Dec 252013
 

Flashback Root Beer Bottle Merry Christmas! Located near the beach in Seaside Oregon is the Flashback Malt Shoppe. They have over 200 types of glass bottled sodas and serve all manner of frozen desserts. Their own line of sodas is a recent, yet welcome development as the world always needs more gourmet root beer. While Seaside isn’t too far a drive it’s actually bottled by Orca Beverages which is extremely close. However, I got this in a trade from anthony who lives in NJ. I it makes me happy to know that this root beer traveled across the country and back just to make it to my refrigerator. I like their brick wall background with the logo and the sparkleys. The whole use-a-different-font-for-every-line is kind of annoying, but a lot of people do that for some reason. I didn’t study marketing so there may be something I don’t know. As for what their official soda name is I’m not quite sure. I even went so far as to ask them on their Facebook page and they just said, “Thank you for your input” which was not exactly helpful so I went with what’s written above. They also have a birch beer which their website calls a “Birch Root Beer” but the label says otherwise, much to my chagrin. Maybe they’ll change the label some day so I can review that one too.

The Body is medium strength with delicious vanilla and honey accents. There’s a lot of spice in there as well. The Bite is strong from the spice and the carbonation, almost too much. The Head is deplorable, barely better than the two second Head. The Aftertaste is a light vanilla and honey that lasts an appropriate amount of time.

This is good but really needs a proper Head. I’m starting to wonder if this is more of a problem with Orca than the brands themselves, as most of the Orca brands have had terrible Heads. Especially when you consider the nearly identical Bulldog and Steelhead brews with the Bulldog, having a poor Head, bottled by Orca. Oh well. It still tastes really good so if you’re ever in Seaside you should get some. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three and a half kegs


Apr 242013
 

Steelhead Root Beer BottleSeal of ApprovalI’ve long passed up reviewing Steelhead because I thought it was identical to Bulldog Root Beer due to the fact that the website actually calls it their identical sister brand, which is a pretty good indicator that they are just relabeled. I prefer the Steelhead label though. It seems to take the classy look a level higher than Bulldog, plus they ditched the dogs and “The Original” thus escaping the cliches. Did I mention that I’m a sports fisher? I am and I have caught a few Steelhead in my day so that’s another plus. We need more fish themed root beers. So, during a root beer lull last year, I got curious and dug a little deeper. They aren’t bottled at the same location so I wondered if they would taste different like Cool Mountain and Chicago. So I bought some bottles and started side by side comparisons.

The Body is wonderful. Lots of honey, vanilla, and the other essential flavors. Sweet and creamy, the kind of flavor you could just snuggle up to if that were possible. The Bite is not much but sufficient. The whole thing has a very rich and smooth mouth feel from the maltodextrin. The Head is medium height and very foamy. It forms increasingly larger bubbles as it begins to fade and lasts a good while. The Aftertaste is of vanilla and honey and very pleasing though a little sticky.

If you go back you’ll notice that my description is nearly identical to Bulldog. Over several months of blind taste testing multiple batches of each, I could not tell them apart. The Head, however, is another story. The Steelhead has a superior Head, one that’s taller, lasts longer, and with a different consistency. While the Bulldog’s is short and frothy with small bubbles, the Steelhead’s is medium and foamy with larger bubbles that lingers several minutes longer. It’s enough to have it rank a little higher against its peers such that when presented with the choice between the two, I’ll take Steelhead every time. An email with the people at Orca Beverages (bottler of Bulldog) even confirms that the two recipes are slightly different and that the website is out of date. So they probably just toss a little extra foaming agent in the Steelhead. That works for me. See how it rates against other root beers.

4.5 Kegs


Feb 202013
 

Bulldog Root Beer BottleSeal of Approval This isn’t your regular gourmet root beer. It’s one of those few that are actually brewed using the highest quality ingredients (according to their site) such as cane sugar, real vanilla, and honey. The label itself is rather classy but falls victim to far too many root beer cliches. First is the dogs. So many root beers with dogs on the label. This one takes it a bit further since the entire brewery is named after a dog. The two dogs do have names, Barley and Hops, but so do most of the other dog root beers. Also, Bulldog sports “The Original”, a tag line whose disappearance from labels would bring nothing but immense joy, along with “Handcrafted” which isn’t nearly as overused but still too prevalent. Their bold “Unleash the Taste” (pun I’m sure is intended), though, is a nice and very appropriate slogan.

The Body is wonderful! Lots of honey, vanilla, and the other essential flavors. Sweet and creamy, the kind of flavor you could just snuggle up to if that were possible. The Bite is not much but sufficient. The whole thing has a very rich and smooth mouth feel from the maltodextrin. The Head is frothy but not much, not flat by any means just less than is desirable. The Aftertaste is of vanilla and honey and very pleasing though a little sticky.

When I took the first drink I exclaimed “Oh wow!” This is one of the best tasting root beers that I have ever had the pleasure to drink. “Unleash the Taste” indeed! I don’t care what their label is like, I’ll drink this stuff whenever I can get it. It’s really a shame about that Head, if it were tall and extra frothy this may have made it into the highest echelon of root beer rankings. However, I am still very proud to award it my Seal of Approval. See how it rates against other root beers.

4.5 Kegs