Nov 262014

McCutcheon's Root Beer Bottle Nestled in the small city of Frederick, MD resides McCutcheon’s Apple Products, Inc. It was started in 1938 by old Mr. McCutcheon who, after working till ripe old age of 80, was “asked” to retire from his job at the local canning factory. Well, not to take that lying down, he went and bought himself a cider press and got to work with his son and daughter-in-law. Soon they were making apple butter and other jams and jellies. Today they are still going strong, with half of their 26 full time employees being proud McCutcheons. Somewhere in that history of growth to over 300 different jams, preserves, sauces, etc, they decided to add in a root beer. Because, root beer. They don’t make it there, but it is custom made to their specifications using pure cane sugar. They don’t ship their root beer, however. Something to do with it leaking in the summer. It took quite a bit of coaxing for me get them to ship me out two bottles so I could review it. They taped the tops of the capped bottles, then put that in a padded box, then put that box in a bigger padded box just in case. It worked out and no leaking nor spilling.

The Body is dark and rooty with some wintergreen and a tad bit of licorice coming though. The Bite is nice and spicy, yet it finishes smooth. The Head is super tall and lasts a long time. It makes medium sized bubbles rather than the tiny ones, which is fine. The Aftertaste is really good with some creamy vanilla and a dab of wintergreen.

This brew is a bit darker than I prefer, but still high quality, especially the smooth, creamy finish. It’s a shame that you can’t order it online. Maybe they’ll improve their capping technology in the future. Who knows. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three and a half kegs

Nov 222014

Roslyn Brewing Company No. 9 Root Beer One day I decided to expand my Google Maps brewery searches of the region to a larger radius to see just what I could find. I went to the home page of Roslyn Brewing Company and saw that they have a root beer, No. 9 Root Beer to be exact. I was both elated and shocked. Roslyn is five minutes off of the freeway on the way to my parents’ house. I’ve driven past there dozens of times in the past few years and never knew there was gourmet root beer just waiting for me to try. And of course it would be another five months or so before I went to visit my parents again so I couldn’t try it right away. Roslyn itself is a tiny little town that used to be a coal mining town, a rarity in Washington State. It’s all old fashioned looking and their brewery’s taproom only has six stools. Since no minors (only miners?) are permitted, I had to leave the kids outside with a promise that I’d bring the root beer out to them after my review. Sadly this has nothing to do with the Beatles, but rather is named after coal mine No. 9 which supplied coal to the trains going over Snoqualmie Pass.

The Body is dark and minty yet not full. There’s licorice and it’s slightly sour. There’s not really any Bite, which is odd for this old fashioned variety. There wasn’t really any Head on it either. The Aftertaste is weak with a little bit of wintergreen.

So this isn’t really good. It’s not my favorite variety of root beer, and is poor in its genre. There really isn’t anything to see in the town other than a tiny museum and some old fashioned buildings, so unless your route takes you past there, I wouldn’t recommend a trip just to try it.

2 out of 5 root beer kegs

The Roslyn Brewing Company and Tap Room

The Roslyn Brewing Company and Tap Room

The No. 9 Root Beer tap.

The No. 9 Root Beer tap.

The fine city of Roslyn. Not really anything there.

The fine city of Roslyn. Not really anything there.

Nov 192014

Frostie Vanilla Root Beer BottleSeal of Approval About a year or so after I found Frostie Root Beer I encountered Frostie Vanilla at a grocery store in Provo where I was studying. They’re still going for the whole Christmas theme though now the snowy field has been replaced with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and the frosty mug o’ brew is now a tall root beer float, or something with a scoop of ice cream. It’s like they wanted it to be a root beer float soda, but wanted me to review it so they’re calling it a vanilla root beer instead. I can only say that that is a wise choice, because everyone knows that a soda that I won’t review based on the semantics of its name is clearly not worth drinking.

This has a sweet, creamy Body with lots of luscious vanilla. The Bite is on the weak side but not too bad. The Head is adequate, though it could be frothier. The Aftertaste is a wonderful vanilla flavor that lasts a long time.

Wow, delicious. This is really got a nice vanilla flavor while still being a root beer. It basically tastes like a normal Frostie root beer with the strange unnatural flavor replaced with vanilla. A wise and excellent improvement I say. Clearly, some great sage was present at the birth of this brew, guiding them so they’d make me happy. See how it rates against other root beers.

4 kegs