Feb 072015

Cool Mountain Root Beer Bottle I ordered this online a long, long time ago, in a state far far away … At least I think I did. I’m pretty sure I was living in Utah at the time. When I got it was was very impressed with the Indian chief fellow on it. I’m not sure why they choose to put that picture on the bottle, but I just went with it. Fast forward to the present when I was going through my extensive bottle collection and writing blog reviews of all of those old school brews. And, um, well, I lost the bottle. I don’t know where it is. I went through box after box and found every other root beer bottle I’d ever reviewed. I don’t know what happened. I can’t believe that I would have just lost this one, but evidently I did. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Consolation prize, they still make Cool Mountain Root Beer, and they sell it at The Root Beer Store, so I went out and bought a bottle. According to the owner this has the same recipe as Chicago Draft Style Root Beer, but they are bottled at different locations which leads to a different flavor. This time they actually have a picture of a rather cool looking mountain so everything makes more sense. The shiny purple background is also a nice touch, but I still think the chief was cooler … cooler mountain.

This has a strong, sticky Body. There’s kind of a “dark” flavor to it. It has a very solid Bite. The Head is acceptable, but it bubbles away quickly. The Aftertaste is anise-ish which is rather icky to me.

When I drank it, there was an explosion of flavor in my mouth. The problem, it just doesn’t stop exploding. It’s alright I suppose, good enough if you really just need a root beer and there’s nothing else around. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three kegs

Jan 212015

A bottle of Windy City Soda Root BeerThis brew had been discontinued before I ever learned about it. I was left to mourn another root beer that would never be mine. Then the great Jon came a trading. He had several discontinued brands that were still in good condition. Being a true gentleman and ethical trading partner. He sent some right away without getting petty nor impatient over the details. This is another made in Chicago/themed after Chicago brew. I’ve been seeing those pop up a lot lately. I don’t know what it is about the city that inspires people to name things after it, but I dare say it is the most common city to be found on a root beer bottle. The label is rather plain, with brown hues and a skyline silhouette. It’s almost too plain. I could see this bottle blending into the background on a shelf with other brands.

The Body is sweet with some vanilla and caramel hints but is also a tad bland. The Bite is sharp and spicy. The Head is short yet frothy. The Aftertaste is very light vanilla. It’s pretty good and also refreshing.

Not a bad brew. But pretty generic in the not-a-bad-brew category. There really isn’t a lot to differentiate it from other root beers, plus it’s a tad bland. Maybe if it was completely fresh I would like it more, but I don’t think so. It is sad that they failed. There are worse brews that bear the Chicago name that are still going strong. 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