Jun 272018

A pint of Logan's Root BeerLast week I was in sunny hot Phoenix for sales demos with some Phoenix companies. It was my very first time there (as with most of these trips of mine) and the thing I was amazed the most by were those saguaro cacti (catuses?). I’ve only really ever seen them in movies, and suddenly they were everywhere, just like in the old Western movies. What fun! But wait there’s more to this trip then just DERMS and cacti (cactuseses?). There was root beer! Several places actually showed up on my initial search, but time was limited (as was the patients of my coworkers I imagine), so I could only hit up one. I chose Sunup Brewing Co, the makers of many a brew and mead and Logan’s Root Beer. I don’t know why it’s called Logan’s, I didn’t ask and their website is devoid of any mention. I’ll postulate that Logan is some teetotaler or child who either made or inspired the creation of the brew. Either that or they just love Hugh Jackman movies… Anyhow, the root beer!

The Body is sour and fruity on the initial contact. Very fruity. After a bit that gives way to a rather generic creamy root beer flavor lacking in spices. The Bite is smooth and without much complexity. It has a nice Head that is very foamy and tall. The Aftertaste is some nice, smooth vanilla.

Ugh, that sour fruity. I can’t get past it. I mean, it’s a decent brew underneath that, but when the whole package is considered, that just ruins it. Sorry guys. We had some spicy artichoke dip and chips there, and it was yummy, but went elsewhere for our dinner so there’s nothing else to say about this place other than it’s got some character.

2.5/5 Root Beer Kegs

Some awesome barrel in front of their restaurant.

The Sunup Brewing Co. taps.

The Sunup Brewery. It’s pretty big. Hard to fit into one photo.

May 232018

A glass of Ellis Island Casino and Brewery Root BeerLast week I was in Las Vegas! Yes, I was down there for work, cause I go places these days. I was staying at the Aria and had a very, very busy schedule with the company’s annual user conference, which included receptions, gala dinners, shows, and many technical sessions. Tuesday was our only free night and I already had my target, just a 30 minute walk (one Vegas strip block) away. I tried to gather up a merry band of travelers but could only grab one fine coworker to accompany me on my quest. Ellis Island Casino and Brewery is a little (in Vegas terms) hotel/casino/brewery a block off the strip that’s been operating for over 50 years. It’s got a far more old style feel then those massive casino resorts on the strip, and it’s way more affordable too, featuring lower minimum bet tables, free used decks of playing cards (presents for my kids), cheap eats, and of course, it’s own root beer (and other beers but I don’t care about those). They serve their root beer in nice 20 oz glasses as you can see.

The Body is mild, yet solid with a classic creamy flavor. There’s a little wintergreen but over all there’s nothing really distinct about it. The Bite is mild as well, without much spice. It has a nice smooth finish. The Head is short, but foamy and lingers. The Aftertaste is mild sassafras with a hint of wintergreen.

Yum! A solid, classic brew, though not quite Seal worthy, it’s better than average to be sure. The food there is amazing as well. I had a 50/50 burger. 50% Angus beef and 50% ground bacon, with 2 strips of bacon, and cheddar cheese on a pretzel bun. Sooooo good! One of the best burgers I’ve ever had. Their onion rings, calamari, and fish and chips (which my comrade ordered) were also on point. And the meal for two people plus tip was only $50. This place has won the “Best Cheap Eats” and I can see why. It’s not quite worth a pilgrimage just for the root beer, but taken all together, if you visit Vegas and not Ellis Island, you’re doing it wrong.

Three and a half kegs

The 50/50 burger with onion rings and a tall, cold glass of root beer. Soooo good!

The brew vats. Does anyone know what a “Tax Determination Tank” is?

Apr 042018

Last week I was in Sacramento for work, meeting with the local utility as I’m wont to do these days. Now if you’ve kept up with this blog, you’ll know that Sacramento is a city that has quite the storied past with me, though it’s been the first time I’ve been back there in around five years. On top of visiting relatives, I needed to hit up a brewery for root beer. Not any brewery would do, however, I was looking for River City Brewing Company, not to be confused with River City Root Beer or the other River City Root Beer. This brewery and I go way back, back to the first year of my gourmet root beer loving, before I even launched my site. I tried it when we were in Old Sacramento 20 years ago. I thought it was amazing. The next year when I had started the site, I was back and tried it again, but they put ice in it and it tasted not so good. So for 19 years I’ve been wondering, just how good is this root beer, really? The brewery has since moved, from the mall by Old Sac, to Carmichael, which was right by my hotel, making this even easier. This time I remembered to tell them no ice. I wasn’t going to repeat the mistake of 19 years ago.

The Body is sweet but not overly, and rich as well. There’s a little bit of vanilla complimenting a solid core that is well balanced. The Bite is very mild, there is really no discernible spice to it and the carbonation is low. The Head is short but foamy and lasts. The Aftertaste is a mild fruity sarsaparilla sort that doesn’t really do it for me, though it doesn’t really ruin it either.

This is a solid brew that almost pulls it off, not quite, but so close. It’s not as amazing as I remember my very first time being. I have had about 350 root beers since then which gives a bit more perspective. But, it’s still really good and has a uniqueness about it to be worth a visit if you’re in the area. I didn’t have time to try any of the food so I can’t comment, but if they cook like they brew, it won’t be disappointing.

Three and a half kegs