Nov 162016
 

A pint of Aslan Brewing Company Rachelle's Root BeerSo last weekend my family and I went up to Bellingham for an IEEE PES event at the Spark Museum of Electrical Invention. It was really cool (for a nerdy engineer like myself). And I even won a raffle to get to stand in a big Faraday cage and get blasted by a 4,000,000 V Tesla coil. Fun times. And wouldn’t you know, there’s another brewery in Bellingham that makes their own root beer. Aslan Brewing Company was conceived in 2012 and became a full brewpub a year later in 2013. Their philosophy is on locally sourced and organic ingredients with minimal environmental impact. They make a ginger beer along with Rachelle’s Root Beer. I should have asked who Rachelle is because the website says nothing about her but she is listed on the menu so I’ve dutifully named this after her. When I showed up with my family, everyone was hungry and there was a long wait. The place was crowded and it was pouring rain. I decided to just get a pint of this for review and then go somewhere a bit quieter for dinner.

The Body is bitter with an herbal sarsaparilla flavor. It really isn’t sweet at all. The Bite is nice and spicy and the Head is tall and foamy, but the Aftertaste is bitter, just plain bitter.

Ugh. So bitter. I know they’re going for the whole organic and local, but surely they could have come up with a sweet creamy root beer nevertheless. Though I suppose cane sugar and vanilla doesn’t really grow in Washington so maybe that’s the problem. I give props for trying but really, steer clear of this one.

2 out of 5 root beer kegs




Nov 092016
 

A glass of Mammoth Root BeerSeal of ApprovalMammoth is a fancy sandwich shop in the Eastlake neighborhood in Seattle. Their sandwiches are all ice age-y named things like Saber Tooth, Predator, Dodo, Neaderthal, and whatnot. In addition to their most epic sandwiches, they brew several flavors of house sodas to compliment the many other beers they carry on tap. A coworker of mine told me that they had their own root beer so of course I wasted little time in dropping by. I went for lunch with said coworker and another to give it a try. We missed the bus so we took a Lyft, and the coworker in the front seat kept confusing the driver by pointing things out to us to look at. Though that wasn’t anywhere near as entertaining as our ride back on the bus, where my complaining about massive memory allocated to “miscellaneous files” causing a memory shortage in my Samsung phone elicited some dubious advice from a fellow passenger, a woman of questionable sanity, who insisted I just needed to go to the trash folder and empty it, just like in her Windows phone … she even tried to show me how to do it. But this was superseded when we exited the bus and saw a man trying to remove the anti-theft cap from a vodka bottle by banging it repeatedly against a newspaper vending machine in the middle of a busy sidewalk. I guess he really needed a shot. Both of my coworkers were quite amused at my ordering, emphatically stating there could be no ice and I wanted it with lots of foam, but servers complied. All told, the trip was an amazing success even without the sandwiches and root beer, but that root beer would have been worth it in the most boring of trips.

This brew has a Body that is rich and complex with wintergreen, caramel, vanilla, and even some licorice wrapped around a sassafras core. It’s a little dark but well proportioned and it comes off as delicious. It has a nice spicy Bite too, with those spices adding heat and complexity to the overall flavor. Despite this, it feels very smooth in your mouth. The Head is of decent height and nice and frothy, if you ask them to make it foamy. The Aftertaste is a lingering caramel, wintergreen, and vanilla, all wrapped up sticky and sweet like that makes you both happy and wanting more.

Delicious, and quite unique. I was on the fence for quite awhile as to whether or not this would get the Seal because it was so different. But on my second glass, I knew without a doubt that the brew deserved it. It’s not the sort that you quaff down, but the sort of brew you want to sip slowly and enjoy. And unless you’re pretty rich, you’ll have to as this is the most expensive brew I’ve ever had. $4 for an 8-ounce glass. They even have a line on the glass so they make sure you don’t get extra. And no refills. But it was so good I had to get that second glass. But it was a different server and as she walked off to fill the glass with ice I had to repeatedly scream over the din not to put ice in it. Then it was too late and I demanded a fresh glass because DO NOT DILUTE MY ROOT BEER! All to the vast enjoyment of my coworkers. In addition to being delicious on its own, it goes amazingly well with their sandwiches. I had the Predator, with fried chicken leg, pork belly, Swiss, arugula, roasted red peppers, and caper aioli all on a rustic artisan roll. So, so good. This place is expensive, but worth every penny. You won’t be disappointed.

4 kegs


Mammoth Soda Taps

The Mammoth Soda Taps.

Mammoth Root Beer Sign

The “House Made” root beer sign.

Mammoth sandwich, the Predator

The Predator, one of the most amazing sandwiches I’ve ever had.




Oct 052016
 

diamondknot_bigEvery Labor Day weekend my parents come up to visit and I always have to find something new and exciting to do. Several months ago I had discovered Diamond Knot Brewing Company in Mukilteo on the waterfront. I figured that would be a good place to go on Saturday. Luckily there was also a very low tide so we went to the lighthouse park and wandered through the tide pools and fed sea worms to sea anemones because nature is twice as much fun when it’s eating other nature. The Brewery is right by the ferry terminal in a lovely old wood and stone building. Each table has a diamond knot epoxied to it. While you might think it’s some form of sailor knot, it’s actually just decorative. Go figure. I told them to bring us root beer with lots and lots of foamy Head on it and we ordered some appetizers as well.

The Body is rich and creamy with a classic root beer flavor. There’s a bit of vanilla and some nice spices and the whole thing is beautifully proportioned. The Bite is solid from a bit of spice and good carbonation, yet it’s still smooth in your mouth. The Head is the one failing. It is non-existent. Despite two attempts to get anything, in the time it took them to pour it and bring it to me it was gone. The Aftertaste is nice caramel and sassafras with a bit of wintergreen that lingers for quite awhile, which is a very good thing.

Oh yum. This is without a doubt the best tasting brew I’ve had in from a brewery in Washington to date. But the Head, where did it go. The server tried twice to get me some with some foam, any foam, but their tap wouldn’t allow it I guess. Sad day. No Seal of Approval. Their food was really delicious and their main courses looked truly epic. This place is one worth going back to.

Three and a half kegs


Onion rings, chicken wings, and artichoke crab dip. All of them amazing.

Onion rings, chicken wings, and artichoke crab dip. All of them amazing.