Oct 302013

Skagit River Brewery Root Beer in a Growler I’ve been chasing after this one for awhile now. I had learned about it from a Google Maps search of “brewery Seattle” and then calling all of the ones that showed up. The Pike Brewing Company said they had Skagit River Brewery Root Beer on tap. It wasn’t for another six months before I found myself near Pike Place doing some charge testing on a Chevy Volt. When I finished up I headed to the brewery to give the Skagit a try. Unfortunately, it wasn’t there. They’d stopped serving it a month before I came and replaced it with Crater Lake Root Beer on tap, ugh. Crater Lake is awful. I kept looking and eventually I heard the Root Beer Store had a keg of it. The owner warned me though, “I remember it being flat, tasteless, and like diet the last time I served it at an event. I hoped it would go good in ice cream. It didn’t. I took it out, and you are welcome to the pony keg. Its in my warehouse……drinker beware.” I reminded him that whether or not I like it is irrelevant, I need to try it to find out. I stopped by later that day and filled my growler, took it home and gave it a good chill before trying the next night.

The Body is sweet but mild and watered down, really watered down. Actually that’s too generous, it tastes like burned sugar water, a little caramely and then nothing. The Bite is virtually nonexistent. The slightest bit of acidic sour burn and then that vanishes as well. The Aftertaste is slight watered down sugar and a little sour acid.

Ok, he was right. This stuff is tasteless. It’s like they brewed sugar and citric acid and then called it a day before remembering that root beer does, in fact, have other ingredients. I never thought I’d say it, but switching this out for Crater Lake is a major improvement. These Skagit guys got lucky that I tried it out of a growler and didn’t evaluate the Head, from the sound of things they would have lost more points for that. Either way though, drinker beware.

One out of five root beer kegs

Jun 052013

A growler of Rogue Root Beer I know everyone’s been dying for me to do another growler root beer review. It’s been over a year and I always am just picking them up off the tap instead of taking them home for later, but finally your wait is over. I’ve known about Rogue for awhile and was even all set to go to a brewhouse that served it but I ended up winning those tickets to the Silver Tips so I went to Scuttlebutt instead. Then The Root Beer Store told me that they had just had a keg of Rogue returned that was 3/4 full and they’d fill me a growler if I wanted, so it’s a little hard to pass that up. Sadly most of the carbonation foamed out during the filling and the foam lasted an exceedingly long time, but I don’t rate the Head for growler brews. According the the Rogue website, this root beer is a paradox. It says “12 Ingredients: Brewed using 6 Ingredients” Perhaps they’ve just fallen into the physics trap of losing a factor of two somewhere but the contradictions don’t stop there. It also says “No Chemicals, Additives, or Preservatives” but then two of those six (12?) ingredients are “Sodium Benzoate & Citric Acid” So either the brown sugar they use is rich is sodium benzoate or something (two things actually) don’t add up (pun intended).

The Body is full but not creamy. There’s a fruity molasses flavor in there as well mixed with spices. The Bite is solid from said spices and I’m sure if it had a full carbonation it would give a good kick there as well. The Aftertaste is a complex molasses and spice with a subtle fruity flavor. The molasses flavor isn’t overbearing but still not my favorite.

So it’s really disappointing. I want to like this but I don’t really. It’s ok, but doesn’t really live up to its possibilities given the ingredient list. I may try it again on tap if I encounter it just to see if maybe it was sitting around for too long or the loss of carbonation somehow sabotaged the flavor, but for now, it’s just a drinkable.

Three kegs

Dec 122011

So I had heard about Dick’s Root Beer from Anthony’s wish list. I found it was made in Centralia, which isn’t too far from me. Before I planned a trip there, I figured I would send a shout out on Facebook to see if any of my UW friends (Zombie Tag comrades) were from there or going there. Lucky for me a good friend and CFH member Brian lived there and said he would get me some over Thanksgiving. I told him I needed three bottles. Well he left a message on my voicemail over the break that they didn’t sell their root beer in bottles, only draft and growlers (filled from the draft) and that he got me a growler. So this caused a conundrum. I only rate bottled root beer. Though, technically, I should rate draft root beer from kegs and growlers as well, or at least drink them, since I rate my root beers with a keg system. Clearly, root beer from a keg is gourmet, as well as a growler filled from a keg. The problem is that I can’t really hold growler root beers to the same metric with the head since the bottling process preserves the head while pouring it in the growler will lose it. So I decided that I’ll review root beers from growlers, using the same Body, Bite, and Aftertaste metrics. The Head metric will be thrown out. The reviews will be on the blog under the Growler Root Beers category but there will be no short format reviews in the review tables since I am a stickler about my bottled root beer. I am not sure how I will rate root beers only available in kegs, but I’ll figure it out when I happen upon a keg root beer.

The Body is sweet and full with a candy-ish caramel flavor. There are accents of anise and wintergreen but not too much anise/licorice to make it bad (and it doesn’t take much in my book). It isn’t very creamy however, which is a downer. The Bite is solid with some nice spices grabbing you along with some fizzy carbonation all while having a smooth finish. The Aftertaste is a spicy caramel flavor that is slightly fruity.

So this is a quality brew. I wouldn’t go all the way there just to drink it, but if I were passing through and wanted a good meal and a root beer to go with it, I would surely stop by Dick’s Brewery. My wife and I enjoyed drinking this root beer with roasted chestnuts as well.