Nov 182015

Flathead Lake Monster Root Beer BottleShortly after my mission I took a road trip to southern Alberta to visit one of my favorite mission companions for a week. I left home at 3 am on a summer morning and after 10 minutes of driving I noticed the aurora borealis in the sky above me. Wow, in the summer in Washington State? I pulled over and looked at them for awhile. I swear they make noise. Then off again. Near Spokane I saw thunder storms in the distance with the clouds lit up by the lightning. The sky was certainly putting on a show for me. I was sure that it was a good omen. Along the way I also made a point to keep my eyes open for new root beers to try. While I was gassing up in Kalispell Montana I found this root beer in the mini mart. I knew that good things were coming, and finding a new root beer is always a good thing. I bought three bottles and continued on my journey. I had loads of fun and when I got back home a week later I got down to business of reviewing this brew.

The Body is weak, hollow and fruity which I attribute to the citric acid. The Bite is medium. The Head lives up to its name. The Aftertaste is fruity as well.

Yuk. I am not a fan. It says on the bottle that the root beer is fresh. If this is true I wonder why they needed two preservatives (Citric Acid and Sodium Benzoate). It also says “Fight Corporate Root beer.” My suggestion to them is that if this is their objective a good battle plan would be to make a better root beer. Finally, the bottle says “Root beer we make from the bottom of the lake.” I must say that the taste of the brew validates this claim. See how it rates against other root beers.

2 out of 5 root beer kegs

Nov 112015

Babbling Brooke's Root Beer BottleAnother brew from the well traveled Red Hunt who sent it from the Mystic Land of the North (Canada). True story, his original shipment got lost in customs and never made it. A whole six months later he tried again, and interestingly the original shipment showed up on his doorstep. When I look at this brown bottle of Babbling Brooke’s brew featuring a barrel, it reminds me of a book I used to love when I was little, The B Book, where the whole thing was very long sentences with every word starting with the letter B. Like “Big brown bear, beautiful blue baboon, blowing bubbles biking backwards…” and so on. This root beer is all natural, old fashioned, and even traditional according to the label. It’s made by the Nickle Brook Brewery and evidently the people in the barrel are Nick and Brook. It’s got some interesting ingredients like burdock root and orange peel so I wasn’t too sure what to expect.

The Body is very dark and complex. There’s licorice and burdock in addition to the sassafras that give way to some wintergreen and a bit of vanilla and cinnamon. It also has molasses hints and is kind of bitter. Despite the cinnamon, there really isn’t much bite. It’s more a cinnamon flavor than any burn. The Head is short yet frothy and lingers. The Aftertaste is licorice, wintergreen, and cinnamon that lasts too long and ends bitter.

It’s different but not terrible. It is however too dark a flavor for my tastes. I’ll end with a B Book style sentence of my own about this root beer. Babbling Brooke’s brother’s big brown brew barrel bobbed buoyantly beyond blue birch barns, beneath bonded brick bridges; by black badgers, buzzing bees, bitty bats, braying breeds, barking beagles, bereaved beavers; behooved by boastful brew bloggers bemoaning bitter burdock brews bought behind Billy Bob’s biker bar by bellowing bad Betty before breakfast. See how it rates against other root beers.

2.5/5 Root Beer Kegs

Nov 042015

TraderJoeVintage_big This was the first root beer that I reviewed after my graduation, when I was finally able to put more time into reviewing. It isn’t the first Trader Joe’s root beer that’s been made and if history is any lesson it won’t be the last. There have been two other gourmet root beers offered from Trader Joe’s in the last 15 years, though sadly, I’ve only had one of those two. There was awhile when they didn’t have any and then one day I just saw them there. I consulted with the manager to make sure that this was a new recipe which they said it was. It seems that after my scathingly average review given to their previous root beer, they came back with a different, new, yet vintage recipe. So how does it fare compared to its ill fated sibling?

The Body has a dark rooty flavor on the initial contact but then is rather hollow after that with only slight hints of vanilla and wintergreen. The Bite is solid but not too much. The Head is adequate and frothy. The Aftertaste is rather empty with a little creamy wintergreen flavor coming through and a little bit of fruity from the citric acid. The flavors just kind of disappear from your mouth.

So it is definitely different than their original. But is it better? Well, if you like hollow bodied root beers with a solid bite and head than yes, but if you prefer a full bodied root beer, which I do, then sadly no. It isn’t bad by any means, it just isn’t enough. Since my last review seemed to cause a reformulation (that’s my story an I’m sticking to it) I wholly expect them to try again until they get a recipe I like. Here’s hoping at least. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three kegs