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.


Jul 162014
 

A frosty mug of Hops Root Beer Last October I went to Washington DC for … reasons. As the usual routine demanded, I scanned Google Maps before the trip and found Hops Grill Brewery a mere 20 minute walk from the hotel I’d be staying in. Since my flight was to arrive at 6:20pm I knew where I would be eating dinner that night. Except my first flight was late just enough that I arrived at the gate of my connection just as it left. I was put on a later flight that wouldn’t arrive until 9:20pm. No biggie, Hops stays open until 11:20pm I’d still have plenty of time. Except that flight was 40 minutes late as well. By the time I got to the hotel, it was 10:25. I called Hops to make sure that if I arrived at 10:55 they’d still let me order, and took off running. I made it with 15 minutes to spare. After a glass of water and a few minutes of repose, I ordered my root beer.

The Body is dark and spicy with wintergreen and a little licorice. It is very rooty and reminds me of those old root beer barrel candies, you know, the ones with a slightly reddish wrapper. The Bite is spicy and while not harsh, it’s not smooth and kind of a sharp Bite. The Head is very tall and a decent froth level so it lasts awhile. The Aftertaste is wintergreen and a little licorice with bitter notes at the end.

So it’s not my favorite flavor profile, and bitter notes, while slight, are still bad. The super tall Head, though, compensates a bit. I’d put this at just barely drinkable, it was close though. Subsequent mugs with my meal reinforced this. I had fried catfish and ale onion rings which was delicious and worked with the spicy brew pretty well.

Three kegs

Fried catfish and ale onion rings. Delicious.

Fried catfish and ale onion rings. Delicious.

The brew vats add a nice atmosphere while dining.

The brew vats add a nice atmosphere while dining.

The bar is in an island in the middle of the restaurant.

The bar is in an island in the middle of the restaurant.


Jul 092014
 

A frosty mug of BuckSnort Root Beer Two weeks ago I went to Boise to visit my sister. This trip had been a long time coming, as I had never visited her there and she moved there over four years ago. Keeping with my latest trend, whenever I go somewhere new I find a root beer to review. This time it was easy because someone had alerted me to the existence of BuckSnort (yes, I know the CamelCase name is annoying but that’s how they do it on their website) some time back and I knew it could be found in Boise. I swear that wasn’t the reason I finally made it down there. Really I do. We got it in some place called Pizzalchick which makes pizza and chicken. They even have an elk pizza because that’s what people do in Idaho. I went with my brother-in-law and we picked up some pizza and had a brew at the bar before going back.

The Body is not very sweet. I’d say one of the least sweet brews I’ve had. It kind of has a darker flavor like a root beer barrel candy but not quite that strong. It’s a little bitter as well. The Bite is very spicy with what I want to say is cassia but I really don’t know. There isn’t much fizz in though. The Head is rather unimpressive; short and fizzes away quicker than it should. The Aftertaste is light sassafras with some bitter spice.

I don’t really like this much at all. I prefer a sweeter brew that isn’t so bitter. The owner of Pizzalchick (seriously, what’s with the names around here) showed up and as I commented on the root beer he said that it was completely organic and the most organic root beer we could get with real sassafras and vanilla. Conspicuously missing from his testimony was anything resembling praise for the taste of the brew, and I don’t blame him. The pizza there is good, but skip this.

2 out of 5 root beer kegs