Jul 232014

Jack Black's Dead Red Root Beer Bottle A pirate themed energy drink root beer, I’ve never seen one of those before. To be fair, I had this one first. At the time ordered it, I thought they were referencing one of my favorite comedy actors, who, to the best of my knowledge has never actually portrayed a pirate. The only other Jack Black was some pirate ghost from an old Disney series that had to go and save 100 lives to avoid damnation. I don’t think that’s what these guys are going for. It does seem a jolly scull and crossbones, so let’s just assume they were envisioning some sort of Nacho Libre prequel set on the high seas in a ship called the Dead Red with an awkward, incompetent captain (Jack Black) and a delinquent crew. Root beer would somehow be involved. Probably Jack Black’s favorite drink and the crew would always be doing something to it as part of a running gag. And then Jack would yell “Who’s been screwin’ with my brewin’?” or something like that. I’d definitely watch that movie. There are also many humorous sayings written on the bottle like “Second time available in 416 years” … okay, and “Better Dead Red than just plain Dead” which remains to be seen.

This has a nice sweet and creamy Body. After the initial contact however, there is a strange flavor that surfaces and takes away from beauty of the brew. The Bite is too strange. There is too much Guarana in it. The Head is alright. The Aftertaste is of vanilla and Guarana.

Well that is pleasantly surprising. These energy drink type root beers are usually frightening at best but that’s pretty decent. Not Seal of Approval good, but good enough to warrant an occasional bottle on International Talk Like A Pirate Day, for a Pirates of the Caribbean marathon, and similar type activities. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three and a half kegs

Jul 162014

A frosty mug of Hops Root Beer Last October I went to Washington DC for … reasons. As the usual routine demanded, I scanned Google Maps before the trip and found Hops Grill Brewery a mere 20 minute walk from the hotel I’d be staying in. Since my flight was to arrive at 6:20pm I knew where I would be eating dinner that night. Except my first flight was late just enough that I arrived at the gate of my connection just as it left. I was put on a later flight that wouldn’t arrive until 9:20pm. No biggie, Hops stays open until 11:20pm I’d still have plenty of time. Except that flight was 40 minutes late as well. By the time I got to the hotel, it was 10:25. I called Hops to make sure that if I arrived at 10:55 they’d still let me order, and took off running. I made it with 15 minutes to spare. After a glass of water and a few minutes of repose, I ordered my root beer.

The Body is dark and spicy with wintergreen and a little licorice. It is very rooty and reminds me of those old root beer barrel candies, you know, the ones with a slightly reddish wrapper. The Bite is spicy and while not harsh, it’s not smooth and kind of a sharp Bite. The Head is very tall and a decent froth level so it lasts awhile. The Aftertaste is wintergreen and a little licorice with bitter notes at the end.

So it’s not my favorite flavor profile, and bitter notes, while slight, are still bad. The super tall Head, though, compensates a bit. I’d put this at just barely drinkable, it was close though. Subsequent mugs with my meal reinforced this. I had fried catfish and ale onion rings which was delicious and worked with the spicy brew pretty well.

Three kegs

Fried catfish and ale onion rings. Delicious.

Fried catfish and ale onion rings. Delicious.

The brew vats add a nice atmosphere while dining.

The brew vats add a nice atmosphere while dining.

The bar is in an island in the middle of the restaurant.

The bar is in an island in the middle of the restaurant.

Jul 092014

A frosty mug of BuckSnort Root Beer Two weeks ago I went to Boise to visit my sister. This trip had been a long time coming, as I had never visited her there and she move there over four years ago. Keeping with my latest trend, whenever I go somewhere new I find a root beer to review. This time it was easy because someone had alerted me to the existence of BuckSnort (yes, I know the CamelCase name is annoying but that’s how they do it on their website) some time back and I knew it could be found in Boise. I swear that wasn’t the reason I finally made it down there. Really I do. We got it in some place called Pizzalchick which makes pizza and chicken. They even have an elk pizza because that’s what people do in Idaho. I went with my brother-in-law and we picked up some pizza and had a brew at the bar before going back.

The Body is not very sweet. I’d say one of the least sweet brews I’ve had. It kind of has a darker flavor like a root beer barrel candy but not quite that strong. It’s a little bitter as well. The Bite is very spicy with what I want to say is cassia but I really don’t know. There isn’t much fizz in though. The Head is rather unimpressive; short and fizzes away quicker than it should. The Aftertaste is light sassafras with some bitter spice.

I don’t really like this much at all. I prefer a sweeter brew that isn’t so bitter. The owner of Pizzalchick (seriously, what’s with the names around here) showed up and as I commented on the root beer he said that it was completely organic and the most organic root beer we could get with real sassafras and vanilla. Conspicuously missing from his testimony was anything resembling praise for the taste of the brew, and I don’t blame him. The pizza there is good, but skip this.

2 out of 5 root beer kegs