Aug 022023

I always appreciate it when brands make new root beers for me to drink. Take Aldi, that wonderful store with strange off brands and low prices. They also make their own gourmet root soda line, Summit. Why? Not sure, as that doesn’t seem to be the standard thing a cheap store does, but they do it. Now I’ve given middling reviews to their root beer before, and maybe that’s the reason they just keep changing their recipe, in an eternal struggle to gain my approval. Now being the considerate store they are, they also change the label and the name slightly, so it’s very easy for me to categorize it as a completely new root beer. Whereas previous iterations have been Summit <insert adjective> Root Beer, this one is just plain ol’ Summit. My wife spotted it for me awhile back while she was shopping at Aldi and guessed that I’d not had it yet. Always nice when new root beers just present themselves. So how did Aldi do this time?

The Body is sweet, though not overly so, with a nice vanilla. It has a generic creamy taste to it with a little hint of fruity but also a little lacking in depth. The Bite is sharp, harsh even, from carbonation but lacking in spice. The Head is okay. It’s medium all around. Nothing special yet adequate. The Aftertaste is light vanilla with the slightest fruity hints.

It’s an okay root beer, solid drinkable. Not quite as good as their Craft version, which I’m sure comes as a great disappointment to them. Last time they were three and a half and I imagine they hoped to push in that final half a keg, but sadly I think this version losses half a keg. Oh well, better luck next time. I suppose if they want to hire a root beer consultant, I can teach them the ways. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three kegs
Jul 052023

Back in May I was in Winnipeg doing DERMS. You know, you’ve read my last review. That review was for the place I knew about, planned about, and was prepping for. However, on the way between our meeting site and our hotel, was the Lake of the Woods tap room. After meetings were done, and we were walking back to the hotel before heading to lunch, I thought I’d drop in to just see if maybe, just maybe they also had root beer? They did. And not just on draft, they actually had big ol’ bottles of it. Well isn’t that just perfect. I immediately bought two to take home. I also took a picture and dropped it into the Facebook root beer group, which caused no small stir. Everyone was asking where I got it and some random person, not even in the group but living in Winnipeg got tagged. Why am I telling you this? Because later that day, when my coworker wanted to grab a pint (of regular beer) from there, as I was talking to the bar tender, a person behind in the line said “Are you the root beer guy from Facebook?” That’s right, the guy who got tagged had come down to try it and recognized me. What fun. The Lake of the Woods Brewing Company started Kenora, Ontario but they also have breweries in Winnipeg (where I visited) and Warroad in Minnesota.

The Body is weak. There’s a classic flavor profile but it’s watered down and there’s a bit of fruity to it. The Bite is also weak. Light on spice and on carbonation. The Head is medium but fizzes down very quickly. The Aftertaste is fruity with faint vanilla.

This isn’t good. Not unpleasant, but also not good. It’s kind of depressing, since it’s such a cool bottle and all. Oh well. Maybe it tastes better on tap? If not, I can’t recommend ever getting this, unless you need a cool bottle for your collection. See how it rates against other root beers.

2 out of 5 root beer kegs

Jun 072023

Last month I was up in Winnipeg for the first time in my life. I was there for DERMS, because what else would I be doing? I could just be road tripping, it’s not actually that far from home, but I wasn’t road tripping. Anyways, after doing my DERMS thing my coworker and I walked down to The Forks to see the sites. I love revitalized areas like that, where parks and shops and restaurants are in old brick and stone buildings built in centuries past. One of those restaurants is Wienerpeg, a most fabulously named hot dog place. Everyone who hears the name laughs, and with reason. It is pretty funny. I had made this restaurant our target since I knew that they also made a house brewed root beer, in addition to gourmet hot dogs and poutine. Which would be perfect for International Poutine Day, the day we were there. After checking out the shops we grabbed our order and went to review.

The Body is light and herbal with a prominent honey and sarsaparilla flavor. It’s one of those rare, herb tea root beer profiles which you wouldn’t recognize as root beer if you were blindfolded. The Bite has decent spice with okay carbonation. The Head is medium-short, and fizzes away a little too quickly. The Aftertaste is mild honey and herbs, which is quite pleasant but quite not like archtypical root beer.

An herb tea style root beer. I haven’t had one of those in awhile. I’m still not convinced that this a valid form of root beer, just too far outside of what you’d expect. I dare anyone to take a blind taste and say that such a brew is in fact a root beer, or what they expect a root beer to taste like. Anyways, it is a bit tasty and pleasant to drink and goes well with the hotdogs. I had their signature Wienerpeg one with some pulled pork poutine, that was quite excellent. This place is definitely worth a visit for the food.

2.5/5 Root Beer Kegs
Me with our food in front of Wienerpeg
My Wienerpeg hotdog, with cheese curds, dill and grilled onions, and a pulled pork poutine