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




Jun 242020
 

A pints of Barney's Drive-In Root BeerSeal of Approval This past Saturday I had to get out. This lockdown stuff since March, I’m going a little crazy not having the life of travel adventures anymore. At the same time, I recognize that I need to be safe about things and stay away from people as much as possible. I know restaurants are starting to open but only for take-out, and I thought, there’s gotta be some root beer stand out there where you can just grab your food, eat on a picnic table or something. A little searching and sure enough, an hour an a half south of me, in the town of Waseca, I found Barney’s Drive-In. They still do car hops and have some picnic tables out in the sun for those who don’t want to eat in their cars (I for one am not eating in my new Tesla). Plus they make their own root beer and serve in frosty mugs. Exactly what I was looking for. So after walking around some lakeside parks in Waseca for a bit, I pulled into the drive-in and ordered root beer and a Coney dog. Now they have three sizes of root beer, but only the medium comes in a glass pint mug, the small and large come in plastic mugs, for some reason. They also let you order half gallons and gallons to take home. This is a root beer stand in every sense of the word. I, of course, got the medium glass mug.

The Body is extremely sweet with that classic root beer stand flavor which entails a lot of vanilla and some spices. Those spices make for a nice Bite when coupled with the good carbonation. It also finishes quite smooth. The Head is medium height decently frothy, if you ask them to make it that way. The Aftertaste is sweet, creamy vanilla that lasts and lasts.

Excellent brew. Just what I have been missing in my life lately. It might be a little too sweet, and could use some more complexity, but still, amazing stuff that I’d quaff to my heart’s content. Thankfully (sadly?) they don’t give free refills or I’d probably have drank myself sick. The foot long bacon cheese Coney was amazing too. This place is a must visit for all root beer and classic fast food lovers.

4 kegs




Barney's Drive-In

Barney’s Drive-In

The Barney's Drive-In Sign

The Barney’s Drive-In Sign

A bacon cheese foot-long Coney dog with a mug of root beer

A bacon cheese foot-long Coney dog with a mug of root beer. There is no better summer road trip food.

Jun 032020
 

Rusted Rodeo Mad Cowboy Root Beer BottleSeal of Approval This was a Christmas present from my lovely wife. Remember that the best presents are root beer. Always, forever. Especially if it’s a brand new root beer. Rusted Rodeo Craft Soda is a recent startup out of Wyoming, that only sells directly to customers, so if you don’t live near Gillette, WY (which statistically is basically everyone), you’ll need to mail order. This root beer is their flagship soda, with flavor text of “a bold, courageous, adventure-seeking, 8 second kin of guy … he’s a mad cowboy” that’s written in about 5 different font sizes. The ingredients are similarly written in different font sizes, and I doubt they listed them in order, or else this has more natural roots than carbonated water in it. It also has a rather unique bottle, which rather fun. Now, the brew itself?

The Body is complex and earthy with honey, sarsaparilla, and herb flavors mingling to give a very unique root beer that’s still not too far off of the expected flavor to come across as weird. It’s quite refreshing and not overly sweet, but well balanced and layered. There’s a notable spice Bite with clove standing out, but it’s on the milder, smoother side with a nice smooth finish. The Head is second to none. It stays forever and foams up like crazy. It’s basically perfect, so pour with caution or you’ll be waiting for a while before you can finish your pour. The Aftertaste is a nice spiced honey with faint sarsaparilla that leaves you feeling refreshed.

This is a very nice brew, a little different than your standard, archetypal root beer, but still satisfying in nearly every way. Now my only real complaint is the name. This is a quality, fine, complex and refreshing soda which is a pleasure to sip and enjoy. None of that connotes some crazy adventure-seeking mad cowboy. More like the mad cowboy’s grandfather, lazily rocking on his back porch, with a fresh batch of the family brew, enjoying the sunset while the roots and spices mingle and caress his tongue. See how it rates against other root beers.

4 kegs