Aug 042021

The Soda Pop Bros Root Beer Bottle One of my root beer friends on social media runs a craft soda shop in Windsor Ontario, The Soda Pop Bros. In addition to their large selection and soda delivery, they worked to develop their own line, which includes two flavors of root beer. He was so kind as to send me some samples to review. Sadly he mixed up the boxes and accidentally sent what was intended for another reviewer to me, but I still got some of each of his root beers. I decided I’d start with the plain, er, ordinary, er, original, that’s it, root beer! I like their label, it’s got a classic vibe and isn’t too busy. One other interesting thing, it has 2% of the daily allowance of calcium and 10% of potassium. I’m not sure why that is, but extra nutrients isn’t a bad thing at all. Maybe it’s mineral water? Or maybe they just want electrolytes for hydrating root beer? Not sure, but I hope to love it.

The Body is sweet with sassafras and vanilla flavors. There’s a faint sarsaparilla that builds over time. Overall the flavor is nice and clean and simple. The Bite is mild though it isn’t smooth. The Head is wonderfully tall and frothy and you shouldn’t try to build it because then it’s too much and takes forever to fizz down. The Aftertaste is that sarsaparilla, which is pleasant.

It’s good. I’ll say that, but nothing really stands out, except the head, and the potassium. Need that potassium. So while I won’t give this one the Seal, it is better than average and is worth a try. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three and a half kegs

Jul 212021

The Dorothy Molter Museum Interpretive Center
The last weekend in June I took a road trip with the family to the north of Minnesota. Our final destination was Ely and top on the list of things to see there was the Dorothy Molter, aka The Root Beer Lady, museum. Dorothy lived out in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness on the Isle of Pines where she ran a resort. They used to have pop flown in by float plane but after that was banned she started using the empty bottles to make root beer for her guests. Eventually the area was designated by the federal government as wilderness, but Dorothy was allowed to keep living there, where she still made thousands of bottles of root beer every year for the canoeists that would visit. After her death, her cabins were relocated to the museum site.

I’ve written about her root beer before, and while it’s not by any means my favorite, I must acknowledge anyone who devotes so much of their lives to making root beer in the wilderness that they earn the title The Root Beer Lady. The museum itself is quite nice. The interpretive center and gift shop opens to a trail with her cabins and artifacts. Mostly focused on her life, but also the history of the Boundary Waters area. They also have a lot of her original root beer making equipment. The Dorothy Isle of Pines Root Beer is said to be as close a recreation of her root beer as possible.

The gift shop has not only bottles of her branded root beer, but also many other root beer candies and products, many of which I’d never seen (look for future posts). The whole place is wonderful, informative, and very much root beer themed, making it a site to which any true root beer fan should make pilgrimage.

Dorothy’s root beer making equipment. They actually have root beer making lessons here.

The Point Cabin. Where guests stayed in the summer.

The Point Cabin. Where guests stayed in the summer.

The winter cabin

The Winter Cabin. Where Dorothy stayed during the winter.

The gift shop

The gift shop

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.