Feb 082017
 

Swamp Pop Filé Root Beer Bottle Getting this brew was frustrating. When it first came out they listed Cost Plus World Market as carrying it. I went to all of the ones in the area and they had every flavor of Swamp Pop except for the root beer. They were uncertain if they had merely sold out or never had it to begin with. After awhile it became evident that they didn’t have any and wouldn’t. So I emailed the company. They replied back that The Root Beer Store had it. But the people at the Root Beer Store didn’t have it and hadn’t even heard of it. So I was left wondering what to do and finally gave up and drank lots of other root beers. Then one day, I was at The Root Beer Store and they had it. Finally. This comes from down in Louisiana in the heart of Cajun country. It’s made with filé powder, which, if you don’t know, is ground sassafras leaves. It’s used for gumbo and other Cajun cooking. Since sassafras is a traditional root beer flavor (the roots anyways). The fine folks at Swamp Pop decided they should put it into their root beer to create “a flavor profile reminiscent of early, traditional root beers.”

This has a very sweet Body with an herbal, almost cola flavor. Vanilla stands out as well. There really isn’t much Bite other than the carbonation, but it isn’t overly smooth either. The Head is as good as it can be. So tall I have to pour with caution; lasting throughout the whole drinking experience. The Aftertaste is light and cola-ish. Is it from filé powder?

So really cola like and sweet. Not anything like the vast majority of root beers I’ve ever had. But, this reminds me of Barq’s, a lot. And Barq’s was made in the late 1800s and is also from Louisiana, so I’m thinking that this was their target from the beginning. It is better all around than Barq’s, plus it’s caffeine free, but it’s still a little too far outside of the standard root beer spectrum for me. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three kegs




Feb 012017
 

New York Seltzer Root Beer Soda BottleFinally, I’ve gotten a hold of a clear root beer. I’ve been trying to do so since the beginning. Since that Snapple Tru Root Beer that I just missed in the late 90s. Then there was Tommy’s Naked Righteous Root Beer, that I also missed. So when someone tipped me off about this stuff, I had to buy it, no matter the price. Thankfully, the price wasn’t much so I didn’t break the bank. This is the second root beer to come in a little stubby clear bottle. The first was Dr. Brown’s which was also from New York. It must be a thing over there. Though I’ve long wanted to try a clear root beer, I don’t actually have very high expectations, since root beer, if made from it’s original ingredients would have color and it says “All Natural”. So with that in mind I unscrewed the cap and gave it a try.

The Body is mild and generic, but decently sweet and quite refreshing. There’s a hint of fruity to it but it is surprisingly not bad. There isn’t really much Bite other than carbonation burn, and even that is light. The Head is horrible. Classic “Two-second Head”. The Aftertaste is some vanilla and fruity – mild, but not bad.

I was surprised by this as I really thought it would be horrible, but it isn’t bad. It is actually quite refreshing and yet still tastes like a root beer. But it isn’t really a good root beer, what with no Head nor Bite and with such a mild taste. So I don’t think I would drink it again. See how it rates against other root beers.

2.5/5 Root Beer Kegs




Jun 152016
 

Boylan's Natural Root Beer BottleSeal of Approval This is an extremely elusive brew. In fact, the company’s own website doesn’t even acknowledge it’s existence. Yet the signs are out there if you really look. If you search for this you can find some reviews and some cases for sale (at like $100 a case after shipping) such that it almost seems like it’s been discontinued. But it hadn’t. I searched far and wide to find just a few bottles. I even found a shop in Canada selling other Boylan’s Natural flavors but not the root beer for some reason (because the universe hates me sometimes). Finally, the great sage of sassafras gifted me two bottles out of his abundant beneficence. Strangely, unlike their regular root beer, which is just labeled as “Boylan” this is “Boylan’s” because forget logic and consistency.

The Body full of rich rooty flavors that are almost herbal. There’s some nice bourbon vanilla and spice in there as well to keep it from being too dark. The Bite is excellent with cinnamon the prominent spice. It’s strong enough to grab you, but not harshly. The Head is tallish with medium staying power; adequate. The Aftertaste is a lovely bourbon vanilla and cinnamon.

I’m impressed, I didn’t really think that their normal root beer was anything special but this has a lovely complexity of root beer goodness. Dare I say, this is the only time I’ve encountered a natural version that’s better than the regular version. Dear people at Boylan Bottling Works, stop hiding this from the world! See how it rates against other root beers.

4 kegs