Jul 152015

A&W Root Beer BottleA and W. Two letters that redefined the root beer and fast food landscape. While Charles Hires brought us the fine drink we call root beer, it was Allen and Wright that took it to the modern era. Forty-three years after Hires swept the nation with dry powdered concentrate and bottled goodness, a new player entered the fray with a new way to do things. While Hires was a genius in advertising, and Allen the father of the modern franchise. Within two decades his root beer stands dotted the land and his brew the most commonly drank root beer in the country and became the defacto root beer standard definition of a root beer for many. Other business titans, like the Marriotts, sprang from humble franchise owners. While growing up, for me, A&W was the good stuff. The special root beer instead of the store brands. And after I became The Root Beer Gourmet, A&W also ushered in another era. For while I’d had several types of glass bottled root beer, and had sworn never to go back to cans or plastic, it wasn’t until I found bottles of this being sold in a mini-mart on White Pass that I started my root beer bottle collection. I was traveling there with my future brother-in-law to get his sister on the other side of the pass. I’d never seen my old favorite in glass bottles and I wanted to keep the bottle to show my dad.

It’s got a good Body and nice Head, but is too harsh in the carbonation on the Bite. Aftertaste is very pleasant.

This is a nice creamy root beer that’s good but not quite top notch. It’s middle of the road though, so everyone pretty much likes it if they like root beer. After that trip I decided that I would collect a root beer bottle from every new brew that I drank, and rate them as to which was the best. The website idea came several weeks later. A&W, once again it’d changed the root beer world. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three and a half kegs

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