Aug 202014

A pint of Boundary Bay Root BeerLast week I was contacted by one of my Tesla Motors Club friends, Brianman. He had my hat which was left at a barbecue down in Loomis when we were reveling in the glory that was TMC Connect. So he had my Teslive hat, and he wanted to meet up and give it to me as well as go questing for brew because he had a Tesla and it is the ultimate root beer questing machine. I knew of the perfect place, Boundary Bay Brewery & Bistro (or the BBBB as I have taken to calling it). I’d known of this place for over a year, and while I was able to use excuses of a train festival, a hockey game, a Tulip Festival, a Ferry Ride, and a state park to justify traveling to various local breweries with the family, I couldn’t come up with any reason to go all the way to Bellingham. I mean what’s up there? Death Cab for Cutie …’s … hometown? Yeah. But since there’s a supercharger close by a Tesla changes everything. And so on a gray Thursday evening we set off on our quest. After navigating copious amounts of traffic on the way, we arrived at our destination. We had to wait to be seated so we went to the beer garden to get pints of root beer. There was a live band and people milling about and hula hoops and it was a fun place, though the table was crooked as you can see in my picture of the root beer.

The Body is a dark and minty one. It’s a little spicy and doesn’t have too much licorice or wintergreen. The Bite is a little spicy and the fizz is good. The Head is short but foamy. It’s gone too quickly, unfortunately. The Aftertaste is a sort of minty licorice that doesn’t last too long.

So basically it’s a conservative dark root beer. Nothing bad, nothing exceptional. No chances taken, nothing lost. Drinkable, but only that. With the low head and dark flavor it’d make a good float, which is advertised on their menu. The food was wonderful. I had their Steamers, a nice plate of local, wild, Manila clams in a cream sauce with tomatoes and caramelized onions. I can’t claim that the root beer is a perfect accompaniment for this dish, but it is worth trying if you’re into clams.

Three kegs

My dinner of steamers. So delicious.

My dinner of steamers. So delicious.

The Boundary Bay Brewery & Bistro

The Boundary Bay Brewery & Bistro

The festive beer garden. I wonder if Death Cab ever played here ... Notice the hula hooping girls on the left.

The festive beer garden. I wonder if Death Cab ever played here … Notice the hula hooping girls on the left.

Aug 062014

A Pint of Dr. Ziggy's Root BeerSeveral weeks ago I went down to TMC Connect, the Tesla Motors Club conference, in Monterey. I was on a panel on electric vehicles and the grid. I got a ride down with a fine fellow named Paul, who came from Vancouver, BC. We drove in his Model S, stopping at the super chargers along the way, and by so doing made it to Sacramento from Seattle in about 16 hours. Did I mention it didn’t cost us a penny since super charging is free? Yeah, Teslas rock. Anyhow, when we were a little south of Portland I asked him if it would be possible to search for some root beer at a brewery. He said he didn’t mind so I searched Google maps for breweries in the town of the next Super Charger, Springfield. I called up the first one, Hop Valley and asked if they had root beer, which they said they made their own. When we entered the location on the map, we saw that it was right next to the Super Charger. Ultimate root beer super charging win! We wouldn’t even have to go out of our way and we could try the brew during our 30 minute charging break. Even though it is made by Hop Valley, it is called Dr. Ziggy’s after the owner’s father.

The Body is sweet and sort of spicy with a decent sassafras flavor and some brown sugar hints. The Bite, however, quickly turns acidic sour and prickly and overpowers the good flavors detracting significantly. The Head, as you can see, is fabulously tall and lasts the whole time. The Aftertaste is a nice buttery, nutty flavor which is really, really good.

So this one starts out decent, turns bad, and finishes wonderfully. Add in the beautiful Head and I’ll give it a solid 3.5. We didn’t try any of their food since we’d eaten at the previous Super Charger, but I hear that the brewery smokes their own meats on the roof of their establishment. This is definitely the place to go when you’re road tripping in a Tesla between Washington and California. Or just drive straight there, with a Tesla, all it costs is time, and the drive is time well spent.

Three and a half kegs

The Dr. Ziggy's Root Beer Tap

The Dr. Ziggy’s Root Beer Tap

The inside of Hop Valley Brewing Company

The inside of Hop Valley Brewing Company restaurant.

Hop Valley Brewing Company near the Tesla Super Charger in Springfield Oregon

Hop Valley Brewing Company near the Tesla Supercharger in Springfield Oregon

Jul 302014

A pint of Capitol City Brewing Company Root BeerSeal of ApprovalOn the second day in DC, after I’d finished my … stuff, I had the evening free to myself. So after going to the National Mall and defying the “shut down” barricades (I’m such a rebel, I know), I headed out on foot to walk to the Capitol City Brewing Company for dinner. It was an hour walk but I am very cheap in my root beer questing and the exercise is good for me. They have two locations in the area, the closest to me was the Arlington location in The Village at Shirlington. The brewery is a very impressive place. They have four large brew vats in the middle with the bar around them. The vats are labeled with whatever is brewing in them at the time. They have other brew vats in other part of the restaurant as well. The place is very lively and looks to be quite the hang out to watch the Redskins play foot ball.

The Body is rich and creamy and delicious with caramel and vanilla notes. It has a mild Bite, just barely enough, and is very smooth. The Head is short, yet frothy and lasts. It’s just barely good enough to not dock serious points. The Aftertaste is a sweet, buttery, nutty flavor that kind of reminds me of buttered popcorn jelly bellies. It comes in strong, complementing and replacing the other flavors and lasts quite awhile, slowly fading as you wonder just what it is. I’ve never tasted that flavor in a brew before and I like it a lot.

I don’t want to say ‘wow’ but, Wow! That Aftertaste blew me away. The brew had plenty going for it at the first drink, but after swallowing it shines like nothing I’ve ever had before. It takes a good creamy brew and makes it exceptional. You just want to keep drinking it and drinking it to get that flavor again. Unlike Hops, they don’t give you a free refill, sadly, but I can understand as I would have probably drank an entire kegs worth. It’s a shame the brew mistress had just left before I got there, I would have loved to congratulate her personally on being awarded the Seal of Approval. The food was delicious as well. The server suggested I get a burger, and their Hickory Burger was divine. If you’re in DC you must visit this place.

4 kegs

The Root Beer Tap

The Root Beer Tap

The bar is really cool with those brew vats in the middle.

The bar is really cool with those brew vats in the middle.

Ah dinner, a hickory burger and fries. It's a bacon cheese burger with tons of chipotle barbecue sauce.

Ah dinner, a hickory burger and fries. It’s a bacon cheese burger with tons of chipotle barbecue sauce.