Mar 282018

Zia Root Beer Bottle Imagine a root beer that’s more than just a root beer. It’s a root beer with a mission. A mission to enrich the state of New Mexico, through local economic support. A mission to achieve a sustainable earth for the next seven generations. And a mission to benefit the Native Tribe of Zia Pueblo. Congratulations, you’ve imagined ZIA Root Beer. The company name, ZIA Energia means sun energy. And the symbol on the bottle is the sun, with rays in four directions, symbolizing many sets of four things like North, South, East, and West; Earth, Water, Air, Fire; and even Clear Mind, Strong Body, Pure Spirit, and Devotion to the Well-Being of Others. The design and the font are all very Pueblo-y, if that’s a style. I think it’s a style. I’m saying it’s a style. Feel free to correct me in the comments about what the real style is. My rudimentary Googling fell short. My only comment on their mission is what about the poor eighth generation?

The Body is rich and complex with lots of spice and some licorice. There’s also a hint of malted barley. The Bite is strong and spicy with a lot of clove. The Head is decent. It’s tall and frothy enough but I’ve seen much better. The Aftertaste is wintergreen and vanilla with clove accents and licorice.

This is a solid and complex brew, but there’s just a little too much licorice in it for my tastes. I was on the fence of where to put this one and thankfully I had more than two bottles so I could try it again. Ultimately it didn’t quite make the Seal cut, but it’s still worth trying as it is pretty unique. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three and a half kegs

Mar 212018

Old Bottle Brewery Root Beer Bottle The Old Bottle Brewery is a small home brewery founded in 2014 in Ruston, Louisiana. It’s just a small part time operation though they have big, professional aspirations for the future. Even though they are small, they make their own root beer and were even kind enough to send me some. Their brew is made with all natural ingredients like molasses, wintergreen, vanilla, and nutmeg. All the ingredients are listed on the “label” which is tied around the bottle neck. Unfortunately if you brew all natural, you don’t get to use sassafras, and that can be bad for the total flavor. Apart from that tied on tag, the bottle is entirely plain, but all that really matters is how it tastes.

The Body is complex with a lot of different flavors; vanilla, molasses, some wintergreen, and spices, but it lacks a solid core to pull it all together. Nevertheless, it is still pleasant. The Bite is nice from all of the spices and still finishes a bit smooth. The Head is excellent, so full points there. The Aftertaste is also very pleasant, with vanilla and light molasses and spices.

This isn’t bad, but doesn’t excel. It’s got all of the wonderful peripheral flavors but really lacks the sassafras core. There are other brews that suffer from this same problem, but this is among the better ones. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three kegs

Mar 142018

Rabbit Ridge Root Beer Bottle Seal of ApprovalI’ve seen root beer bottles with many different types of animals on them, but this is the first rabbit. My daughter saw it and said it is an Easter Bunny root beer. Actually, it’s made by Rabbit Ridge Winery’s spin off soda line, Paso Pure, so the rabbit is from that. The sodas were developed in 2015 for all the children and designated drivers that come out wine tasting, which means that people must drink way too much out there if they need designated drivers. The line is called Paso Pure because they use pure ingredients and they’re located in Paso Robles. It’s run by the daughter of the winery owners. The label is a bit perplexing since “Rabbit Ridge” is far more prominent than “Paso Pure.” I suspect that’s the parents reminding their daughter who’s really in charge. They also make sure to say “Soda Pop” to both frustrate and placate both sides of the soda vs. pop nomenclature war.

This has a rich, creamy Body that’s full of classic sassafras flavor. Bits of vanilla and wintergreen are present as well. The abundance of spices give a pronounced Bite that isn’t overbearing and finishes silky smooth. The Head is just perfect, tall and frothy and I couldn’t ask for more. The Aftertaste is creamy vanilla with ending notes of wintergreen and clove.

What a masterful brew! Seriously, this stuff is amazing! It’s one of the best brews that I’ve reviewed in awhile. I’m proud to award this my Seal of Approval. With stuff like this on their tasting tour, I wouldn’t be surprised if everyone was volunteering to be designated driver. See how it rates against other root beers.

4.5 Kegs