Feb 222017
 

North Star Craft Soda Root Beer BottleAnother brew received in trade from that great root beer lover Tony. This comes out of Minnesota, if you couldn’t guess by the large silhouette of the state on the label. I’m not sure why the only star on the label happens to be on the south eastern corner of said state and not the north as the name would suggest. Another root beer mystery for the ages. Like why they had to use so many different fonts, or underline all of the ‘o’s. It is bottled by Whistler. It appears that this is just a different brand from the same company. The main point of this is non-returnable bottles as opposed to Whistler’s returnable bottles. Evidently, this is “crafted in teeny batches”. How small a batch does it have to be to qualify as teeny? A couple of bottles? A couple of cases? A couple of pallets? Either way, it doesn’t sound like they make much of this at a time. They also use “super filtered water” which is another term that’s as ambiguous as it is uncommon. It’s also made by a “handful” of people. I shudder to think what their recipe is like. Perhaps a bit of sugar, a tad of sassafras, a smidgen of cinnamon (it is a teeny batch after all).

The Body is sort of sour and fruity with a generic creamy root beer flavor. It has a Bite that is sour and sharp, which is not what I like. The Two-Second-Head doesn’t help it either. The Aftertaste is some nice vanilla with a slightly fruity tinge.

This root beer just fails to impress in every category. I wouldn’t drink it again and neither should you, but I will say that it is an improvement over the original Whistler, albeit much more generic. See how it rates against other root beers.

2.5/5 Root Beer Kegs




Feb 152017
 

Farmer's Brew Butterscotch Root Beer BottleThis root beer is a tribute. A tribute to the Farmer’s Brewery in Shawano, WI. It was made by a group of farmers in 1908. They build a sweet looking brick building, which is pictured on the label bordered by sweet metallic printing, and got to brewing beers. Prohibition put a stop to their party, as it did to many a brewery, but after it was repealed, they brewed again. I wonder why they didn’t just make root beer during that time. In the 1940’s, however, they contracted to produce beer for another brewery out of Chicago, fell out of favor, and litigation ruled the day. Now the brewery stands empty, and has since 1950. The root beer is made by Twig’s Beverage, also in Shawano. I got this in the same shipment of the Twig’s. It’s another butterscotch root beer, something so common these days I don’t even find it exciting anymore.

The Body is pretty weak on the standard root beer flavors but does feature decent butterscotch. It’s a little fruity too. Too much citric acid perhaps? The Bite is adequate in carbonation though lacking in spice and is a little harsh. The Head, well, is the Two Second Head. The Aftertaste is some fruity butterscotch.

This is without a doubt the worst butterscotch root beer I’ve had so far. Not only isn’t it a good root beer, it fails to impress as even a plain butterscotch soda. More proof that butterscotch root beer is completely mainstream, bad versions of it are cropping up. See how it rates against other root beers.

2.5/5 Root Beer Kegs




Feb 082017
 

Swamp Pop Filé Root Beer Bottle Getting this brew was frustrating. When it first came out they listed Cost Plus World Market as carrying it. I went to all of the ones in the area and they had every flavor of Swamp Pop except for the root beer. They were uncertain if they had merely sold out or never had it to begin with. After awhile it became evident that they didn’t have any and wouldn’t. So I emailed the company. They replied back that The Root Beer Store had it. But the people at the Root Beer Store didn’t have it and hadn’t even heard of it. So I was left wondering what to do and finally gave up and drank lots of other root beers. Then one day, I was at The Root Beer Store and they had it. Finally. This comes from down in Louisiana in the heart of Cajun country. It’s made with filé powder, which, if you don’t know, is ground sassafras leaves. It’s used for gumbo and other Cajun cooking. Since sassafras is a traditional root beer flavor (the roots anyways). The fine folks at Swamp Pop decided they should put it into their root beer to create “a flavor profile reminiscent of early, traditional root beers.”

This has a very sweet Body with an herbal, almost cola flavor. Vanilla stands out as well. There really isn’t much Bite other than the carbonation, but it isn’t overly smooth either. The Head is as good as it can be. So tall I have to pour with caution; lasting throughout the whole drinking experience. The Aftertaste is light and cola-ish. Is it from filé powder?

So really cola like and sweet. Not anything like the vast majority of root beers I’ve ever had. But, this reminds me of Barq’s, a lot. And Barq’s was made in the late 1800s and is also from Louisiana, so I’m thinking that this was their target from the beginning. It is better all around than Barq’s, plus it’s caffeine free, but it’s still a little too far outside of the standard root beer spectrum for me. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three kegs