Jun 192019

A pint of Lake Superior Brewing Root Beer Day two of the Duluth family adventure. We went walking around the shopping district on the lakefront, went to some parks, and went to the Aquarium. It’s a fun aquarium, all freshwater themed, let’s you pet sturgeon and stuff like that. But then it was root beer time. I’d heard Bent Paddle Brewery had some amazing root beer on tap. They do, it’s 1919. Quality stuff that, but I wanted something new!!! So I went to Lake Superior Brewing Company, because I knew they had Roller Root Beer. Lake Superior Brewery was founded in 1995. Before craft brewing was “cool”, according to them. After we got there, however, we were informed that they’d sold out the night before. What a disappointment. I despondently asked if he knew another brewery that had root beer. He responded that Ursa Minor Brewery, a short walk away, carried their root beer! Huzzah! So off to Ursa Minor for root beer.

The Body has a dark sassafras flavor and is rich and complex. There’s slight hints of vanilla and wintergreen and licorice, but the vanilla is barely noticeable. The Bite is decent, with a nice mix of spices and a smooth finish. It’s got a great Head as well. Nice and foamy. The Aftertaste is slightly bitter, with some honey notes.

It’s pretty good but the overall flavor profile isn’t really my style. Better than Fitger’s though, so there’s that. I forgot to ask them why it’s called Roller Root Beer. So I’m gonna just go with it’s an arbitrary name that they like.

Three and a half kegs

The Lake Superior Brew Kettle, where all the brews, even the root beer, are made.

The Lake Superior Brewing Company Taproom Taps

Jun 122019

A pint of Fitger's Driftwood Root Beer This past weekend I took a little weekend excursion with the family to see Duluth, MN. There’s lots of cool things up in Duluth and they’d never seen a great lake before. But let’s be honest, there were breweries up there and I needed to try root beer. Friday night dinner destination was Fitger’s Brewhouse. Fitger’s Brewing Company was at one point the oldest continuous operating brewery in the state of Minnesota, having been founded in 1859. However, in 1972, it fell victim to post war consolidation, and shuttered its doors. In 1995, the historic brewery building was converted into a mall with various shops and restaurants and Fitger’s Brewhouse, a small brewpub. In addition to a line of their own beers, they also make Driftwood Root Beer.

The Body is sweet and creamy and a bit minty. It has a classic sassafras flavor but not a lot of additional flavors. The Bite is mild. There’s not a lot of spice or fizz. It is nice and smooth though, which is good. There really isn’t much Head at all, despite their best efforts to get me some. The Aftertaste is light with some bitter hints.

It’s a decent brew, nothing special though. It could really use a lot more in every department, but it’s still good enough to go with the meal. The food there, however, was rather disappointing. I had an Elk burger and my wife got their smoked trout wrap, and neither of them were particularly great. Maybe it was a bad night, or we picked the wrong thing, but yeah, I came away feeling the whole thing was rather overpriced for the quality. Maybe just get the root beer if you must and eat somewhere else.

Three kegs

The Fitger’s Brewery Complex

The view from my table. I do like being surrounded by brew vats.

Half an elk burger and half a smoked trout wrap. It wasn’t bad, but like the root beer, not anything special.

Feb 132019

A pint of Ideal Root Beer From Indeed BreweryLast Saturday I had the wonderful opportunity to meet one of the world’s leading collector’s of root beer paraphernalia, Vince. He was up in Minneapolis for some reason and I had empty bottles to get to him for his collection. I told him to meet me at Indeed Brewing Company, cause I knew they had a brew that I needed to try. To be honest I don’t know much about this brewery, other than one of my coworkers told me they have root beer. It’s a rather larger brewery by some railroad tracks about half an hour from my house. They don’t have any food in their taproom, owing to those pesky Minnesota laws, but not even the popcorn or peanuts that are quite common in others. I met Vince and his friends and got down to business.

The Body isn’t overly sweet and it’s a little dark. There’re distinct honey and wintergreen flavors as well but the proportions aren’t quite right. The Bite is a little spicy but still on the mild side. The Head is very nice, it pours out tall and stays foamy for awhile. The Aftertaste is of honey and a little wintergreen with some bitter notes.

This isn’t my favorite root beer by any means. It’s got the right flavors but not in the right ratios. I don’t know why this is called Ideal Root Beer, maybe it’s their ideal but it surely isn’t mine. It’s still drinkable and was worth the trip to meet another root beer lover. He was able to get one of their root beer taps to add to his collection, so a success all around.

Three kegs

The Indeed Brewing Company.