Sep 132017

Pint of Rockets Root BeerDay 2 (er 3 kind of) of my road trip saw us leaving Butte with a need for lunch in the future. Billings was the next logical stop and was a necessary one. As you may recall, back in May I was in Billings, and though I got one root beer, my dinner plans that day fell short, and I missed another draft brew by an hour. Rockets Gourmet Wraps and Sodas, on the same block as Montana Brewing Company, closes at 4 everyday. I’d sworn then that if I ever returned to Billings, I’d not miss it. And there I was, driving straight into Billings. The place is really classy with large selection of gourmet wraps. They also make six flavors of soda including their root beer and a huckleberry cream. They kept trying to give me a small sample but I demanded they wait until I was good and ready to review, and get mine and my families food ordered.

The Body has a strong wintergreen and vanilla flavor which completely dominates the drinking experience. It’s not a bad flavor though. The Bite is strong as well from all of that wintergreen, kind of sharp on the tongue. The Head is short, but present, though it doesn’t last long. The Aftertaste is bitter from all of the wintergreen.

So, lots of wintergreen and vanilla. Kind of like that Wooley Bugger Root Beer which is brewed also in the same town. Not really my thing but not bad. It goes with those tasty wraps they have. I got a Bayou wrap which was delicious and spicy. I also had to try their huckleberry cream soda and that was great too. So this place is worth a visit if you’re in town, or driving through it.

Three kegs

My Cajun wrap. Basically red beans and rice in a wrap. Spicy and yummy!

My Bayou wrap. Basically red beans and rice in a wrap. Spicy and yummy!

Sep 062017

Tamarack Brewing Company Training Wheels Root Beer PintLast week all of my preparations were complete for the big move, so my family and I hit the road on our epic road trip to Minnesota. In addition to the many road side attractions like Little Bighorn Battlefield and Mount Rushmore, I was determined to find some new brews. The first stop was Radio Brewing Company in Idaho, who, according to their online menu, had a house root beer and huckleberry soda. But it was all lies when we showed up. They stopped making their own root beer awhile ago. That’s what I get for not calling. So I determined to find another root beer, knowing that I’d passed at least one in Spokane. I found the Tamarack Brewing Company in Missoula which was just about when we’d need to eat dinner. They call their root beer Training Wheels because I assume they think it’s working up to something harder, rather than the best reason to visit the place. Across the street from the brewery is the carousel, which my children demanded to go on. I managed to get the brass ring and get a free ride! Then it was off to dinner and my work, root beer!

The Body is rich and creamy with standard flavor and some nice vanilla. There’s a slight fruity tinge that detracts but not much. The Bite is very mild and smooth, I wish it had more spice. The Head is very short but it is there and it doesn’t fizz away instantly. The Aftertaste is a creamy vanilla.

This stuff is pretty good, but just not quite there in several categories. It’s fine enough with their delicious food, and with outdoor seating, a fun place to kick back for a cold one after the carousel on a summer’s evening. The first day of my trip turned out well.

Three and a half kegs

My dinner of some delicious barbecue pulled pork and brisket sandwich with  coleslaw on it. Yum!

My dinner of some delicious barbecue pulled pork and brisket sandwich with coleslaw on it. Yum!

A look back to the kegs they tap into for the bar.

A look back to the kegs they tap into for the bar.

Aug 232017

A glass of Demented Brewing Company Root Beer Last week I had a rather sudden and unexpected business trip to New Jersey. And though you think you may know where this is going, you’re wrong, the first thing I didn’t wasn’t look for some new brewery, but rather to tell anthony that I was coming his way. You see, the only reviewer who’s been doing this longer than me is he, and though we’ve known about each other since the ’90s, we’ve never met. To share a brew with such a one as him was the first priority. And what luck, upon meeting he revealed that he knew of a brewery, not 10 minutes from his very house (and my hotel as it were, though a different direction), that he’d never tried. This was beyond my greatest expectations. The two root beer legends, sitting together for a review. The place was the Demented Brewing Company, who’s small taproom sported a very strange and demonically painted wall. But it was all Jersey Devil themed, which I guess is kind of big over there, so it’s not like they’re all devil worshipers or something. Just local legend loving. Anyways it was a nice small place with a friendly staff and a brew that was, well…

The Body rich and kind of creamy, but the flavors are also mild and standard. It’s sweet, there’s some licorice and wintergreen, a tad bit of vanilla, but it’s not overly strong in any one direction. The Bite is mild too, not much going on in the way of spices. There’s a very short Head but it lingers a bit. The Aftertaste is more mild licorice and wintergreen.

Ah, a pleasant yet forgettable brew. Nice and middle of the road so as not to offend. They said that the get the extract premade and then mix with sugar and a few other things, so it’s not like they put a whole lot of effort into it. That said, they have made sure that it isn’t a bad brew and as an added treat, they just give it away for free, which took anthony and I quite aback when we tried to pay our tab. So yeah, friendly place, nice people, drinkable root beer.

Three kegs

The picture the root beer world has been waiting for for decades.

The picture the root beer world has been waiting for for decades.