Oct 292014

CiceroChicagoStyle_big The third root beer from the Cicero Beverage Company/Capone Family Secret people. They were kind enough to ship me two bottles of this after I completely loved their Salted Caramel variety. This one is Chicago Style and I can’t for the life of me figure out what that’s supposed to mean. I know of a Chicago Style deep dish pizza, like what you find at Giordano’s, but Chicago Style root beer? I didn’t know that was a thing. Granted, they’re not the first to slap that on their bottle, there’s Goose Island Chicago Style and Chicago Draft Style, but once again, there really isn’t any specific definition of what Chicago Style entails. Maybe it’s like “old fashioned” or something in that it doesn’t really mean anything but is good marketing. They are in Chicago after all. Anyways, this one’s label is similar to their salted caramel except there’s no salted caramel flowing down.

The body is a medium strength standard root beer flavor that isn’t overly sweet. The Bite is sharp on the tongue and a little harsh going down. Not my favorite. The Head is extra tall, but fizzes down really quickly. The Aftertaste is a light and sweet vanilla flavor.

This is an alright brew that is rather refreshing. There isn’t any unpleasantness but at the same time it doesn’t really have anything to jump out and grab your attention like the Salted Caramel or the smooth sweet vanilla of Capone. The not creamy, slightly harsh, and tall yet quickly dissipating Head is similar to Chicago Draft Style, so maybe that’s what Chicago Style is all about. Why not? See how it rates against other root beers.

Three kegs

Nov 062013

Cicero Beverage Company Salted Caramel Root BeerSeal of ApprovalI had the most unique opportunity to get a hold of this brew before it came to market. The fine people of Capone Family Secret told me that they wanted me to try a salted caramel root beer that they will start selling in World Market in 2014. Interestingly they’re doing it under a new beverage line, Cicero Beverage Company. I have no idea why. You’d think that an already successful brand like Capone’s Family Secret could incorporate a salted caramel root beer. That is, unless, their story on the label about it being found in Al Capone’s warehouses was true and they really didn’t want to upset his legacy. Either way who am I to complain about new root beer, well complain too much. It arrived in what must be the best way to ship soda EVER, a treasure chest containing two burlap sack wrapped bottles. They had to one up themselves from their Capone delivery evidently. Cicero’s theme is Chicago style sodas with a picture of the city with a river flowing through the middle. For this flavor the river is caramel being poured in the top and then leaking out of the bottom of the picture.

The Body has a rich caramel flavor accompanying the traditional root beer flavors. It’s a little salty but not too much. Bite is mostly from carbonation and has a smooth finish. The Head is medium-short but is very frothy and lingers long enough to be adequate. The Aftertaste is a luscious salted caramel flavor that lasts just the right amount of time.

Wow! I love a caramel flavor in my root beer and this takes it to a new level without overpowering what a root beer should taste like. Striking the perfect balance with a flavored root beer such as this is difficult, as is evidenced from all of the butterscotch brews I’ve had, but they’ve nailed it perfectly. See how it rates against other root beers.

4 kegs

Dec 212011

I discovered this brew when the Capos-Capone Pasta Sauce ‘liked’ my page on Facebook. I looked at who they were and discovered that they made this root beer. But wait, why would they ‘like’ me if I hadn’t even tried their product? So I shot them an email, apologizing profusely for not having tried their esteemed brew and asking them how I could acquire it (you don’t want to anger Mr. Capone’s ‘family’ after all). They were very understanding and offered to send me some to review. Maybe they were a little too friendly. Great, now I’ve given them my address, I hope they weren’t mad about my ignorance of the Capone Family Secret, I mean, it was a secret after all. But a few days later, instead of receiving a hail of 0.45 calibers delivered from a Tommy gun and a quickly passing 1928 Cadillac Town Sedan, or a pair of cement shoes and a new apartment at the bottom of Lake Washington, I received two bottles of root beer each in it’s own burlap sack. That’s pretty cool. I’ve never gotten root beer shipped like that before. I would expect nothing less from the Family. It says on the bottle that this is soda was the only thing ever found in Al Capone’s warehouses during the many times they were raided (along with pasta sauces it seems). So how did Mr. Capone like his root beer?

This is one of those brews with a nice, creamy, full Body. It has a nice spicy caramel type flavor that surfaces after the initial contact. The Bite is good. It grabs you with those spices and a carbonation tingle but then lets you go slowly and smoothly for an excellent finish. The Aftertaste is lovely vanilla and a hint of spicy caramel that you could just swim in (you’ve never swum in vanilla?). The Head is a bit perplexing. The first bottle I had didn’t have much of a Head, but it was very frothy and lingered long enough to not be fatal to the rating. The second bottle had a huge Head that was medium frothy and fizzed down until the last centimeter. That last centimeter stuck around awhile. So either way the Head was good enough, though, I prefer a Head I can count on.

So this is quality stuff. Clearly Mr. Capone would settle for nothing but the best. Dare I say it, if he had focused on selling this, he wouldn’t have needed any other of his ‘businesses’. Or, I’m sure he could have had his sentence commuted if he had sent this stuff to the Governor or the President. Perhaps his greatest crime was keeping this under wraps for so long. Either way, I’m glad it’s been released now so we can all enjoy it and I am proud to award it my Seal of Approval. See how it rates against other root beers.