Nov 172021
 

A mug of Nutty Bar Stand Root BeerSeal of ApprovalBack in July I took a road trip down to Okoboji, IA in part because I’ve never been down there and in part because I had learned about The Nutty Bar Stand. The Nutty Bar Stand is a sweet shop/concession stand in Arnolds Park, the oldest amusement park west of the Mississippi river. Arnolds Park has all of the rides you’d expect albeit it they are rather smaller and old. But it’s still good fun and the lines were short and the children and I had a blast running around to different rides until it started raining on us. It was lunchtime anyways so we took a break and then went for dessert at The Nutty Bar Stand. They serve two primary things there. Nutty bars, which are a cube of vanilla ice cream dipped in chocolate and then rolled in peanuts, and frosty mugs of root beer, for only $1 a mug. Now that I like! Especially because it’s good root beer.

The Body is sweet and creamy and rich. There’s that classic root beer stand flavor with a hint, of nutty? Something almost nutty in there, and it works and it’s good. The Bite is nice and spicy. The Head is what you’d hope from a stand like this, tall and foamy. The Aftertaste is vanilla with a slightly nutty finish.

Yum! A slightly more complex, nutty take on the classic root beer stand flavor. I don’t know if they nutty is intentional or just the result of mixing the root beer in a place that also has a lot of nuts, but it really added a uniqueness to the whole thing. Even without that it was a fine brew and the makers should be proud. So head on down to Okoboji if you can, get some cheap yummy brew and ride some rides and feel like a kid again.

4 kegs




The Nutty Bar Stand Root Beer Barrel

The Nutty Bar Stand Root Beer Barrel

The Nutty Bar Stand

The Nutty Bar Stand at Arnolds Park

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.

Jul 072021
 

A mug of Minnetonka Drive-in Root Beer For Father’s Day weekend my wife asked me if there was any sort of celebrating I wanted to do. I had two things in mind, fishing and root beer. Luckily for me I knew of a place I could accomplish both (so I thought). Just 15 minutes south of where I live I had discovered the Minnetonka Drive-In in Spring Park, nearly smack in the middle of Lake Minnetonka. They make their own root beer, and surely there’d be some public fishing pier. So we set off to fish and found the only fishing pier on the map (that I could find in Google) was completely inundated with duckweed, lily pads, and other weeds making fishing entirely impossible. But at least we could get to the drive in. The Minnetonka Drive-In was opened in 1961 as a family business. The classic root beer stand is still owned and operated by one of the children of the original founder. He started working there at age 9, washing glass gallon jugs for root beer. I love a family business root beer stand story. They have random mugs to serve their root beer, some unmarked, some A&W, according to the server, they just acquired them wherever they could. There’s lots of picnic tables and they have car service as well. Since I don’t eat in my Model 3, I just ordered inside and went to a table in the shade, since it was a beautiful day.

The Body has that classic root beer flavor with a hint of vanilla. It’s plenty sweet, but it is also just a bit mild, like it could use to be a bit stronger. The Bite is a little spicy while low on the carbonation side. The Head is short and foams away too quickly. The Aftertaste is some sweet vanilla.

It’s overall tasty, but just kind of lacking in all departments, but the core flavors are still really good, so I still give it an above average, high 3. I almost want to go a little higher, but reading my own review doesn’t justify. Three is good from The Root Beer Gourmet after all. The food there is quality. I had their signature Minnetonka Twin burger with onion rings and slaw and cheese curds. I forgot to order bacon with it sadly. Some of the family got some ribs and other fish and chips. It was all really good. I recommend dropping by if you’re in the area.

Three kegs




The Minnetonka Drive In

The Minnetonka Drive In

A Minnetonka Twin burger with onion rings and root beer. Quite the delicious meal.