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 182016

St John Brewers Root Beer BottleSeal of ApprovalMy first brew from the Virgin Islands! It’s kind of international since it isn’t from any of the States but kind of not since it’s from the US Virgin Islands. It was quite a bugger to get as the brewers themselves didn’t want to ship it. I had tried to trade with someone, but that fellow turned out to be the most dishonorable scum imaginable and so it ultimately didn’t happen. Then I found some truly goodhearted chaps who were going to send me a bottle but before they could I found it at a local store. Ah the virtues of patience. The label of this is simple and island themed. Though the tap on the tree is somewhat concerning; I hope they don’t have palm extracts in here, that could be … strange. The ingredients don’t list palm, but they do have a nice list of quality spices and flavorings which is very promising.

The Body is sweet and creamy and complex. There are some caramel notes and spice with solid sassafras and vanilla. The faintest hint of wintergreen surfaces as well. There is a strong Bite from the ample amounts of spice. The Head is massive and foamy. Each bottle would have foamed over had I poured the entire thing in at once. Additionally, after waiting a minute, I had to sip it down since it didn’t really go away. The Aftertaste is a caramel vanilla flavor with some notes of anise and mixed spices.

This brew is simply amazing! The many ingredients meld perfectly to give you a root beer that’s balanced and delicious. Add an impeccable Head and you’ve got one of the best brews I’ve ever had the pleasure of drinking. This was worth the wait. See how it rates against other root beers.

4.5 Kegs

May 112016

Stewart's Root Beer BottleI can’t remember where I found this but I know when I found it, the year at least. It was in 1999, a year after I’d started reviewing. I know because I have a 75th anniversary bottle that clearly says since 1924 and I can do math. It also says “Original” (aren’t they all) and “Cold-Brewed Draft”, which at first seems pretty cool until you start to think about it. Then it doesn’t really mean anything. Are they trying to say its style is cold-brewed draft (whatever that means)? They can’t be implying that the brew is a draft since it’s clearly bottled. Cold-brewing is a process for coffee, not soda or beer. Since it’s a mass produced root beer, it is most probably just a mixture of a bunch of different extracts. Calling such a procedure cold-brewing is politician like levels of stretching a definition. And thus it probably never was supposed to mean anything and is just more marketing buzzwords thrown on there to imply higher quality at a first glance and complete stupor of thought at a more rigorous examination … what was I doing again? Oh yes, reviewing a root beer.

This has a good Body, good Head, and a decent Bite. But, the Aftertaste is a weird one that lingers too long so that the more you drink the less you want.

And thus a truly average root beer continues to stand the test of time. No one will say that it’s nasty and I’m sure that no one, and I mean, NO ONE will say it’s the best. But it’s a root beer and without ones like this we wouldn’t be able to really appreciate the good ones now would we? See how it rates against other root beers.

Three kegs