

Jun 162021

The Museum of Root Beer

Memorial Day weekend I found myself road tripping to Wisconsin Dells for the grand opening of the Museum of Root Beer. If you remember, I posted about their Kickstarter, which was successful, and May 29th was the grand opening party.

The museum is paired with Root Beer Revelry, a soda shop featuring about 150 different kinds of soda with a bar and 4 types of draft root beer on tap. A couple dozen Kickstarter supporters and root beer enthusiasts from all over the US, though mostly the Midwest had gathered to celebrate. Several people brought local brews to share, I brought a case of Glewwe’s Castle Brewery cause it’s amazing. After some remarks, the ribbon was cut and the party began. The brews flowed like water, the snacks were plentiful, many online friends were met, and a young virtuoso enthralled us by an impressive rendition of Root Beer Rag. It was a truly unforgettable experience. I probably drank close to half a gallon by the end of the evening.

The museum itself is largely the combination of several people’s private collections of paraphernalia and is organized is several exhibits, such as root beer media, root beer bottles, root beer mascots, root beer advertisements, and root beer products. It’s a wonderful look at the cultural history and significance of America’s unique beverage. Add to it the tasty brews on tap and for purchase, and you have a must visit destination for every root beer lover. I’m grateful for all who worked together to make it happen and glad I could play a small part of it all. I definitely plan on dropping by whenever I’m in town.

Opening remarks in Root Beer Revelry before the ribbon cutting.

The root beer mugs and kegs exhibit

The bottles and cans exhibit

May 152019

A&W of Lodi

I have some beef with CCR. For while they have some classics, they also wrote the song Lodi, where they maligned the birthplace of arguably the most iconic root beer in existence. I don’t care how bad the rest of the town may be. You can’t speak ill of the place where A&W was born. Yet, despite me often traveling to near Lodi, I’d never gone to the sacred birthplace of this amazing brew. So two weeks ago, when I was in Sacramento for work, I took an evening to drive the hour south to get a draft from its birthplace.

The original stand, built in 1919, is no longer there, sadly. Only a small plaque on the sidewalk marks the spot of the original stand. But nearby is a very old A&W Drive-in that still offers curbside service. It was to this drive in that I went for dinner and a brew. The inside is like a small A&W museum, with a display case full of artifacts and memorabilia, with more along the walls. They sell a lot of cool merch as well to their delicious food, of I bought a shirt and some mugs. Truly Lodi and their A&W Drive-in is a place to where every true root beer devotee must make pilgrimage. And so a new a new category to this blog must be added. Root Beer Pilgrimages. For there are many other such places that need to be visited and blogged about.

The display case of A&W relics

The display case of A&W relics

A&W of Lodi wall

Wall displays are everywhere.

Picture of Roy Allen and old A&Ws

Picture of Roy Allen and old A&Ws

The merchandise display

The merchandise display. I may have bought too much.

A tasty meal with delicious root beer!