Nov 032021
 

Saint Paul Brewing House Made Root Beer
Last week that esteemed root beer collector Vince was in town and had some brews to trade with me. He was staying near Saint Paul so I did a quick search and found that Saint Paul Brewing made their own root beer, so we could meet there and give it a try. I don’t know why Saint Paul Brewing calls it House Made Root Beer! with that exclamation point, but that’s what’s on their menu so I dutifully call it so. They also say that it is root beer with bite, so maybe it’ll be spicy. The brewery (brewing?) itself is made in the ruins of the old Hamm’s Brewery, which was closed in 1997. They’ve reinvigorated it and turned it into the sort of trendy place that’s all the rage these days. They even have a sweet pizza oven but I wasn’t there for pizza so we got our pints and gave it a try.

The Body has a very strong wintergreen flavor in the old fashioned style. There’s a bit of vanilla and a lot of spice. The Bite is sharp, which seems to be their goal. The Head is quite short, but it is there. The Aftertaste is bitter. Too much wintergreen so it ends quite bitter indeed.

Wow, a lot of Bite, but very bitter for a root beer. Maybe beer drinkers would appreciate that but I certainly did not. This isn’t really a brew I’d ever drink, not even with pizza. Which sadly, we didn’t have time to try due to tight schedule constraints. Maybe I’ll go back there some day, probably not, but at least it looks really cool.

2.5/5 Root Beer Kegs
Saint Paul Brewing
The root beer tap
The outside seating area with the pizza oven in the back of an old truck. It’s got atmosphere for sure.
Oct 062021
 

Soda Pop Bros Maple Root Beer BottleRoot beer number 2 from The Soda Pop Bros! It’s a limited edition Maple Root Beer! Because what could be more Canadian than putting maple syrup in your root beer? Apologizing for your coworkers missing a meeting because of opening day of moose season (true story by the way)? Eating poutine at a hockey game while sipping a cup of Tim Horton’s? Being all dressed as a Mounty while eating All Dressed chips and a Coffee Crisp? Maybe but maybe not, because those Canucks love their root beer like their neighbors south of the border, and maple syrup is the glue that holds their country together. The only thing I really don’t get is the beaver. Like what’s a beaver got to do with maple syrup? Maybe they cut down maple trees for their dams? I don’t know, but it’s a cute beaver that somehow feels very Canadian. Anyways, root beer.

The Body has a rich maple syrup flavor on initial contact which is followed by vanilla and aged sarsaparilla. The flavors mix well. The Bite is mild and smooth with a good mouthfeel from the maple syrup. The Head is top notch. The Aftertaste is sarsaparilla and maple. The more you drink the more the maple diminishes and the sarsaparilla grows to almost taste fruity, sadly.

Dang, I wish that Aftertaste weren’t so strong of sarsaparilla. My first drink of this and I was like “Ah, now this is the stuff!” But as I drank more I was all “Is this the stuff?” and unfortunately by the end, I was like, “This is not quite the stuff”. But it’s still better than average, and I prefer it to their normal root beer. The fact they used real maple syrup rather than maple flavor really improves the mouthfeel. It’s definitely worth a try if you can find it. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three and a half kegs


Sep 012021
 

A mug of A & Dubs Root Beer Back in June I took a day off to make another small three day Minnesota road trip. Plan was Duluth to Ely and back. Since I’d already been root beer hunting in Duluth, I wasn’t planning on finding anything. Yet, the day before I tried “root beer duluth”s into Google and found a drive in called A & Dubs. They seemed to have root beer, so I gave them a call and they said yes, they make there own. Well, I knew where I was headed for dinner then. The little drive in was originally an A&W some 60 years ago but they decided not to renew the franchise at some point and just strike out on their own, with their own root beer recipe. They changed the name to A & Dubs, which is about the least creative thing to name your former A&W since the drive in named “The Drive In”. It’s a proper drive in with car service and 3 booths inside (closed sadly for Covid) and two picnic tables outside and offers the standard drive-in fare of burgers, dogs, chicken baskets and the like. Their sign says “Home of the Power Platter” which is a burger root beer combo meal. So that’s what I got.

The Body is sweet with a classic root beer stand sassafras flavor and some creamy vanilla. It’s a little mild though not too weak. The Bite is spicy yet smooth in carbonation and finish. The Head is short but very foamy and lasts awhile. The Aftertaste is a very mild sassafras and vanilla.

This is pretty good root beer. Stronger than the last drive in I went to but still a little too mild to get the Seal. Their Power Burger was much smaller than I expected with a name like that but was tasty enough. I’ve had better, but I go to a lot of these types of places. Over all I’d say there’s nothing particularly special or unique about this place compared to similar root beer stands, yet, it’s the only one of its kind in Duluth, so I can see why it’s still going strong. The waitresses were very friendly and gave good service. It’s still family owned too, so it’s worth dropping by if your in the area and looking for that classic drive in flavor. Just make sure to bring some cash, as they don’t accept cards at all.

Three and a half kegs




The A & Dubs Drive In. And my sweet sweet Model 3 blue (best road trip car ever)

The A & Dubs menu

The menu on the side.

The Power Platter

The Power Platter. Tasty, but kind of unimpressive given then name.