Mar 012023

Back in September I was in Albuquerque again, doing DERMS and eating green chilies. For dinner the second night we decided to find a new root beer, knowing there were several in the area. This time we picked Canteen Brewhouse. Canteen claims to be Albuquerque’s longest standing brewery, operating since 1994, though, originally, it was Il Vicino Brewing Company. Not sure why they changed their name, I didn’t ask. Neither did they offer to tell me. Interestingly Il Vicino Pizza still exists and has a house root beer, though I think it’s probably the same? Maybe a great schism occurred. Either way, I went to give their brew a try.

The Body features black licorice and some vanilla. It’s neither too sweet nor too strong. In fact it’s a little on the mild side which makes me happy because I don’t like strong black licorice flavor. There’s a little wintergreen but much less than expected for the amount of licorice. The Bite is spicy, with clove and some others I can’t quite place. It finishes smooth and reminds me of a licorice spice gum drop. The Head is medium short and fizzes down too quickly but not two second head style. The Aftertaste is some light licorice and vanilla.

It’s okay. Not great, not terrible. A decent drinkable. Their food is quite interesting, sandwiches and starters. I had their New Mexiterrainian sandwich, which had salami, prosciutto, and a green chili slaw on it. I never knew I needed New Mexican fusion cuisine before this trip, but wow, it’s good. This place is worth a visit if you’re in the area.

Three kegs

The New Mexiterrainian Sandwhich. Pretty good. A flavor I never expected.

Feb 012023

Back in late July and early August, the family and I took a 3000 mile road trip to Idaho and back, going through South Dakota, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, Montana and North Dakota. We saw many things. On the way through South Dakota, heading towards Rapid City, we saw tons of signs for the Firehouse Brewing Company among the other attractions out there. Most of them had actual, old fire trucks, which really makes me wonder just how much thy spend on their advertising. Especially because most of the fire trucks looked really clean, so someone is going out and scrubbing them? I don’t know, but I had checked the previous day and knew they had root beer on tap, so fancy billboards or not, that’s where I was eating dinner that night. When we ordered they originally brought my root beer in a plastic cup, which enraged me to no end because I ordered a pint, not a plastic cup, of root beer. Though the waiter said it was impossible to get it in an actual glass, they do gave free refills so I went to the bar and asked if I could get my root beer in a glass and they gave me one no problem.

The Body is sweet and dark and licorice. Really strong licorice. Like black jelly bean. There’s a little wintergreen in there but not much else other than, Bite! Which is spicy as all get out. I do like those spices, but it’s not really smooth and pretty mild on carbonation which negatively impacts, Head! Or lack there of. I watched them pour it (the second pint at least) and really nothing at all which is the complete opposite of, Aftertaste! Which is bitter, and licorice, and strong, and lingers.

Um, do you like drinking liquified black jelly beans? Then you’ll love this root beer. I, of myself, feel that root beer should have a more complex flavor than just spiced black jelly bean. Also the Head is terrible. So yeah, I’m not a fan of this root beer one bit. Their food was quite good. They had many types of burgers and you could get any burger with a standard patty, an Impossible patty, a bison patty, or a cricket patty. I chose bison, it was good but a little dry, because bison is pretty lean. They also have an amazing fish and chips. It’s a pretty decent place all in all, but skip their root beer.

2 out of 5 root beer kegs

My bacon cheese bison burger with fries. It was quite good

Jan 042023

Fresh off my IEEE PES GM DERMS root beer extravaganza, and I mean fresh off, like I didn’t even go home, I flew straight there, I was in Phoenix, Arizona. Do you know why? Can you guess? It starts with a D… Anyhow, I was meeting with customers and when they asked for dietary restrictions I said I required gourmet root beer (jokingly) only to be met with a variety pack of Orca beverages in the meeting room that morning. Can you say Bull Dog? Oh yeah. Now that’s what I call a customer. Juan, you rock! What does that have to do with Cam’s? Not much, other than when I left I was in the airport and looking for dinner. I saw the SanTan Brewing Company airport location and thought, why not. So I says to the guy “Hey SanTan Man, you guys got any root beer?” Yes, yes they did. They make it themselves. It’s called Cam’s, after the brewer’s son Cameron (I think it’s his kid). Well, the only way to make a week where you get four draft root beers better, is to get five draft root beers.

The Body is dark and complex with mint and spices and licorice and birch flavors all coming through. It isn’t as sweet as other root beers either, more of an adult, old fashioned flavor. The Bite is quite spiced with good carbonation. It finishes neither harsh nor smooth. The Head is short and gone, kind of sad. The Aftertaste is slightly bitter, minty birch which fades to a very faint caramel.

This is okay. It’s spicy and complex, which is good, but no Head and not very sweet nor creamy. Not bad, and unique as well. It’d go well with their food. Their chipotle bacon burger was amazing and so were the fries. They pair well giving this a solid drinkable. It’s not worth a pilgrimage by any means, but if you’re flying out from there, it’s as convenient as it gets.

Three kegs

SanTan Brewery Chipotle bacon cheeseburger. So amazingly yummy.