Sep 192018

A pint of Maple Island Brewery Root Beer So remember how I said Stillwater was worth a walk around? I thought my family should see that quaint little town, and walk up those stairs and it had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that there just happened to be another brewery in the historic downtown that also happened to make their own root beer. Nope, definitely not, it was all because I felt they needed to experience that lovely little town… cause it was Saturday and the weather was lovely, probably the last lovely summer weather weekend of the year. So we parked right by the brewery, Maple Island Brewing, and went to get a root beer first thing because of course I did. It’s a fun brewery with live music sometimes and a great game where you pound nails into a bloc of wood using the small side of a hammer (which I totally destroyed the rest of my family on) and free popcorn and food trucks and things. But they make a root beer and that’s all I really cared about.

The Body is very sweet with a sarsaparilla flavor accented by wintergreen and a little vanilla. I think there’s a tad bit of anise in there too. The Bite is mild, with only a little spice and not a lot of carbonation. There really isn’t any Head at all, sadly. The Aftertaste is a faint vanilla that I wish were stronger.

So, not bad at all. It’s yummy enough but that lack of Head costs them serious points. Also it could be a little stronger all around. But it’s a fine enough brew that if you’re already touristing about in that quaint little town and climbing up tall stairs and whatnot you should drop on in for a pint.

Three kegs

Maple Island Brewing in historic downtown Stillwater

Maple Island Brewing in historic downtown Stillwater

Maple Island Brewing Vats

The brewing vats.

Sep 122018

A pint of Liftbridge Brewery Root Beer So my family has been on vacation in Europe for the past month, leaving me with lots of free time on the weekends to chase down root beers, and Labor Day was no exception, so I set out to Stillwater, a quaint little town on the border with Wisconsin (which I’ve yet to set foot in). There resides the Lift Bridge Brewery, named after the lift bridge on the St. Croix River. Lift Bridge actually cans their root beer, and they can be found all around the Minneapolis area. But I don’t drink root beer from cans, so my only way to try it was to go straight to the source, which I did because it was Labor Day and only a 45 minute drive away.

The Body is very minty with a little vanilla. It isn’t overly sweet, but it isn’t lacking either. It does feel a little hollow, like it needs more sassafras. The Bite is harsh and sharp. There’s a ton of carbonation and some spices. It is too harsh in my opinion. The Head is medium tall with a good foaminess that lasts. The Aftertaste is a strong wintergreen flavor that ends a little bitter. It reminds of those wintergreen Lifesavers.

This is solid, but lacking. There really isn’t anything bad about it, it just needs a few tweaks to make it top notch. If you’re in the area, check it out. The town of Stillwater is worth the walk around, and even climb those downtown stairs, just don’t run up the stairs two steps at a time, my legs are still sore.

Three and a half kegs

The Lift Bridge Brewery.

The Lift Bridge Brewery. This picture was taken from inside the taproom looking through the brewery door.

Aug 222018

A glass of LynLake Brewery Root BeerThis past Saturday was a beautiful day. With little pressing errands to do, I decided to head out to one of the local Minneapolis area breweries to get some root beer. I chose LynLake Brewery because it seemed to be in biking distance, only an hour and 20 minutes each way, or 28 miles round trip, which is actually further then I’ve ever biked before in a single day. But as I said the weather was wonderful and I figured why not. It turned out to be a perfect day for a ride and there was beautiful scenery everywhere and lots of lakes and things and yeah, Minneapolis is a pretty city on a bike. And then it turns out the LynLake Brewery, in Uptown, is actually all bike themed on the inside (pictures below) and a stop on some Minneapolis bike brewery tours, so it really was the correct mode of transportation. After a bit of repose and a glass of water I set down to business.

The Body isn’t overly sweet, but has a nice sassafras core and some creamy vanilla accented by a lot of spice. There’s a little too much brown sugar as well giving that fruity sort of flavor that too much brown sugar does. The Bite is sharp and spicy with a lot of cinnamon coming through and good carbonation. It’s a little on the harsh side though it does finish smooth. The head is tall and foamy. The Aftertaste is vanilla with some of that brown sugar fruitiness.

Brown sugar, much like licorice, is a difficult ingredient to work with in root beer. Add just the right amount and your creation can be divine, add too much, and a strange fruity type mess. This brew took the brown sugar just a little too far, at least for my tastes. The Bite is a little to harsh as well. Don’t get me wrong, this is still a quality brew, but I just can’t give it my Seal.

Three and a half kegs

LynLake Brewery

The LynLake Brewery. See all the bike stuff?