Aug 062014

A Pint of Dr. Ziggy's Root BeerSeveral weeks ago I went down to TMC Connect, the Tesla Motors Club conference, in Monterey. I was on a panel on electric vehicles and the grid. I got a ride down with a fine fellow named Paul, who came from Vancouver, BC. We drove in his Model S, stopping at the super chargers along the way, and by so doing made it to Sacramento from Seattle in about 16 hours. Did I mention it didn’t cost us a penny since super charging is free? Yeah, Teslas rock. Anyhow, when we were a little south of Portland I asked him if it would be possible to search for some root beer at a brewery. He said he didn’t mind so I searched Google maps for breweries in the town of the next Super Charger, Springfield. I called up the first one, Hop Valley and asked if they had root beer, which they said they made their own. When we entered the location on the map, we saw that it was right next to the Super Charger. Ultimate root beer super charging win! We wouldn’t even have to go out of our way and we could try the brew during our 30 minute charging break. Even though it is made by Hop Valley, it is called Dr. Ziggy’s after the owner’s father.

The Body is sweet and sort of spicy with a decent sassafras flavor and some brown sugar hints. The Bite, however, quickly turns acidic sour and prickly and overpowers the good flavors detracting significantly. The Head, as you can see, is fabulously tall and lasts the whole time. The Aftertaste is a nice buttery, nutty flavor which is really, really good.

So this one starts out decent, turns bad, and finishes wonderfully. Add in the beautiful Head and I’ll give it a solid 3.5. We didn’t try any of their food since we’d eaten at the previous Super Charger, but I hear that the brewery smokes their own meats on the roof of their establishment. This is definitely the place to go when you’re road tripping in a Tesla between Washington and California. Or just drive straight there, with a Tesla, all it costs is time, and the drive is time well spent.

Three and a half kegs

The Dr. Ziggy's Root Beer Tap

The Dr. Ziggy’s Root Beer Tap

The inside of Hop Valley Brewing Company

The inside of Hop Valley Brewing Company restaurant.

Hop Valley Brewing Company near the Tesla Super Charger in Springfield Oregon

Hop Valley Brewing Company near the Tesla Supercharger in Springfield Oregon

Jul 302014

A pint of Capitol City Brewing Company Root BeerSeal of ApprovalOn the second day in DC, after I’d finished my … stuff, I had the evening free to myself. So after going to the National Mall and defying the “shut down” barricades (I’m such a rebel, I know), I headed out on foot to walk to the Capitol City Brewing Company for dinner. It was an hour walk but I am very cheap in my root beer questing and the exercise is good for me. They have two locations in the area, the closest to me was the Arlington location in The Village at Shirlington. The brewery is a very impressive place. They have four large brew vats in the middle with the bar around them. The vats are labeled with whatever is brewing in them at the time. They have other brew vats in other part of the restaurant as well. The place is very lively and looks to be quite the hang out to watch the Redskins play foot ball.

The Body is rich and creamy and delicious with caramel and vanilla notes. It has a mild Bite, just barely enough, and is very smooth. The Head is short, yet frothy and lasts. It’s just barely good enough to not dock serious points. The Aftertaste is a sweet, buttery, nutty flavor that kind of reminds me of buttered popcorn jelly bellies. It comes in strong, complementing and replacing the other flavors and lasts quite awhile, slowly fading as you wonder just what it is. I’ve never tasted that flavor in a brew before and I like it a lot.

I don’t want to say ‘wow’ but, Wow! That Aftertaste blew me away. The brew had plenty going for it at the first drink, but after swallowing it shines like nothing I’ve ever had before. It takes a good creamy brew and makes it exceptional. You just want to keep drinking it and drinking it to get that flavor again. Unlike Hops, they don’t give you a free refill, sadly, but I can understand as I would have probably drank an entire kegs worth. It’s a shame the brew mistress had just left before I got there, I would have loved to congratulate her personally on being awarded the Seal of Approval. The food was delicious as well. The server suggested I get a burger, and their Hickory Burger was divine. If you’re in DC you must visit this place.

4 kegs

The Root Beer Tap

The Root Beer Tap

The bar is really cool with those brew vats in the middle.

The bar is really cool with those brew vats in the middle.

Ah dinner, a hickory burger and fries. It's a bacon cheese burger with tons of chipotle barbecue sauce.

Ah dinner, a hickory burger and fries. It’s a bacon cheese burger with tons of chipotle barbecue sauce.

Jul 232014

Jack Black's Dead Red Root Beer Bottle A pirate themed energy drink root beer, I’ve never seen one of those before. To be fair, I had this one first. At the time ordered it, I thought they were referencing one of my favorite comedy actors, who, to the best of my knowledge has never actually portrayed a pirate. The only other Jack Black was some pirate ghost from an old Disney series that had to go and save 100 lives to avoid damnation. I don’t think that’s what these guys are going for. It does seem a jolly scull and crossbones, so let’s just assume they were envisioning some sort of Nacho Libre prequel set on the high seas in a ship called the Dead Red with an awkward, incompetent captain (Jack Black) and a delinquent crew. Root beer would somehow be involved. Probably Jack Black’s favorite drink and the crew would always be doing something to it as part of a running gag. And then Jack would yell “Who’s been screwin’ with my brewin’?” or something like that. I’d definitely watch that movie. There are also many humorous sayings written on the bottle like “Second time available in 416 years” … okay, and “Better Dead Red than just plain Dead” which remains to be seen.

This has a nice sweet and creamy Body. After the initial contact however, there is a strange flavor that surfaces and takes away from beauty of the brew. The Bite is too strange. There is too much Guarana in it. The Head is alright. The Aftertaste is of vanilla and Guarana.

Well that is pleasantly surprising. These energy drink type root beers are usually frightening at best but that’s pretty decent. Not Seal of Approval good, but good enough to warrant an occasional bottle on International Talk Like A Pirate Day, for a Pirates of the Caribbean marathon, and similar type activities. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three and a half kegs