Mar 232012
 

So my wonderful CFH friend (named Eric as well by the way) who found me the Joe’s discovered this brew for me on tap from a keg at a brewery/taphouse he often visits in Seattle called Naked City. It’s made by the Ellersick Brewing Company and isn’t bottled. I don’t usually go to Seattle any more but I told him the next time I was over there we’d have to try. I did finally make over on Thursday for a symposium at the University of Washington where I presented some wonderful electric vehicle research I’d done as well as performed some experiments on the company LEAF. After such a triumph, the only thing that could make it better would be to try a new root beer. I was running late when I got to the bar. I quickly ordered a glass, no ice, and poured to build the Head. The bar tender thought it was oddly specific until I explained who I was and what I was doing. To which she replied, “Ok, I still need your ID if you plan to sit at my bar.”

Despite my instructions, she didn’t build a very nice Head for me to evaluate, in part because she used a wet glass. However, my friend, who’d been there for about 10 minutes eating fries and sipping his own, vouched for the size of the Head on his. Mine was still very frothy though so I imagine it would be tall if done properly. The Body is very creamy, though not from vanilla, but it just feels creamy. It’s very sweet and tastes like a root beer barrel candy. Then comes the Bite, so much clove! Wintergreen too! Wow! I don’t think I’ve ever had a root beer with this much clove in it. There’s some other spice too, some cinnamon maybe. The net result is quite a Bite. The Aftertaste is sort of waxy wintergreen with hints of clove. The waxiness coats your mouth for quite a long time after drinking the brew.

Well, it’s decent, and very unique. Can’t say that I’d order it just to drink by itself, especially with that waxy Aftertaste, but the strong clove and wintergreen flavor would mix well with certain foods, and since they serve them there, it’s worth getting with your meal.


Feb 222012
 

So awhile back I noticed that I had as many friends on Facebook as I had root beer reviews (not my site but my personal Facebook account). I therefore decided that I shall only have as many friends as root beers tried and if someone wanted to be my friend and I was maxed out, they would just have to find me a new root beer. I then posted that as my status. It got a few likes and one of my more awesome friends (also a stalwart zombie tag comrade and CFH) took it as a personal challenge to earn his already deserved many times over friend status by finding me a new root beer. Since he likes gourmet beer, he kept an eye out at all of specialty beer shops he went to until he declared he had a late Christmas present for me. I was overjoyed when I unwrapped Joe’s Root Beer, another small and obscure microbrewery root beer like Spring Lake Root Beer. This one, however, is all natural instead of having a cocktail of preservatives like the Spring Lake. The ingredients are few but with things like real honey and vanilla, it looked like it could be amazing.

The first thing I noticed when I opened the bottle was that there was kind of a skanky smell to it. Now I don’t judge on smell but it usually portends the flavor. Nevertheless, it has an extremely sweet and full Body with accents of said vanilla and honey. It is crisp and creamy in your mouth without a hint of skanky. Strange. The Bite is sufficient, though, nothing special. The Head is wonderfully tall but only medium frothy so it fizzes down quicker than I would like. The Aftertaste is delicious vanilla and honey.

So this is how root beer is supposed to be. Delicious, a good head, and with that honey and vanilla giving it an extra bit of goodness to push it over the edge of average into premium territory. I would say it’s almost the opposite of the Spring Lake Root Beer, which was a near perfect combination of just about everything, this is beauty in simplicity, like a masterpiece using only two colors. Now the only question I have for my friend, where did you get this again? See how it rates against other root beers.


Dec 122011
 

So I had heard about Dick’s Root Beer from Anthony’s wish list. I found it was made in Centralia, which isn’t too far from me. Before I planned a trip there, I figured I would send a shout out on Facebook to see if any of my UW friends (Zombie Tag comrades) were from there or going there. Lucky for me a good friend and CFH member Brian lived there and said he would get me some over Thanksgiving. I told him I needed three bottles. Well he left a message on my voicemail over the break that they didn’t sell their root beer in bottles, only draft and growlers (filled from the draft) and that he got me a growler. So this caused a conundrum. I only rate bottled root beer. Though, technically, I should rate draft root beer from kegs and growlers as well, or at least drink them, since I rate my root beers with a keg system. Clearly, root beer from a keg is gourmet, as well as a growler filled from a keg. The problem is that I can’t really hold growler root beers to the same metric with the head since the bottling process preserves the head while pouring it in the growler will lose it. So I decided that I’ll review root beers from growlers, using the same Body, Bite, and Aftertaste metrics. The Head metric will be thrown out. The reviews will be on the blog under the Growler Root Beers category but there will be no short format reviews in the review tables since I am a stickler about my bottled root beer. I am not sure how I will rate root beers only available in kegs, but I’ll figure it out when I happen upon a keg root beer.

The Body is sweet and full with a candy-ish caramel flavor. There are accents of anise and wintergreen but not too much anise/licorice to make it bad (and it doesn’t take much in my book). It isn’t very creamy however, which is a downer. The Bite is solid with some nice spices grabbing you along with some fizzy carbonation all while having a smooth finish. The Aftertaste is a spicy caramel flavor that is slightly fruity.

So this is a quality brew. I wouldn’t go all the way there just to drink it, but if I were passing through and wanted a good meal and a root beer to go with it, I would surely stop by Dick’s Brewery. My wife and I enjoyed drinking this root beer with roasted chestnuts as well.