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?

Jun 272018

A pint of Logan's Root BeerLast week I was in sunny hot Phoenix for sales demos with some Phoenix companies. It was my very first time there (as with most of these trips of mine) and the thing I was amazed the most by were those saguaro cacti (catuses?). I’ve only really ever seen them in movies, and suddenly they were everywhere, just like in the old Western movies. What fun! But wait there’s more to this trip then just DERMS and cacti (cactuseses?). There was root beer! Several places actually showed up on my initial search, but time was limited (as was the patients of my coworkers I imagine), so I could only hit up one. I chose Sunup Brewing Co, the makers of many a brew and mead and Logan’s Root Beer. I don’t know why it’s called Logan’s, I didn’t ask and their website is devoid of any mention. I’ll postulate that Logan is some teetotaler or child who either made or inspired the creation of the brew. Either that or they just love Hugh Jackman movies… Anyhow, the root beer!

The Body is sour and fruity on the initial contact. Very fruity. After a bit that gives way to a rather generic creamy root beer flavor lacking in spices. The Bite is smooth and without much complexity. It has a nice Head that is very foamy and tall. The Aftertaste is some nice, smooth vanilla.

Ugh, that sour fruity. I can’t get past it. I mean, it’s a decent brew underneath that, but when the whole package is considered, that just ruins it. Sorry guys. We had some spicy artichoke dip and chips there, and it was yummy, but went elsewhere for our dinner so there’s nothing else to say about this place other than it’s got some character.

2.5/5 Root Beer Kegs

Some awesome barrel in front of their restaurant.

The Sunup Brewing Co. taps.

The Sunup Brewery. It’s pretty big. Hard to fit into one photo.

May 232018

A glass of Ellis Island Casino and Brewery Root BeerLast week I was in Las Vegas! Yes, I was down there for work, cause I go places these days. I was staying at the Aria and had a very, very busy schedule with the company’s annual user conference, which included receptions, gala dinners, shows, and many technical sessions. Tuesday was our only free night and I already had my target, just a 30 minute walk (one Vegas strip block) away. I tried to gather up a merry band of travelers but could only grab one fine coworker to accompany me on my quest. Ellis Island Casino and Brewery is a little (in Vegas terms) hotel/casino/brewery a block off the strip that’s been operating for over 50 years. It’s got a far more old style feel then those massive casino resorts on the strip, and it’s way more affordable too, featuring lower minimum bet tables, free used decks of playing cards (presents for my kids), cheap eats, and of course, it’s own root beer (and other beers but I don’t care about those). They serve their root beer in nice 20 oz glasses as you can see.

The Body is mild, yet solid with a classic creamy flavor. There’s a little wintergreen but over all there’s nothing really distinct about it. The Bite is mild as well, without much spice. It has a nice smooth finish. The Head is short, but foamy and lingers. The Aftertaste is mild sassafras with a hint of wintergreen.

Yum! A solid, classic brew, though not quite Seal worthy, it’s better than average to be sure. The food there is amazing as well. I had a 50/50 burger. 50% Angus beef and 50% ground bacon, with 2 strips of bacon, and cheddar cheese on a pretzel bun. Sooooo good! One of the best burgers I’ve ever had. Their onion rings, calamari, and fish and chips (which my comrade ordered) were also on point. And the meal for two people plus tip was only $50. This place has won the “Best Cheap Eats” and I can see why. It’s not quite worth a pilgrimage just for the root beer, but taken all together, if you visit Vegas and not Ellis Island, you’re doing it wrong.

Three and a half kegs

The 50/50 burger with onion rings and a tall, cold glass of root beer. Soooo good!

The brew vats. Does anyone know what a “Tax Determination Tank” is?