Feb 072024

Ah Samuel Clemens, that father of American literature and great humorist. His life bookended by Haley’s comet. Writer of one of the oldest isekai novels. Born in Hannibal Missouri, his childhood home is now a museum. The town markets itself as America’s Hometown. Therefore it is only natural that there would be a drive-in with a big root beer mug sign that’s been operating for over 80 years, making their own root beer. I, sadly, did not visit this place, though I feel now such a trip is both warranted and very doable. Rather it was the magnanimity of anthony who sent me this along with some other fine trades. I honestly have never of a dinette. I had to look it up and I guess it really isn’t a restaurant per se, but whatever, that’s what they want to call their drive-in to be artsy or old-timey or folky or something.

The Body is sweet with loads of vanilla. So much vanilla you’d almost think it were a vanilla root beer. Other than vanilla it’s a classic flavor profile. The Bite is very mild, no spices really. The Head is short but fizzy. It doesn’t last long but also doesn’t disappear immediately. The Aftertaste is that luscious vanilla.

I really love that vanilla flavor. This one has such a lovely flavor, I can see why they’ve been in business for so long. Sadly, I feel it needs just a little more Bite and/or a little more Head to really push itself into Seal territory. But it was one of the hardest calls I’ve had to make. Perhaps fresh from their stand (since the recipe is usually slightly different) this brew would rate higher, but as it is I can only give it one of the highest three and a halfs. See how it rates against other root beers

Three and a half kegs

Dec 062023

I got this off of a trade with that great root beer reviewer anthony. Weis is a store chain founded in 1912 in Pennsylvania. They currently have expanded into Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia, and West Virginia, nowhere near where I live. I am, however, once again very pleased to see store brands carrying glass bottled gourmet root beer. The bottle looks the sort of generic that you’d expect from a store brand, brown root beer color with a barrel on it. I like it, obviously, because I like root beer. A curious thing about this is in the ingredients. They list “citric acid powder”, which is the first time I’ve ever seen that. I see citric acid a lot as an ingredient, but never in powdered form. Is it required to specify which form is used? I muse on this as there’s not much else to talk about with this one, other than the brew itself.

The Body is sweet and creamy with a lot of vanilla. It’s quite pleasant but there’s a hint of something a little out of place. The Bite is mild on spice, decently prickly, but not overly smooth in the finish. The Head is medium and fizzes down relatively quickly. The Aftertaste is sweet vanilla and ends with the faintest hint of that out of place flavor.

This is unexpectedly good for a store brand, I’ll say that. There’s nothing really unique but it does generic really well. It’s not quite good enough for a Seal, sadly, but better than most store brands out there, which is an accomplishment they can feel proud of. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three and a half kegs
Oct 042023

This one comes from a trade with that great collector and proprietor of The Museum of Root Beer, Vince. Pop Singles is an interesting brand that has a record on the label of their bottles, you know like it’s an old pop single. It makes googling the company rather difficult because there seems to be an actual single that was released about every flavor they carry (maybe that’s the idea?) and I couldn’t actually find a website. Maybe they don’t have one. I’m always very cautious about a clear root beer. A lot of real root beer ingredients are naturally a darker color, so if your root beer is crystal clear there’s some serious chemistry involved for flavor extraction and the sugar definitely wasn’t caramelized. In short, such brews seem highly unlikely to have a robust flavor profile. They do look cool and different though, so full points for novelty.

The Body is sweet with a mild, generic root beer flavor. It’s refreshing and a little acidic and there’s a slight hint of wintergreen and vanilla. The Bite is mild as well. There is a little spice and decent carbonation. The Head is medium and fizzes down quickly. The Aftertaste is mild and soda-ish.

This really isn’t particularly good. It’s almost like my experience with previous clear root beers and my reasons as to why they failed may actually be universally applicable. It may be impossible to make a colorless root beer be quality. We’ll never know until I find one. Till then, see how it rates against other root beers.

2 out of 5 root beer kegs