Jan 062021

Pigeon River Brewing Company Root Beer Bottle I love my fans. They find amazing new root beers from different corners of the globe (the US really, but I like saying globe) and then send me some on trade. This was found by the famed root beer enthusiast Tony, in Marion, WI. Pigeon River Brewing Company has been open since 2012, but I think root beer is a much more recent addition or it wouldn’t have slipped under the radar of the diligent root beer hunters for so long. Unless, they had it the whole time, yet refused to advertise it, or sell it outside of Marion. The the residents themselves were sworn to never speak of it to outsiders. But over time whispers of a secret root beer reached the ears of Tony, whose multiyear quest brought him to the first bottles ever to be seen by the world at large… I like that version. It’s cannon now. So another remarkable thing about this root beer is that it has 65g of sugar per bottle, which is over 50% more than the average root beer. I’ve had a brew with 47g before and that was super sweet. So I braced myself for the sugar rush of a lifetime and got to drinking.

The Body is hollow. It’s a little minty, a little creamy, but weak overall. It’s not near as sweet as would be expected with all that sugar. The Bite is dismal. Not spicy, not smooth, but rather harsh and prickly. The Head is medium height and foam, nothing special though not bad. The Aftertaste is a sort of sour acidic flavor with a hint of burned sugar.

I’m not impressed. Not only is the flavor lacking, but where’s my promised super sugar content? Talk about a disappointment. So yeah, I wouldn’t recommend this. I guess it isn’t really bad, but it isn’t good and there’s nothing to really distinguish it to be worth even trying once. See how it rates against other root beers.

2.5/5 Root Beer Kegs

Dec 022020

Bottle of Cappy's Old Time Maine Root BeerCappy’s is a chowder house in Camden, Maine that’s been there since 1979. It’s named after Cappy Quinn, who actually never was officially affiliated with their restaurant. Rather he was an old salt who could be found around the Camden waterfront and was an inspiration to all. The root beer itself is actually bottled and supplied by Private Label Specialties which means it’s most likely really made by GinsenUp. However, the Cappy’s folks claim it’s made specially for them with a unique recipe, which is in line with what GinsengUp does, so it appears to be its own root beer. Unless they’re lying in which case they’ll burn in the special fires prepared for those who deceive root beer reviewers and scowl unnecessarily long at baby koalas. It’s another sailing themed root beer, of which the world cannot have too many.

The Body is that of a generic creamy root beer. Nothing really stands out at all but it’s good. The Bite is on the mild side with only a hint of spice. The Head is adequate, both in height in froth, but nothing special. The Aftertaste is a light vanilla and caramel flavor with the slightest bit of wintergreen.

What a pleasantly adequate brew. This is the sort of root beer that when you’re done drinking it you’ll remark, “I just drank a root beer”. Completely forgettable yet sufficiently enjoyable, this will compliment any meal that needs a root beer to compliment it without detracting in any way whatsoever. Drinking it will be an acceptable way to pass the time it takes to drink it. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three and a half kegs

Nov 042020

Virgil's Handcrafted Root Beer Bottle Virgil’s has been around for a long time. It was ballyhooed to me greatly in the 90’s by many only to leave me quite disappointed when I finally tried it. Last year, however, there was a shake up in the company for some reason. I don’t know all of the details, but for some reason the bottling was moved to a new location, the fan favorite, Bavarian Nutmeg (the only one I liked) was discontinued, and the recipe and name was changed on the flagship root beer. Now it sports an all natural recipe and the name Handcrafted Root Beer as opposed to the original Micro Brewed designation. I guess the new bottler brews bigger batches and they do so by hand? I don’t know, but it means that I can write a new review on the new recipe with the new name cause it’s a new root beer and that makes me happy. The label picture is also slightly different yet similar and somehow not as cool, like the Digitally Remastered Edition… Anyways, root beer.

The Body is kind of dark and rather complex. There’s sarsaparilla, licorice, a hint of fruity, and some other stuff going on but it doesn’t really work. The Bite is mild with no discernable spices yet harsh at the same time in mouthfeel. The Head is tall initially but fizzes down really quickly. The Aftertaste is sarsaparilla with licorice hints and fruity notes.

I like this less than their original and I wasn’t a fan of that. I don’t know how they made it worse, but they did. It just doesn’t mix well. Their last version at least had a balanced flavor, even though I didn’t like it. This is all over the place while also failing to be good. So yeah, I don’t know what they hoped to accomplish by getting rid of their best root beer flavor and making their flagship worse, but I don’t have a lot of hope for this company. See how it rates against other root beers.

2 out of 5 root beer kegs