Oct 292014
 

CiceroChicagoStyle_big The third root beer from the Cicero Beverage Company/Capone Family Secret people. They were kind enough to ship me two bottles of this after I completely loved their Salted Caramel variety. This one is Chicago Style and I can’t for the life of me figure out what that’s supposed to mean. I know of a Chicago Style deep dish pizza, like what you find at Giordano’s, but Chicago Style root beer? I didn’t know that was a thing. Granted, they’re not the first to slap that on their bottle, there’s Goose Island Chicago Style and Chicago Draft Style, but once again, there really isn’t any specific definition of what Chicago Style entails. Maybe it’s like “old fashioned” or something in that it doesn’t really mean anything but is good marketing. They are in Chicago after all. Anyways, this one’s label is similar to their salted caramel except there’s no salted caramel flowing down.

The body is a medium strength standard root beer flavor that isn’t overly sweet. The Bite is sharp on the tongue and a little harsh going down. Not my favorite. The Head is extra tall, but fizzes down really quickly. The Aftertaste is a light and sweet vanilla flavor.

This is an alright brew that is rather refreshing. There isn’t any unpleasantness but at the same time it doesn’t really have anything to jump out and grab your attention like the Salted Caramel or the smooth sweet vanilla of Capone. The not creamy, slightly harsh, and tall yet quickly dissipating Head is similar to Chicago Draft Style, so maybe that’s what Chicago Style is all about. Why not? See how it rates against other root beers.

Three kegs


Oct 222014
 

IBC Root Beer Bottle IBC holds a very special place in my root beer reviewing life. It was probably the third that I ever tried, and could be found at the local Walmart in 6-packs of 12 oz bottles, 24-packs of 6 oz bottles, and single 32 oz bottles. My friends and I would snag the latter occasionally after bowling trips and buy the 24 packs for parties sometimes. It was also, during the great sadness in the summer of ’98, that taught me that all gourmet root beers are not created equal. At that time I was drinking several bottles of root beer a day to drown my sorrows. As IBC was much cheaper than the Henry’s I’d usually drink in such occasions, I started getting it as well to relieve the budget. Over the course of several weeks, I could clearly see that there was a difference between the two, and in this case you’d get what you paid for.

It’s an okay root beer by my standards. Good Body and Head but too harsh and too much Bite for my taste. Aftertaste is okay.

First off, I’ll admit that my reviews were significantly less detailed back in the day. I could go back and re-review it being more descriptive, but then I’d have to go back with all of them and that’d be a lot of work and some of them aren’t made anymore so I’m just going to keep it as is. You should feel blessed that you can read reviews from those early days and have a time capsule about how the web once was. Now there are some people who think that this is the greatest root beer ever made. I disagree. But it’s good enough for parties, or for the huge 32 oz bottle occasionally. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three kegs


Oct 082014
 

Natural Brew Draft Root Beer BottleAnother brew from my very early days of reviewing. This one, like Health Valley, was also found the the “Health Food” section of the local Safeway. It was actually the root beer I reviewed right after the Health Valley as the next day I went to Safeway to see what other glass bottled root beers could be found. This stuff was the very first product I ever encountered that listed “Evaporated Cane Juice” as an ingredient. This is a pet peeve of mine. Anyone who knows anything about how sugar is made knows that all cane sugar is evaporated cane juice and beet sugar is evaporated beet juice. All crystallized sugars start as liquids that are then evaporated. Do the people who label sugar this way believe that we think crystallized sugar is mined somewhere in solid form like salt or something? I mean, seriously, we’re not that dumb. This also has one of the highest non-sugar carbohydrate level (5g) of any root beer. I’m not sure what makes it a “draft” root beer when it’s clearly in a bottle, but that’s another rant for another day.

It starts out with a full Body and good Bite. Then a strong licorice flavor surfaces that grows stronger the more you drink, however. The Aftertaste is very strong licorice.

I am not too fond of this one. I also admit that I was significantly less descriptive in the old days about how the root beer tasted. I don’t like it. It’s got way too much licorice flavor. Though, the cinnamon and cloves give it that good Bite. If you like herbal, licorice-y, spicy, evaporated cane juice brews, however, you’ll probably like this this. I surely don’t. See how it rates against other root beers.

2 out of 5 root beer kegs