Jan 082020

A pint of Red Wing Brewery Root Beer On New Year’s Day the weather was beautiful and it hadn’t snowed for a few days so I thought I’d take a scenic drive with the family. I figured something the drove along the Mississippi River would be nice, and I knew that in the city of Red Wing, there was a brewery that also made their own root beer. So after a nice drive on the Wisconsin side of the river, we found ourselves at the little Red Wing Brewery. The city of Red Wing actually has a storied past with breweries, but they all were closed by the 1950s. The Red Wing Brewery is the first to open there since 1951. Now the root beer is called Good Old Zimmie’s and this time I actually had the presence of mind to ask why it was called this. I was told that they looked through the long history of Red Wing beers and chose from those names. Good Old Zimmie’s was the name of some old brew. Go figure.

The Body is dark and spicy, yet isn’t full flavored. Wintergreen and clove stand out, but there’s a sort of emptiness after that. The Bite is spicy! Lot’s of clove and other spices. I wish it were a little smoother though. The Head is OK, medium height and foam. The Aftertaste is bitter wintergreen and a clove. It’s too bitter for me.

It’s not bad, it just quite enough. The balance is all off, and though it isn’t really unpleasant, it’s not something that I’d really want to drink again, even with the yummy pizzas they serve there. Tragic, I know. Alas. It’s a scenic little town, but skip this root beer.

2.5/5 Root Beer Kegs

Red Wing Brewery Brew Vats

The Red Wing Brewery Brew Vats

The Red Wing Brewery Taps

The Red Wing Brewery Taps. The root beer is the first in the series.

Oct 232019

A glass of Delta Beer Lab Root BeerLast week I was in Madison, Wisconsin doing what I do best, working and finding root beer in the evenings. Madison is kind of a disappointment in that regard, for while they have cheese aplenty, and many small craft breweries, the amount of root beer in said breweries is rather lacking. Which strikes me as odd since cities in Minnesota with half as many people will have multiple craft root beers on taps just waiting for me to try. But it took quite a bit of searching for me to find one. To be fair, a lot of places do have Sprecher and Baumeister on tap there, and fine brews they are, but still, they can do better. But anyways, Delta Beer Lab was started only in February of this year by a couple of brewery veterans who’d worked their way up. One of them even was head brewer at a place in Minneapolis. Perhaps that’s why he, unlike so many others in Madison, decided to do a root beer. The brewery itself is like a chemistry class/lab, which is fun, as you can get little beakers and flasks full of brew. They are also very socially progressive there, take that as you feel inclined, which includes refusing tips and just paying their employees a living wage with benefits. I loath paying tips (just tell me how much it really costs) so I can get behind that. But more importantly, can I get behind the root beer?

The Body is mild and pleasant but not as sweet as most root beers. There’s sarsaparilla and vanilla flavors that make it taste rather Barqsy. The Bite is light on spice, solid on carbonation. The Head is nice and tall and foamy. The Aftertaste is a mild sarsaparilla with vanilla that ends with a fruity tinge.

It’s a decent brew, not worth a pilgrimage on its own, but if you happen to find yourself there with your friends, you won’t be regretting your purchase, which is more than I can say for a lot of root beers.

Three kegs

The Delta Beer Lab Bar

The Delta Beer Lab Bar. It makes the science nerd in me happy.

Sep 112019

A pint of Kinney Creek Brewery Rah Rah Root Beer After my trip to the flow stone filled Mystery Cave, we had to drive back through Rochester, so I figured we should get another root beer. I wasn’t actually looking for two root beers but when I was searching for the name LTS Brewing Company before we left, Kinney Creek Brewery showed up in the top hits and then I knew there were two (at least) breweries in Rochester with their own root beer so I couldn’t resist trying both. Kinney Creek was started in 2012 and was the first brewery in Rochester since prohibition. Evidently the city still clung to very restrictive alcohol laws which kept breweries out. But the owners wanted to make beer, and they also acknowledged that not everyone wants beer so they made a root beer. And then the brewer visited Hawaii and found that breweries there don’t make root beer for the most part, but do kombucha, so he added that too. Their taproom is full of games and rustic wooden furniture and is quite the fun spot to hang out while you sip your brew. I don’t know why it’s called Rah Rah Root Beer. I didn’t ask. I should have asked.

The Body is very sweet with prominent sarsaparilla and vanilla flavors. It almost trends into fruitiness but not quite. The Bite is mild and smooth. The Head is medium height and solidly foamy. The Aftertaste is a sarsaparilla flavor that builds and builds as you drink it.

It’s a really good sarsaparilla type root beer that just needs a little more oomph to push it over the edge. But it’s still enjoyable enough and I tip my hat to the intrepid brewer who opened Rochester to craft beer and by so doing brought out more craft root beers. So stop by and raise a pint to the man who made it possible.

Three and a half kegs

Part of the Kinney Creek Taproom.

Part of the Kinney Creek Taproom. Lots of wood and games and wooden games

The Kinney Creek Taps

The Kinney Creek taps. I like how they spell out Kinney Creek. Root beer on the far right.