Sep 022020
 

BJ's Handcrafted Root Beer Bottle I remember back in 2014 I serendipitously discovered BJ’s and their root beer. Jump forward to 2017 and they started bottling it, but I had just moved away from any state that had a BJ’s and I was left to wonder if I should ever get a chance to try it again. Especially since I’d learned that they’d reformulated their recipe to have all natural flavors, including alginate, my very favorite ingredient! They have a very cool bottle too, with important dates in their root beer history on the back, which makes it easy for me to throw out facts without even needing to type key words into Google. So convenient. Anyhow, I was all locked down by Covid and the helpful Root Beer Tracker was able to make it to the post office and get some out to me. So finally, I could give it a review.

The Body is sweet with a little vanilla and a generic creamy root beer flavor. The Bite is rather lacking without any real spices to speak of. The Head is quite tall and foamy but does fizz down a little too quickly. The Aftertaste is a mild vanilla, cane sugar, and sassafras mix.

This is a nice middle of the road brew that everyone will enjoy but no one will rave about. It seems a little weaker than I remember from on tap, but has a better Head. I think all in all, it rates about the same. Good job at least BJ’s there are plenty worse brews out there. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three and a half kegs




Aug 052020
 

Sprecher Maple Root Beer Bottle Sprecher is at it again. I don’t think there’s been another brand that’s given me as many posts, except for maybe Tommyknocker, but while they do it in all the wrong ways (changing a recipe over and over and over making it progressively worse), Sprecher is just making new and innovative products and flavors, building off of the success of their flagship brew. I seriously want to drive to their brewery one of these days and personally thank them for their positive contributions to the root beer world. Maybe after Covid is done. It’s only one state away. So this time they’re making a maple root beer, which is probably may favorite type of “flavor” root beer. This is made with pure Wisconsin maple syrup, much like their flagship brew is made with raw Wisconsin honey. If it’s anything like their flagship, it will be amazing.

The Body is dark and minty and really sweet. Maple syrup is noticeable after the initial sassafras and wintergreen start to fade. It’s smooth but not creamy, and there’s a distinct lack of vanilla which I feel would accent the maple far better than wintergreen. The Bite is very smooth, but lacking in spices. The Head is very tall with nice staying power. The Aftertaste is wintergreen and maple, an unexpected combo which works better than I would expect.

So that was rather unexpected. They made it a dark and minty type with the added flavor of maple syrup. I’ve never had anything like that before, and after nearly 450 root beers, that’s pretty impressive. Yet, I just don’t think it works quite right. Those flavors of maple and wintergreen kind of clash and it makes for a brew that’s interesting, but not quite top notch. Sorry Sprecher, you didn’t quite pull it off this time. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three and a half kegs




Jul 012020
 

Schilo's Root Beer BottleSeal of Approval This past February, I was back in San Antonio for DistribuTECH, which is there every few years. I did my standard morning routine, which involved breakfast at Schilo’s (I’m always manning the booth these days) which was usually breakfast tacos and a mug of their impeccable root beer. This time I noticed something I never had before, bottles. I asked and heard that they’d started bottling just in December. Supposedly the same recipe but what about those egg whites? It doesn’t say. Anyways, I got a six pack’s worth so I could send them out to some people I owe some brews. TSA, the ever useless and disgusting agency, decided to completely rip a label off of one of the bottles for “testing” I’m sure, so sadly one of the collectors I had in mind was deprived of a bottle. Seriously, how does TSA continue to exist? Nobody likes them at all. But I digress. The burning question, would this be as good as on draft?

The Body is rich and creamy with a sweet sassafras core bathed in copious amounts of luscious vanilla. It truly exemplifies root beer. The Bite as a nice level of spice and carbonation with a smooth finish. The Head is amazingly tall and lasts longer than any I can remember. The Aftertaste is sweet, spiced vanilla.

This brew is truly amazing. It’s pretty much the same great stuff you’d get on draft, though the draft stuff is a bit fresher with a cleaner flavor. This is pretty negligible difference, but you know, I notice these things. Still, top notch, like just the slightest bit of something extra (maybe some honey, a little extra spice?) would push this into solid 5 (I may be too stingy with those) category. But it’s just right on the line. My recommendation. Find this brew, drink it, and rise to that next level of root beer appreciation to which it guides you. See how it rates against other root beers.

4.5 Kegs