Sep 072016

Virgil's Bavarian Nutmeg Root Beer Bottle This was actually one of the first gourmet root beers that I ever heard about. At the time, I was around 15 and loved my Henry Weinhard’s. My older brother was talking one day about some amazing root beer and I thought he was talking about Henry’s but he said it was Virgil’s. But not the regular Virgil’s, the special Virgil’s in the spring top bottles. Sadly, he died before he was able to share a bottle with me, and though that led to me becoming the root beer connoisseur that I am today, I didn’t find that special Virgil’s until over 10 years later. I’d long since had the original Virgil’s before this but was not impressed at all. This one, though, promises a different, more special/nutmeg recipe that is imported from Bavaria evidently. I’m not sure why they want to stress that it’s from Bavaria. Last time I checked, all of the root beers that came from Europe were pretty nasty and last time I was in Germany, they didn’t even know what root beer was. So unless they’re talking about Bavaria, PA or something like that, it isn’t really a selling point.

This has a very complex Body that is creamy, sort of fruity, and not overly sweet. It lacks the essential sassafras flavor and comes across a little weak because of it. It has a nice Bite on account of the cinnamon and nutmeg but manages to keep it on the smooth side. The Head is a major drawback. It is weak and fizzes away quickly. The Aftertaste is a creamy and slightly fruity flavor with hints of honey. It lingers awhile and is not unpleasant.

This one is much better than the standard Virgil’s but the lack of sassafras flavor is significant and fruitiness is slightly out of place. Replace that fruitiness with the sassafras and give it a nice Head and it would be amazing. It says that it is a winner of the NASFT “Outstanding Beverage” Award. Though this an O.K. brew, I wouldn’t go that far. The spring top bottle is one of the coolest bottles I’ve ever seen though, and you can reuse them to make your own homemade brews too so it’s definitely worth having now and again. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three and a half kegs

Aug 312016

A pint of Brasserie Saint James Root Beer Brew number four from my amazing Tesla Gigafactory Root Beer Road trip, which makes this the most successful trip yet (at least in terms of quantity). When we last left off, I was gallivanting about downtown Reno with the voice actor for Oblio in his Model X, finding root beers in casinos. I knew of one final place, Brasserie Saint James, and figured that it was now or never. The brewery is built in an old ice factory and when the current owners bought it, they also got the water rights to the spring on which it is built. This means that they don’t have to use the city water for their brewing. Their decor is very rustic and I really like it, but of greater importance is that they make their own root beer.

The Body is fruity, so fruity, with a little sour that masks the other flavors. The Bite is nothing other than a little carbonation. There is hardly any Head at all and what little there is vanishes is seconds. The Aftertaste is more light fruity.

Yuk. Why is it so fruity? Maybe it’s very old. Maybe it’s a bad batch. Maybe they like it like that. Or maybe, they just don’t care about their root beer. Whatever the reason, I am not impressed at all. The coolest looking place has the worst root beer of my entire trip. Their food looked absolutely amazing, but I wasn’t hungry, so I just took one picture of someone else’s order and wished I was in the appetite for it.

2 out of 5 root beer kegs

Just look at this deliciousness. I wish I had eaten it.

Just look at this deliciousness. I wish I had eaten it.

Brasserie Saint James Bar

This is my kind of place, if they only had made a good root beer…

Aug 242016

A mug of Don's Root Beer.Brew number three of the my Tesla Gigafactory Root Beer Road Trip. It was Saturday, as Friday’s TMC Connect and Gigafactory party left no time for root beer hunting. I scoured the net and found this root beer being made at The Brew Brothers, a brewery in the Eldorado Casino a 10 minute or so drive from us. It’s called Don’s because Don was the brother that makes it, I guess. I tried to recruit any and all who would come (partly because I didn’t have a car). The only one I could find was Mike Lookinland, who always called me “Doctor” and wanted to know, every time I went to catch a Pokemon, if it was a diglet. We took his Model X, and after a stop for a car wash we arrived at the casino. The brewery itself was nice enough, despite being in a casino in Reno, and they even had frosty mugs for the root beer.

The Body is the sweet and creamy type, albeit a little generic. It’s got a rich texture but no particular flavors jump out at you. The Bite is pretty mild as well. The Head is okay, though a little on the short side and fizzes away too quickly. The Aftertaste is a light sassafras and the slightest hint of anise.

This is a nice solid brew, nothing exceptional at all but plenty good to eat with dinner. I give this a solid 3 kegs, better than the Great Basin brew, but not so much as to merit another half a keg. We weren’t actually very hungry so we just shared a plate of nachos. I forgot to take a picture of them unfortunately.

Three kegs

The Brew Brothers

The Brew Brothers. It looks like it’s outside, even though it’s inside.

The Brew Brothers' brewing vats.

The Brew Brothers’ brewing vats.