Jan 152014

Capt'n Eli's Root Beer Bottle One day, out of the blue, I get an email from the people at Capt’n Eli asking me if I’d like to try their root beer. Yes, I responded, that is my primary reason for existence. If only more companies would follow suit. They sent me a 4-pack and a comic book about Capt’n Eli, an orphan boy genius who loves the sea, has a pet dog, builds his own submarine, and may be descended from Captain Nemo (I only had the first issue so I’m not sure how the plot developed). It’s called the Undersea Adventures of Capt’n Eli. One of his first inventions was making a root beer machine. I’m guessing that the root beer they’re selling is supposed to be from his root beer machine. This is the first and only time I’ve encountered a root beer with its own comic book, unless you count Snoopy with A&W though Snoopy wasn’t invented to push root beer so it’s a bit different. They’ve since expanded their soda line because why not.

The Body was sweet and creamy but with too much anise and no honey. The Bite was spicy and the Head was perfect. The Aftertaste was of vanilla and anise that wasn’t bad but at the same time not overly good.

This is a well crafted brew with attention to detail. I could taste the fact that they used natural flavors. It was really good, but I just don’t like the anise flavor too much, if they just had a little less of that and some honey or something. It pained me to not give them a Seal of Approval because they were so nice, but the root beer wasn’t quite up to my tastes. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three and a half kegs

Jan 012014

Bedford's Root Beer Bottle Bedford’s is another root beer that comes from close to my home. Their company is from Port Angeles, and though it seems that they originally bottled it there, it is currently listed Orca Beverages as one they bottle. Ironically, I didn’t find it anywhere in Washington, but down in Provo, UT. It was several years ago and you can see that whoever bottled it then, used aluminum screw caps which you almost never see anymore (and Orca doesn’t currently do). Jones also uses those bottles so maybe it’s a Puget Sound thing. As an aside, even the first A&W I had from glass bottles was like that but more on that another day. I like the medieval-ish banner and logo. Then there’s the fact that they used the same font for all of the text and the label’s a winner in my book.

The Body is sweet and creamy but a little weaker than it should be. Also, there is a hint of something strange in the flavor that just doesn’t belong. The Bite is really non-existent. The Head is nice, but not frothy so even though there is a lot of it, it doesn’t linger. The Aftertaste is pleasant, but that same strange flavor is there.

This root beer on the whole has got the right stuff, but just not enough. The first two bottles of this stuff that I drank were actually wonderful, but the rest were lacking and so you get my average review. I feel consistency between bottles is important after all. I want to be sure of quality if I’m going to recommend this to someone. But even at its worst is still a decent brew. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three and a half kegs

Dec 162013

Root Beer cans and bottles in Saudi Arabia
This last week I had the immense pleasure of traveling to Dhahran in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to do more electric car academic things, presentations and a thesis defense. I of course was on the look out for the greatest soft drink the world has and ever will known/know. I was simultaneously hopeful and worried. Hopeful, because all alcoholic beverages are banned and so many beer companies make 0.0% malt beverage to sell there, and worried because none of my Saudi friends have ever liked root beer. And also because the internet filter put on by the government blocked my site. I assume it is due to the “beer” in the title of Eric’s Gourmet Root Beer Site and all of the talking of root “beer”. I did send an unblock request explaining the misconception so hopefully it will be taken care of soon. Either way, it didn’t bode well for root beer finding.

I searched in every grocery store and cafe I encountered, and while I did find many new and strange sodas and malt beverages, root beer eluded me until the second to last day. I had gone to Safeway in search of a post card (also something nigh impossible to find). In the soda section I saw cans of imported A&W, my heart was swollen with joy, but not as much as when I turned the corner and saw another display with bottles of IBC. A drinkable gourmet root beer in a regular grocery store. A most triumphant win for the good people of the Kingdom this is. With any luck it will catch on and they’ll start making their own version for me to review. Until then, all root beer lovers heading out that way for extended periods of time can rest easy in the knowledge that some gourmet brew is awaiting.