Jun 192019

A pint of Lake Superior Brewing Root Beer Day two of the Duluth family adventure. We went walking around the shopping district on the lakefront, went to some parks, and went to the Aquarium. It’s a fun aquarium, all freshwater themed, let’s you pet sturgeon and stuff like that. But then it was root beer time. I’d heard Bent Paddle Brewery had some amazing root beer on tap. They do, it’s 1919. Quality stuff that, but I wanted something new!!! So I went to Lake Superior Brewing Company, because I knew they had Roller Root Beer. Lake Superior Brewery was founded in 1995. Before craft brewing was “cool”, according to them. After we got there, however, we were informed that they’d sold out the night before. What a disappointment. I despondently asked if he knew another brewery that had root beer. He responded that Ursa Minor Brewery, a short walk away, carried their root beer! Huzzah! So off to Ursa Minor for root beer.

The Body has a dark sassafras flavor and is rich and complex. There’s slight hints of vanilla and wintergreen and licorice, but the vanilla is barely noticeable. The Bite is decent, with a nice mix of spices and a smooth finish. It’s got a great Head as well. Nice and foamy. The Aftertaste is slightly bitter, with some honey notes.

It’s pretty good but the overall flavor profile isn’t really my style. Better than Fitger’s though, so there’s that. I forgot to ask them why it’s called Roller Root Beer. So I’m gonna just go with it’s an arbitrary name that they like.

Three and a half kegs

The Lake Superior Brew Kettle, where all the brews, even the root beer, are made.

The Lake Superior Brewing Company Taproom Taps

Jun 122019

A pint of Fitger's Driftwood Root Beer This past weekend I took a little weekend excursion with the family to see Duluth, MN. There’s lots of cool things up in Duluth and they’d never seen a great lake before. But let’s be honest, there were breweries up there and I needed to try root beer. Friday night dinner destination was Fitger’s Brewhouse. Fitger’s Brewing Company was at one point the oldest continuous operating brewery in the state of Minnesota, having been founded in 1859. However, in 1972, it fell victim to post war consolidation, and shuttered its doors. In 1995, the historic brewery building was converted into a mall with various shops and restaurants and Fitger’s Brewhouse, a small brewpub. In addition to a line of their own beers, they also make Driftwood Root Beer.

The Body is sweet and creamy and a bit minty. It has a classic sassafras flavor but not a lot of additional flavors. The Bite is mild. There’s not a lot of spice or fizz. It is nice and smooth though, which is good. There really isn’t much Head at all, despite their best efforts to get me some. The Aftertaste is light with some bitter hints.

It’s a decent brew, nothing special though. It could really use a lot more in every department, but it’s still good enough to go with the meal. The food there, however, was rather disappointing. I had an Elk burger and my wife got their smoked trout wrap, and neither of them were particularly great. Maybe it was a bad night, or we picked the wrong thing, but yeah, I came away feeling the whole thing was rather overpriced for the quality. Maybe just get the root beer if you must and eat somewhere else.

Three kegs

The Fitger’s Brewery Complex

The view from my table. I do like being surrounded by brew vats.

Half an elk burger and half a smoked trout wrap. It wasn’t bad, but like the root beer, not anything special.

Jun 052019

Growler of Rocket Fizz Double Barrel Root BeerI’m sure you’ve all been thinking, Eric, you never review growler root beers anymore, and you know what, you’re not the only one thinking that. The fine folks at Rocket Fizz, who never tire of creating new root beers and ways to package them seem to be thinking the same, so they released a new brew and a waxed sealed growler so someone like yours truly could come and do that type of review. Why thank you Rocketfizz. This is called Double Barrel Root Beer, which I guess is continuing their hunting theme introduced with the Dad-Gum-It!. Now the only problem with Rocket Fizz’s continued gifts to root beer reviewers is the lack of any of their shops in the state of Minnesota where I currently reside. Enter that great root beer collector Vince to save the day! He graciously sent me the growler in trade for some of my Canadian bounty. Thanks Vince, from the bottom of my heart.

The Body is rich and complex and dark. There’s some wintergreen and some other flavor I can’t place that doesn’t really ruin it but doesn’t quite work either. The Bite’s OK, but nothing extraordinary. Vanilla comes through in the Aftertaste and it’s really quite good.

On the whole it’s not my favorite flavor profile but isn’t really bad, per se. I was on the fence for 2.5 and 3 but hey it was Christmas time so I broke for 3, you know, as a Christmas present and all. I mean, it did compliment roasted chestnuts pretty well.

Three kegs