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 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




May 062020
 

Real Sugar Soda Vintage Root Beer Bottle Another brew from my good pal Rick. This one is from Oak Cliff, Texas. Real Sugar Soda. Evidently for them, real sugar means cane sugar, which I’m sure the beet producers in Michigan would take issue with. Heck, I even consider corn syrup as “real” sugar, inasmuch as it isn’t some artificial sweetener. But cane sugar is trendy these days, so it makes sense. They’ve been around since 2009, yet I’ve never heard of this root beer, and I’ve been doing this for longer than 2009. Maybe their root beer is new but their soda company isn’t? Maybe it’s only recently they started bottling. Whatever. It’s vintage. We all love vintage root beer. Nearly everyone’s got a vintage root beer. They even address that on their bottle, saying that it “definitely belongs here”. We shall see.

The Body is sweet with a fruity sarsaparilla tinge. There’s a hint of spices and it’s a little generic while on the creamy side. The fruity is a little much for me though. The Bite is very smooth, the spices can be tasted but not felt, if that makes sense, so I wish there was a little more. The Head proved itself worthy of all accolades, which you’ve heard before so I shan’t regale you with them. The Aftertaste is more of that sweet fruity, which I don’t really like.

So, yeah, this is okay, I guess. Like, just barely okay. Just barely drinkable for discerning root beer gourmet like I am and everyone else strives to be. But is it vintage? I guess so? I mean, it doesn’t taste like some new, avant-garde type root beer, so if it isn’t that you can call it vintage. I wouldn’t call it good. Just, drinkable. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three kegs