Jun 262013

A frosty mug of Brick Oven Old Fashioned Root Beer I had finished giving my seminar talk at BYU and was driving back to the hotel before dinner. On the way I saw the Brick Oven pizza place. They have a big sign advertising their old fashioned (there it is again) draft root beer. I was curious, I almost turned in to investigate but then didn’t, then I saw another turn in to their parking lot and decided to check it out. When I was an undergrad here, so many years ago, I used to actually come by a lot. Their pizza is the best in Utah Valley, maybe even the whole state. I knew they sold their own root beer in two liter bottles and just figured their “draft” was some bag-in-box swill to go with plastic bottles. But, what the heck I had some time to kill. I walked in, dressed impeccably in my custom tailored suit and told the waiter I wanted to know about their root beer, how it was made. She called the manager so I figured I’d better properly introduce myself, from gourmetrootbeer.com. He then proceeded to take me on a tour of their labyrinth of kitchen and then lead me into the basement where their brew vats are. He showed warm, uncarbonated root beer in one of the vats (smelled delicious) and explained how they tap it straight from the vats to carbonator and then to the soda fountain along with their apple beer. They also bottle in plastic and prepare bag-in-box syrup for their satellite stores in other cities. But, here in Provo, it’s fresh draft root beer, as gourmet as it gets, made by hand with cane sugar. Wow! That took me by surprise. I cursed myself for not bringing my camera and vowed to return. The manager was cool with it but insisted I sample beforehand. I told him I didn’t really want to taste before an official review but I had their apple beer which was amazing. Later that evening, I was back, camera in hand. The other manager, who I’d met the first visit, greeted me and took me down so I could document Provo’s best kept gourmet root beer secret. Then he got me a 20 oz frosty mug and let me get down to work.

The Body has a nice sweet standard sort of root beer flavor that’s got some caramel notes to it and some spice. It’s a little lighter than I prefer. The spices and carbonation give it a sharp Bite but it finishes smoother. The Head is non-existent, which is something I’ve never seen before in a draft brew. Not even the two second Head, strange. The Aftertaste is the final vanishing traces of spiced caramel that’s gone a little too soon.

So what’s with the Head, he said that they actually put anti-foaming agents in it to stop the Head. The ingredients list doesn’t mention any anti-foamer but maybe he means they took out the foaming agents. Why? Because the customers complained about too much foam, saying that they weren’t getting enough root beer for their money. BLASPHEMY!!! Don’t those fools know there are infinite free refills? The Philistines! How could the customers be so uncouth?!? They’ve RUINED a gourmet ROOT BEER! For the love of root beer WHY? How? What madness could have driven them to this, this travesty of travesties? It’s a good tasting brew but with a Head, it could be so much more, more bouquet, more, foamy goodness. Alas, it is done. There is hope for the future though. They are looking at bottling it in glass, and assured me that they would make sure it foams. I look forward to that day of redemption. Until then, I can only give this a ‘drinkable’ rating.

Three kegs

The Brick Oven Soda Vats

The brewing vats where they make root beer and apple beer by hand.

Brick Oven restaurant

One of the many ‘rooms’ in the restaurant. It expanded into other buildings over time making a cool collection of exterior walls and interior rooms all encased under one roof.