Sep 052018

A glass of Schneider's German Root Beer Still at the Minnesota State Fair, after I’d visited The Root Beer Hut I figured it was time to hit up all of the fair essentials, like roasted corn, big fat bacon on a stick, Sweet Martha’s Cookie Jar, etc. After I’d gotten my corn and was waiting in line for my bacon (which I dual wielded for awhile), I saw another root beer stand. Schneider’s German Root Beer. Mind blown, two root beers for me to review when I only expected one! This was going to be an epic fair. I decided that I should walk the whole grounds (since I’d just recently had a 32 oz Challenge Root Beer) and catalog all of the root beer stands at the fair. After about 4 hours of wandering, I was ready for review Round 2. Schneider’s German Root Beer was established in 1947 using a family recipe. Like the Challenge Root Beer, it’s only available at the State Fair from one of two stands. I assume the one I visited was the first such stand.

The Body is very spicy and reminds me of a root beer barrel candy. There’s some vanilla with a slight fruity tinge as well. The Bite is spicy with good carbonation and a relatively smooth finish. The Head is a medium height but lacks staying power. The Aftertaste is a spiced vanilla.

This is pretty good. I better than the Challenge Root Beer, though more expensive. You get what you pay for I suppose. There still was a fruity tinge, and that keeps it from a Seal for me. But it’s yummy all the same and is sure to go well with all of that salty stick food you’ll be buying at the fair.

Three and a half kegs

Schneider's German Root Beer stand.

Schneider’s German Root Beer stand. A bonus root beer at the fair for me.

German Root Beer stand

The other German Root Beer stand.

Aug 292018

Cup of Challenge Root Beer from The Root Beer HutThis past Saturday was the first weekend of the Minnesota State Fair! The Great Minnesota Get-Together! Since it’s my first time being a Minnesotan during the state fair … wait, can I be a Minnesotan? Like, I guess I’ll always be a Washingtonian, despite where my residency currently is … er … My first time living in Minnesota during the State Fair (that sounds more accurate), I had to go. Also, because I knew there was a root beer stand called The Root Beer Hut that makes their very own Challenge Root Beer, only available during the Fair. So I made a beeline to the Hut, through record crowds with root beer first and foremost on my mind, all other fair fun secondary. They serve their brew out of wonderful wooded barrel taps which is very cool. I lament the lack of frosty mugs, but for root beer stands such things can be forgiven.

The Body is very sweet with a fruity tinge that makes me think of brown sugar. It’s got that classic root beer stand flavor with less vanilla than normal. The Bite is pretty mild though spices are present and it has decent carbonation, yet, it isn’t very smooth. The Head is short and doesn’t last. The Aftertaste is a light vanilla with a fruity tinge.

It’s decent, but nothing special. It’s a fine fair drink, and is reasonably priced unlike many things you’ll find at fairs. After my review I found out that the same family runs another root beer stand at the fair, the Red Barn Root Beer which also serves their Challenge Root Beer. Root beer is actually quite a prominent feature of the fair, but I’ll get more into that in the next post.

Three kegs

The Root Beer Hut

The Root Beer Hut

The three root beer taps on the keg dispenser.

The three root beer taps on the keg dispenser.

The Challenge Root Beer Keg

The Challenge Root Beer Keg

My root beer being poured out

My root beer being poured out.

Jul 042018

A frosty mug of Ace Drive-In Root BeerBack in Chicago this past week with a rental car and no coworkers coming with me to dinner. This was a perfect time to venture further off the beaten path in search of root beer excellence. About 40 miles south west of Chicago lies the city of Joliet, which I think is still technically a suburb. There, one can find the tiny Ace Drive-In, owned and operated by the same person for the past 38 years. This place is a classic root beer stand in every sense of the word. They still have car service, which was the first time I’ve ever had the waitresses come to my window with a tray. They still make their root beer in house, poured from a tap and served in frosty mugs. They only take cash and they don’t give receipts. The whole place is beautiful and wonderful and a true blast from the past.

This has a classic creamy root beer Body but with only a little spice and nothing prominent to jump out at you. It’s well balanced, but seems a little lacking. There is a similar situation with the Bite, which is mild yet also not overly smooth. Some more spices could really improve this. It also has a decent Head, both in height and frothiness, but alas, it is a little shorter and fizzes away a little faster than ideal. Such it is with the Aftertaste as well, which gives but the slightest bit of vanilla to remind you of what it could be.

So the root beer is good, but I guess disappointing because everything else here was so amazing, I was hoping for a blow-me-away-amazing brew, instead of a solid standard type. I ordered a Chicago style hot dog and cheese fries and they were delicious. I should have ordered a second dog probably because it wasn’t huge. All and all, this is a great place, well worth the trip, even though the root beer on it’s own doesn’t quite merit it.

Three kegs

Pierson’s Ace Drive-In. A classic root beer stand in every sense of the word.

The menu on the wall. I would love to try it all.

A happy root beer reviewer, getting car service for the first time in his life. Yummy hot dog and cheese fries with a frosty mug of brew.