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.

Jun 252012

So just after I decided to start reviewing root beer stand root beers (since I the Standards Committee of the International Association of Gourmet Root Beer (IAGRB) declared them gourmet) I found myself in Dearborn Michigan for another electric vehicle conference. The only root beer that I could locate in walking distance was the A&W stand. I was planning on doing my review of A&W either with the one near my parents house or the original stand in Lodi (near my grandma’s house if I ever got down there), but on day three of the conference, I felt I needed a root beer. I trekked to stand in a suit in 95 degree Michigan heat and ordered a nice frosty mug of root beer, just to drink, not review. As I was enjoying the infinite refills for only $1.90 the manager told me a bit more about their root beer and their stand. That they hand make their root beer in batches every morning for the freshest flavor. That they still use the original secret recipe, and that, unlike the bottled A&W, there are no preservatives. That means it is a different recipe and thus technically classifies it as a different root beer in my book according to the IAGRB Standards. They tap the syrup straight out of the vat and mix it with soda water in the fountain, definitely higher quality than your bag-in-the-box swill. Also the Dearborn A&W is very close to corporate (since all of the stands are currently owned by franchises and corporate only does the bottled sodas) and is used for training. It includes a conference room and an oversized kitchen. Wow, I didn’t even know any of that at the time. I vowed to return the next day with my camera in tow to give them a proper review. The next day also happened to be June 20, the Birthday of A&W so it seemed appropriate to have my review then.

The Body is sweet and full with creamy vanilla and a spicy caramel flavor accenting the core. It is almost candy-ish. The Bite is pretty mild but there’s a small kick from the carbonation and spices. I do like it smooth though so no harm there. The Head is medium height and frothy so it lasts a good while. The Aftertaste is creamy vanilla with caramel and spice hints.

So yum. I find nothing at all bad in this root beer and they’ve got a lot right. There is a reason that A&W stands still dot the land after all. The crisp fresh taste with the lack of preservatives really pushes it over the top whereas the bottled root beer fell a bit shorter. I’ve had better brews of course, much better, but this is delicious and well balanced. I give it the Seal of Approval (and a trip to the Wayback machine will reveal that I originally stated it was a 4 from the draft at the restaurants), though just barely. I’d say it’s the cutoff point. The food is pretty good too but nothing compared to the XXX Root Beer Drive-in.

A bacon cheese burger and fries with root beer. Pretty good.