Jun 182014

Spike's Root Beer Bottle This brew comes from Spike’s Junkyard Dogs, a hotdog restaurant chain in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. From the looks of their site they make some pretty epic all natural fresh hotdogs and claim to be the “World’s Best Hotdog-Maybe Better!” I’m sure they’re better than anything you can get on the International Space Station so why not? The brew itself is made by Empire Bottling Works to “[their] specification, bottled in 12oz. brown bottles, privately labeled, and available only in [their] stores. It’s and old fashioned ‘adult’ root beer – less sweet, less foamy, and a nice finish” According to the “Top Dog” Ok, I know I’m overdoing it on the quotes this time. Sorry. The ingredients to confirm it’s different than any of the other root beers I’ve had coming out of the Empire. They opted to go with the dog theme for their chain and root beer, even putting a dog on the label, though that fits a lot better with them than with a lot of others. When it arrived my wife I saw a large dark, wet looking splotch covering the whole bottom corner of the box. I flew into a rage at the postal service destroying yet more of my precious root beers and quickly opened the box to reveal perfectly dry and intact contents. The mark was a huge grease stain, no doubt from the hotdogs. Brilliant Spike, give me a heart attack.

This has a dark Body with a dominant sassafras flavor. The cane sugar is evident as well as the slightest whiff of wintergreen and that’s it. No creamy, no spicy, no licorice-y no nothing. It isn’t overly sweet yet just barely sweet enough. It’s very simple. The Bite is simple as well, some carbonation burn and that’s really it. It is nice and smooth from start to finish. The Head is very tall and decently frothy. It fizzes down at a moderate pace but still leaves traces of foam to the very end. The Aftertaste is some more sassafras with the tiniest bit of wintergreen.

There is nothing unpleasant about this brew. It’s got a solid root beer core without the slightest extra bit of accents, the complete opposite of the Intergalactic Root Beer I had right before it. This is a root beer that everyone will like, but I doubt anyone will truly love. There’s just nothing extra whatsoever. They say on the label that it’s best when you “lap it up while dining on one of Spike’s World Famous Junkyard Hot Dogs” and I’m inclined to believe them. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three kegs

Jun 042014

Intergalactic Root Beer Bottle This one was tricky to track down. It is close, brewed by Phillips Soda Works in Victoria, BC, but yet they wouldn’t mail order and don’t sell anywhere stateside. I also utterly failed to find it when I was in Vancouver. When a friend of mine posted on Facebook that he was heading for a weekend in Victoria I peppered him with requests to bring me back some. Then he posted a picture of two closed and one open bottle and tagged me on. What a relief. Thanks Jaron you’re awesome. I had to go pick it up from him in Seattle. As he was working he said he’d leave it on the front porch in a paper bag. I showed up and much to my dismay, there was a large husky and a black lab inside the fence. I may have hinted at it before, but I am quite scared of dogs and the thought of getting past two of them, on their enclosed turf was utterly terrifying. However, my desire for a new root beer trumps all it seems, and I successfully made it in and back quite alive, calmingly saying “nice doggy” in the most meek and friendly voice possible. When I look at the label of this brew, all I want to do is sing “Intergalactic planetary, planetary intergalactic … ” over and over and over again. Good job Captain Electro. It has an impressive array of natural herbs and spices including black pepper, a new one for my ingredients list. It also has an all natural version of Sodium Benzoate evidently as well. I don’t know how they get away with that. One last bit on the bottle is that it’s a slightly different height and shape compared to all of the US brews I’ve encountered so far and it weighs more too. They must use thicker glass up there in Canada.

The Body is sweet and complex, very complex. It starts with a creamy vanilla sarsaparilla flavor that is augemented by dark molasses and licorice. Then a very solid and spicy Bite comes in; the spice and flavors of cloves, cinnamon, and black pepper. The Head is very tall and frothy and just impeccable. The Aftertaste is spicy vanilla that gives way to sarsaparilla.

Whoa, there’s a lot going on here. It works pretty well, but there is a distinct lack of core to really tie it all together. A solid sassafras flavor is what’s missing. This has got all of the peripherals of a top quality root beer but without a core it kind of seems empty. The above and beyond and, dare I say, intergalactic Head does bump it up a little extra though. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three and a half kegs