Jul 012015

Root 66 Root Beer BottleThe first Route 66 themed root beer I ever encountered. It was one of the three from that Seattle Mariners game when I was in high school and one of the first probably 20 root beers I ever had. Interestingly, this was made in Charlottesville, Virginia, which is most decidedly not on Route 66. They say that they created it as a tribute to that road, but still, Virginia just seems out of place to have such a thing. That’d be like me making a Jamestown Root Beer up here in Washington as a tribute to the original American colony. Sure I could do it, but it wouldn’t make a lot of sense. Anyway I think they really just made it because the pun was too irresistible. Some people just love their puns, myself included, and will go to great lengths to create the appropriate context to use one that they find especially clever, despite the fact that the vast majority of the population does not share the sentiment. We pun-ishers are such an under appreciated lot. So someone at Roadside Beverage Company (the company that makes this) loved the Root 66 root beer so much that even though he was in Virginia, he figured it was his only shot to send his pun to the world. I thank him for his determination.

This has a complex Body with too much Bite. Head is ok. The Aftertaste could use vanilla.

A lot of the complexity came from the chicory root, sweet birch, and sarsaparilla root they added in addition to the other natural and artificial flavors. It had too strong an anise flavor though, which was not appreciated. This was the only root beer with a stong anise flavor in it that I could at all stand at the time of reviewing, there have been some others since then though this was the first. It’s not a bad brew, but not anything outstanding. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three kegs

Jun 242015

Chowning's Tavern Root Beer BottleSeal of ApprovalI know what you’re thinking. “Eric, Chowning’s Tavern is just Dominion Root Beer with a different label.” Yes, this is true. This is just a relabled Dominion. However, way back in 1998 when I tried Dominion root beer it had significantly different ingredients. And in between then and now, they had changed their recipe as well. So this is the third iteration of Dominion and Chowning’s Tavern Root Beer where they’ve kept their name the same. It really bugs me when companies doe that since I don’t like going back and changing reviews. Therefore I’m just filing this under Chowning’s Tavern. It’s a stretch by my standards, I know, but it’s a new root beer with a “new” name. This is only served in Colonial Williamsburg Taverns. I’m not sure if the strange colonial looking man on the label is mister Chowning but he looks like a Chowning.

The Body is nice with a prominent sassafras flavor accented by honey and spice. It’s quite a standard root beer flavor, but executed superbly. The Bite is spicy and solid but it ends smooth. The Head is tall and lasts throughout the entire drinking experience. The Aftertaste is also very nice; vanilla with a hint of wintergreen.

This hits the spot. It’s not as good as the original Dominion Root Beer of yore, but it’s definitely a delicious well balanced brew in every department. I’d drink this again and again, if it were available around here. See how it rates against other root beers.

4 kegs

Jun 172015

Mendocino Taubold's Private Reserve Home Brewed Root Beer Bottle My grandmother found this for me shortly after I began collecting/reviewing root beers. She lives in Sacramento and found it while visiting Mendocino. She gave it to me when the family was down visiting. Unfortunately they insisted that I share the bottle with the rest of the family. Fortunately, this comes in a 25 ounce bottle that looks more like a wine bottle so there was plenty to go around. It’s yeast brewed but guarantees less than 0.05% alcohol by volume. It has some strange ingredients like Eugenol and Gum Tragacanth. It also has wild cherry. I’m not sure what the picture on the bottle is supposed to be, but the Taubold is some Mendocino local painter. I’m not sure of his affiliation with this root beer but maybe he helps make it or something. On the back of the bottle is a large poem about Taubold meeting John Wayne and a bet that Taubold couldn’t capture the Duke’s smile correctly in painting. The stakes were John’s ranch and the rights for Taubold’s Private Reserve, which I guess means this root beer. The story goes that Taubold succeeded, so he has John Wayne’s ranch evidently.

This is a very mild root beer. It has no real Bite to speak of and it also has a weak Body and Head. The Aftertaste is fruity.

The fruity is to be expected, what with the wild cherry. I’m not sure why everything else was so weak. I apologize for not being more descriptive of one of the most unique brews I’ve ever tried, but I was only 17 so you’ll have to forgive me. The company has since gone out of business, which is sad yet not surprising. See how it rates against other root beers.

2 out of 5 root beer kegs