Aug 022017

Rollie's Premium Style Root Beer BottleThis is the first root beer that I’ve had that warns not to give to children under 1 year of age. I mean, giving babies soda probably isn’t ever a good idea, but this uses pure honey, and so they put the warning on it. I imagine they’ve never boiled it or else the botulism spores would probably be dead right? Wouldn’t the carbonation also take care of the bacteria? Either way, better safe than sorry I suppose. Rollie’s comes from the Mt. Tom Beverage Co. Which is a division of the Paper City Brewing Company. I’d been angling for this one for awhile and they finally came through and sent me a bottle. In addition to that infant sickening honey, they use pure maple syrup and cane sugar to sweeten so I had very high hopes going into this.

The Body has a strong licorice flavor with some maple and honey mixed in. It’s not super sweet and has a dark profile with fruity undertones. There’s not much Bite at all but it isn’t a smooth brew by any means. The Head is nice and tall with good staying power. The Aftertaste is sticky licorice with some hints of maple and vanilla.

This is unique but it’s off, sadly. Maybe it’s there’s some anticipointment from what I was hoping it would be based on what the label boasts, but also it’s not made like a maple-y creamy root beer, but a honey, maple dark root beer which I don’t think quite works. See how it rates against other root beers.

2.5/5 Root Beer Kegs

Jul 262017

Mug Root Beer BottleI found it. I finally found it. After 18 years of searching the root beer world for Mug in glass bottles, someone kindly pointed me to a little known website that sold this in a blog comment. This whole blog is worth it just for that comment, because I can finally tell people what I think about one of the most common root beers out there. To put how badly I’ve wanted this into perspective. I had thought of calling a Pepsi bottler that does those little stubby glass bottles, and ordering a custom run of Mug in glass bottles. Would I need to buy a whole pallet for that? A whole truck load? I don’t know, but I was actually in the process of trying to do that. Yup. Now only one major brand left, Hires, we’ll see how long that takes me. What else to say about one of the most common brands of root beer out there? This is bottled by West Jefferson and is made with real sugar and not HFCS. So, what do I think of this long expected root beer?

The Body is rich and creamy with a little vanilla. There’s some licorice and wintergreen too and all it mingles together like a generic root beer barrel candy. There isn’t much Bite, it’s smooth. The Head is a good height but could use a little more staying power. The Aftertaste is wintergreen with a bit of licorice and vanilla.

Not bad. It’s a nice middle of the road soda with a slight leaning towards the darker side. It’s better than Dad’s and Barq’s, though not as good as A&W. I’d drink it again if I could find it bottled locally and not mail order at $25 for two. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three and a half kegs

Jul 192017

Rider Root Beer Bottle This root beer more unique origins than most. I mean most do have some back story, but this root beer was developed by the students of Theodore Roosevelt High School in Des Moines, IA. The science department developed the brew itself, since getting the right flavor is a delicate science. The label was created by the art department and I really like it. A high school and a moose and a a big ‘R’. It’s classy and fun. Their entrepreneurship students came up with the business plan and marketing. Then they just needed someone to make it for them. So they went to the local brewery, Confluence Brewing Company, which brewed and bottled in these quart growler things that my parents say look like the old hydrogen peroxide bottles. I think this whole story is awesome and I wish my high school had done something like that. They only made around 800 bottles which were sold for $10 each with $5 going back to the school. I tried getting some directly from the brewery but it didn’t happen. Luckily Vince saved the day by getting me one (since he lives in Des Moines).

The Body isn’t very sweet. There’s sarsaparilla and molasses as the prominent flavors with some cinnamon as well, but it they don’t find the proper confluence to create a beautiful harmony. Rather a shrill off-key mess. The Bite is sour with decent cinnamon burn. Half there. The Head is good. It’s medium height with decent staying power. The Aftertaste is some molasses and sour.

Ugh, what did they do? This tries to tread a fine line between being a herb tea brew and a normal root beer, and ends up doing the splits and landing on its groin. I don’t want to be mean to the poor students but, seriously, this is bad. Didn’t they do any research on what good root beer tastes like before they made it? Maybe it’s like how too many chefs spoil the soup, too many students spoil the root beer. I’d like to give them an A for effort, but really, this is more like a D-. Except the art department, they get an A. See how it rates against other root beers.

2 out of 5 root beer kegs