Jan 312018

Pint of Exit Strategy Brewing Company Root Beer On the last day of my Chicago trip our meetings ended early and we had a few hours so I jokingly suggested to my colleagues that we could get another root beer. They said if I could find another place we could go by, so I plowed into Google and quickly found Exit Strategy Brewing Company. It’s on the same street as Brown Cow, interestingly enough, though about eight blocks away. It was started only a couple of years ago and became the “exit strategy” of the owners who quit their “real jobs” to devote themselves to their true passion. That passion has also included their own root beer, which shows how seriously they really get behind the craft brewery movement. I mean, if you don’t have a root beer, you’re not really all in. They serve their root beers in glasses shaped like cans, which I absolutely adore. I just wish someone would take this one step further and make sealed glass cans that can open like a bottle. Take a type of root beer I won’t drink (canned), and make it proper (in glass).

The Body is sweet with caramel notes and a little vanilla. It’s on the mild side though the flavor profile is spot on. The Bite is very mild with low carbonation. Nevertheless, and notwithstanding the low carbonation, it builds a mighty Head when poured which has a decent amount of staying power. The Aftertaste is a little dark, a little vanilla, and a little gone too quickly.

Not bad at all. I wish it were a little stronger and spicier and had more carbonation lingering after the Head, but it’s still a solid brew, not a Seal, but solid. It was a shame that I didn’t have time to get a meal there, as I’m sure their food would also be on point. My biggest complaint is that their sign is a rusty metal letters against a red brick building, so it was difficult to find it while staring right at it. But if you can find it, it’s worth dropping in.

Three and a half kegs

The soda taps, they also make other flavors besides root beer.

The soda taps, they also make other flavors besides root beer.

The Exit Strategy Brewing Company vats. I wonder which one is for the root beer.

The Exit Strategy Brewing Company vats. I wonder which one is for the root beer.

Jan 242018

A glass of Brown Cow Ice Cream Parlor Homemade Root Beer This past week I was in Chicago on a business trip doing my businesy things and meetings all day but as normal, I had root beer on my mind as soon as we were going back to the hotel and looking for dinner. Plus I’ve got that whole New Year’s resolution of 52 brews this year, since last year I fell a little behind, what with the move and all. My searching found the Brown Cow Ice Cream Parlor, which makes all manner of tasty desserts and has an old fashioned soda fountain with their homemade pops, including root beer. I’ve long wondered about how to categorize old fashioned soda fountain root beers. I’ve seen the fountains before but none I’d visited had their own root beer. Now that I had one sitting before me, I have decided to make it its own category of gourmet root beer. Old Fashioned Fountain Root Beers. Yup. If you don’t know, at an old fashioned soda fountain they put the syrup in the glass and then mix with the soda water, sometimes they mix the carbonating chemicals, like phosphate in separately. So here’s the first of what hopes to be many a fountain and phosphate reviews.

The Body is minty and mild; sweet with some bitter hints to it. It’s also a rather generic flavor profile. The Bite is a little spicy with decent carbonation, but there is no Head at all, despite my telling them to make a lot. The Aftertaste is wintergreen that ends on bitter notes.

Not bad. It could be a little stronger and I really wish they could make a foamy Head on it. There’s no reason for it not to have one, just need to put a foaming agent in there. Though they focus more on their very elaborate root beer floats, so that may be why they purposely kept it not foamy. Well, It hurts them in the review, but I think they would probably have an amazing float, so if you’re out in the west side of Chicago, check this place out.

Three kegs

The Brown Cow's Soda Fountain. I wish I had gotten better pictures of the rest of the parlor.

The Brown Cow’s Soda Fountain. I wish I had gotten better pictures of the rest of the parlor.

Jan 172018

Frost Creek Root Beer BottleSeal of Approval Frost Creek Beverage is from Texas has been around for over 15 years. They recently have turned their flavor expertise to craft sodas and make a line of seven flavors including their root beer. They use only triple filtered water and pure cane sugar, no HFCS. I was thrown off at first, since the label seems to be the same dimensions and materials as some of the private label stuff. Contacting the company revealed that the sodas are all their own formulae, but they are mixed and bottled by two different bottlers, depending on the region. That makes sense, a lot of guys do it that way. They’ve got a nice and simple, yet classic looking label, which I really like.

The Body is sweet and rich with creamy vanilla wrapped around a spicy sassafras core. There’s even a hint of wintergreen. The Bite is spicy, but not too much so. It finishes smooth too, so it’s about a perfect Bite. The Head is short, unfortunately, and doesn’t last long. But it isn’t too short and doesn’t fizz away too quickly. The Aftertaste is sweet vanilla; lovely, lovely vanilla.

This is a wonderful brew. I love that spicy and that smooth, sweet vanilla. I wish it were a bit foamier, but it’s still more than enough in all departments. I’m proud to give this one my Seal of Approval. See how it rates against other root beers.

4 kegs