Apr 012015

Ben's Brew Root Beer BottleFinally I have a root beer from Alaska. I’d often wondered if I’d had one from all 50 states but always knew without even checking that I’d never had one from Alaska. But now I have. This brew comes from Sitka on Baranof Island. There’s only one retail location in the lower 48 states that sells it and thankfully they happen to be in Seattle. The ingredients have to be ferried on to the island and the root beer than takes another ferry off. Needless to say that it was pretty expensive. Interestingly, there are no ingredients listed on the bottle, so I haven’t a clue what’s in it. The only thing it does say is that it’s “Great for kids, teetotalers, and those on antibiotics” … I had never heard of a teetotaler before but it’s someone who completely abstains from alcohol, so yeah, this would be good for them. People on antibiotics? Yes, absolutely. The essences in root beer double the power of your prescription without any ill side effects. So drink up all you with staph, you can trust me, I am a doctor after all. This is the third root beer that I’ve had with Ben in the name. I wonder what it is with guys named Ben and the desire to put their name on a root beer bottle.

The Body is creamy and spicy with a very traditional flavor. There are hints of licorice and caramel in there as well. It’s pretty good. The Bite is sharp and sassy. The Head was short and very frothy with the first bottle, and tall but fizzed away with the second. Either way it is pretty good. The Aftertaste is a light licorice with hints of wintergreen.

Not bad, not bad at all. This tastes like a mix between the dark spicy type and the rich creamy type of root beers. I wish the Bite weren’t so sharp but that’s just me. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three and a half kegs

Mar 282015

NORKA Root Beer Bottle This root beer comes from Akron, Ohio. They liked their fair city so much that they wrote the name backwards to use it for their brew. It was founded in 1924 and died out in 1962. Then, last year, a resident of Akron realized that the city’s iconic brand was missing and decided to bring it back. And thus NORKA was reborn. They make three flavors of “sparkling beverages” in addition to their root beer and use all natural flavorings and pure cane sugar. You don’t see many brands calling their sodas sparkling beverages anymore, but maybe that’ll change. They kept the original logo and name. Though why the founders of NORKA thought making their name in all caps was a good idea is beyond me. I can think of approximately one person who’d be bothered by it more than me. The makers of it were kind enough to send me a four-pack to review, as all new root beer makers should.

This has a mild Body with a noticeable vanilla flavor to it. The cane sugar shines as well, though the other flavors are very subtle. The Bite is harsh; a lot of carbonation but not a lot of spice. The Head is very tall yet lacks staying power and fizzes away much too quickly. The Aftertaste is vanilla and cane sugar, which is pretty nice.

This is alright. I wish it were a little stronger and spicier, and the Head stayed a little longer. That said, it’s a decent brew with no unpleasant flavors, though nothing overly special. I wouldn’t make this the flagship of a soda line, but it certainly doesn’t hurt one. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three kegs

Mar 252015

A bottle of Moose Wizz Root BeerSeal of ApprovalI dislike toilet humor. I’m sure I thought it was funny when I was 5, maybe as long as until I was 8. After that, it just seemed such a crude and base attempt at humor (as opposed to puns which are the highest form of humor EVER). I cringe whenever I’m watching a movie or Anime and see poop jokes. Why bother putting that stuff in there? And then I come across Moose Wizz Root Beer, with a picture of a large moose with a stupid half smile as if saying “ha, ha, I peed…” Really? REALLY? That’s what you’re going for? Your label has such vibrant colors and a nice nature scene, and you have to ruin it with a pee joke? Supposedly the name came from The Moose Tooth Grill, the full service restaurant of the Adirondack Brewery, who makes this stuff. Being in upstate New York, it gets nasty in the winter. The customers often asked them what they’d do up there in the winter and they said they collected Moose Wizz. Seriously? SERIOUSLY? … Seriously. *sigh*

The Body has sweet honey and spices complimenting a nice, complex sassafras core. Rich and creamy vanilla is also present. The Bite is solid from spice yet oh so smooth in your mouth, like velvet. The Head is nice; really tall though it does fizz down quicker than others. The Aftertaste is vanilla and honey with traces of wintergreen.

… and it’s freaking amazing. I really wanted to hate on this brew, but, Wow! It’s delicious and complex and smooth and spicy and pretty much everything I could want in a root beer. I still don’t particularly like the name, but honestly, if the root beer is that good, they can call it anything they want. See how it rates against other root beers.

4.5 Kegs