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

Nov 112015

Babbling Brooke's Root Beer BottleAnother brew from the well traveled Red Hunt who sent it from the Mystic Land of the North (Canada). True story, his original shipment got lost in customs and never made it. A whole six months later he tried again, and interestingly the original shipment showed up on his doorstep. When I look at this brown bottle of Babbling Brooke’s brew featuring a barrel, it reminds me of a book I used to love when I was little, The B Book, where the whole thing was very long sentences with every word starting with the letter B. Like “Big brown bear, beautiful blue baboon, blowing bubbles biking backwards…” and so on. This root beer is all natural, old fashioned, and even traditional according to the label. It’s made by the Nickle Brook Brewery and evidently the people in the barrel are Nick and Brook. It’s got some interesting ingredients like burdock root and orange peel so I wasn’t too sure what to expect.

The Body is very dark and complex. There’s licorice and burdock in addition to the sassafras that give way to some wintergreen and a bit of vanilla and cinnamon. It also has molasses hints and is kind of bitter. Despite the cinnamon, there really isn’t much bite. It’s more a cinnamon flavor than any burn. The Head is short yet frothy and lingers. The Aftertaste is licorice, wintergreen, and cinnamon that lasts too long and ends bitter.

It’s different but not terrible. It is however too dark a flavor for my tastes. I’ll end with a B Book style sentence of my own about this root beer. Babbling Brooke’s brother’s big brown brew barrel bobbed buoyantly beyond blue birch barns, beneath bonded brick bridges; by black badgers, buzzing bees, bitty bats, braying breeds, barking beagles, bereaved beavers; behooved by boastful brew bloggers bemoaning bitter burdock brews bought behind Billy Bob’s biker bar by bellowing bad Betty before breakfast. See how it rates against other root beers.

2.5/5 Root Beer Kegs

Dec 172014

Napa Valley Soda Co. Root Beer Bottle One day I’m walking through Macey’s (a grocery store) in Provo and I spot this new root beer on the shelves. I’d tried one other brew from Napa Valley Soda Company, Rutherford, and it was an experience I wished I could forget. Closer inspection revealed that this iteration is certified organic instead of merely being all natural. The label had clearly changed from the peaceful bliss of Rutherford. Gone were the green valley and the sunny days and the lazy fliers and in its place a swirling vortex of doom. This cavernous void was no doubt the result of Rutherford Root Beer being unleashed upon the valley. Only one hot air balloon managed to escape the destruction, with the valley’s last hope for salvation, the new and improved Napa Valley Soda Company Root Beer. Only a truly excellent brew of the highest caliber could save them.

The Body is ok, very sweet but fruity and kind of weak. The bite is really not there at all. The Head is awful; it fizzes away in like two seconds. The Aftertaste is fruity as well, but luckily it goes away quickly.

Ok, this isn’t good at all. It has a hint of the right stuff, but not enough, not nearly enough to save them from the apocalypse they created. Most likely because natural flavor is the last ingredient. It’s better than Rutherford, but not much. At least they could claim they were making progress, however it was too little too late. Like with Rutherford, they wrote some spiel about Napa Valley and quality and what not, but once again, the product does not live up to the “tradition of excellence.” And thus the vortex of doom overcame them and the company has since been closed. Frankly, I’m not surprised at all. See how it rates against other root beers.

2 out of 5 root beer kegs