Jul 292015

Mad River Root Beer Bottle In high school I had several friends that were obsessed with the Mad Max trilogy. They even bought cars that looked somewhat like The Last V8 Interceptor and tried to make them more so. It was an infectious craze and soon we all would made ridiculous Road Warrior references at all occasions. It should come as no surprise then, that the in first variety pack of root beer I ever ordered, I had to include Mad River, because that is clearly what Mad Max would drink. It even says “Drink Mad” on the bottle. Upon receipt of my brew, I was of course the envy of our little group of Mad Max maniacs. But there’s so much more depth to this bottle than a Mel Gibson reference. They plastered all sorts of taglines and catch phrases on this in the hopes that one of them would stick. From clichés like “The original” to “Live it up, this is not a rehearsal” They even tell about their cold brewed process and how their all natural, a fact that escaped me back then because I didn’t even care. Evidently they even use some “traditional methods of a 125 year old brewery” whatever that’s supposed to mean. Interestingly the river in question is a rather small part of the label. You’d think they’d put more emphasis on that.

This has a fabulous Bite, but the Head is terrible, the Body is weak and the Aftertaste is strange.

And thus it was that this root beer, despite all of its catchphrases, missed the most important one, something to do with Bite. That’s all I could remember of it. It was completely unremarkable other than when it hit your mouth it bit just perfectly before turning all weak and strange. Unsurprisingly, this is long since out of business. I guess the market for Mad Max obsessed teenagers buying the soda for a novelty could only take them so far. See how it rates against other root beers.

2 out of 5 root beer kegs

Jul 222015

Hummingbird Hill Rootbeer BottleI’m bugged when people write root beer as rootbeer. I don’t like it. These people have clearly done it on their bottle, and so that’s what their soda is named. So that’s what I have to put. I wish they hadn’t. Okay, I’m done. Funny story about this root beer. It’s made in Silverdale and sold in that area including the Port Orchard farmers market. So why didn’t I find it when I went to both of those places on my quest for the Silver City Root Beer? I’m not sure. I didn’t spend much time at the farmer’s market because my wife wanted to leave, but I’m not going to blame her. I blame myself. My New Root Beer Sense was tingling and I thought it was only for the Silver City stuff. I’ll need to pay closer attention to my Sense on future journeys. A few months later I learned about this and contacted them but they didn’t seem interested in shipping it. I let the people at The Root Beer Store know about it, and told them they should really support the local brews by carrying it, so I wouldn’t have to wait until I found myself over there again. Thankfully The Root Beer Store came through and I was able to save some gas. This soda is made by a retired couple who couldn’t find a better way to spend their golden years than making root beer. Considering that the only thing better than making root beer is drinking root beer, I don’t blame them.

The Body isn’t very sweet and is rather hollow. There’s a strong wintergreen and spice flavor, but it feels like there’s a big gaping hole in the flavor profile. Something is missing. It’s also a little bitter. The Bite is strong with wintergreen and cloves featuring prominently in the burn. The Head is short yet lingers. The Aftertaste is the fading traces of the Bite which ends bitter.

This brew is unique. However, it’s missing a lot and I don’t like it. I wish I liked it, you know, support the local root beers and all, but it just isn’t something I’d drink again ever. See how it rates against other root beers.

2 out of 5 root beer kegs

Jul 152015

A&W Root Beer BottleA and W. Two letters that redefined the root beer and fast food landscape. While Charles Hires brought us the fine drink we call root beer, it was Allen and Wright that took it to the modern era. Forty-three years after Hires swept the nation with dry powdered concentrate and bottled goodness, a new player entered the fray with a new way to do things. While Hires was a genius in advertising, and Allen the father of the modern franchise. Within two decades his root beer stands dotted the land and his brew the most commonly drank root beer in the country and became the defacto root beer standard definition of a root beer for many. Other business titans, like the Marriotts, sprang from humble franchise owners. While growing up, for me, A&W was the good stuff. The special root beer instead of the store brands. And after I became The Root Beer Gourmet, A&W also ushered in another era. For while I’d had several types of glass bottled root beer, and had sworn never to go back to cans or plastic, it wasn’t until I found bottles of this being sold in a mini-mart on White Pass that I started my root beer bottle collection. I was traveling there with my future brother-in-law to get his sister on the other side of the pass. I’d never seen my old favorite in glass bottles and I wanted to keep the bottle to show my dad.

It’s got a good Body and nice Head, but is too harsh in the carbonation on the Bite. Aftertaste is very pleasant.

This is a nice creamy root beer that’s good but not quite top notch. It’s middle of the road though, so everyone pretty much likes it if they like root beer. After that trip I decided that I would collect a root beer bottle from every new brew that I drank, and rate them as to which was the best. The website idea came several weeks later. A&W, once again it’d changed the root beer world. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three and a half kegs