Oct 302013

Skagit River Brewery Root Beer in a Growler I’ve been chasing after this one for awhile now. I had learned about it from a Google Maps search of “brewery Seattle” and then calling all of the ones that showed up. The Pike Brewing Company said they had Skagit River Brewery Root Beer on tap. It wasn’t for another six months before I found myself near Pike Place doing some charge testing on a Chevy Volt. When I finished up I headed to the brewery to give the Skagit a try. Unfortunately, it wasn’t there. They’d stopped serving it a month before I came and replaced it with Crater Lake Root Beer on tap, ugh. Crater Lake is awful. I kept looking and eventually I heard the Root Beer Store had a keg of it. The owner warned me though, “I remember it being flat, tasteless, and like diet the last time I served it at an event. I hoped it would go good in ice cream. It didn’t. I took it out, and you are welcome to the pony keg. Its in my warehouse……drinker beware.” I reminded him that whether or not I like it is irrelevant, I need to try it to find out. I stopped by later that day and filled my growler, took it home and gave it a good chill before trying the next night.

The Body is sweet but mild and watered down, really watered down. Actually that’s too generous, it tastes like burned sugar water, a little caramely and then nothing. The Bite is virtually nonexistent. The slightest bit of acidic sour burn and then that vanishes as well. The Aftertaste is slight watered down sugar and a little sour acid.

Ok, he was right. This stuff is tasteless. It’s like they brewed sugar and citric acid and then called it a day before remembering that root beer does, in fact, have other ingredients. I never thought I’d say it, but switching this out for Crater Lake is a major improvement. These Skagit guys got lucky that I tried it out of a growler and didn’t evaluate the Head, from the sound of things they would have lost more points for that. Either way though, drinker beware.

One out of five root beer kegs

Sep 112013

Crater Lake Root Beer Bottle Crater Lake holds a special place in my heart. My family, on the way back from Sacramento, took a detour to visit Crater Lake when I was 17. It was the summer before my senior year. It was beautiful and awe inspiring. I even took some pictures that I used as senior pictures. I’ve longed to return and camp and hike and fish and whatnot. When I first saw this root beer at a local QFC, I was immediately flooded by the good memories. The picture on the label, while nice, doesn’t capture the true majesty of the place. With pure cane sugar to boot, I hoped that this root beer would capture the majesty of the lake and caldera in a brew beyond description. Sadly it was not to be.

The first thing noticeable when drinking this is a very sweet cane sugar flavor. That is about all that this root beer has going for it though. The Body is watery with a sweet sassafras and wintergreen flavor. Not creamy at all. The Bite is pretty weak but still not smooth going down. The Head is pathetic. It is less than a centimeter and fizzes away in seconds leaving the root beer nearly flat. The Aftertaste is sort of sticky sassafras and wintergreen which are two necessary ingredients to root beer but not the only ones.

What a disappointment. It’s all weak and watery, which I suppose brings it close to the authentic lake flavor or something. This reminded me a lot of Flathead Lake Monster Root Beer in that respect. Maybe there’s an agreement that all root beers named after a lake have to be bad and watered down. See how it rates against other root beers.

2 out of 5 root beer kegs

Nov 032011

Dorothy Molter, The Root Beer Lady, lived in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area on the international border of the United States and Ontario, Canada. She was a nurse by training and operated the Isle of Pines Resort. She brewed her own root beer for the travelers. She was wild and rugged. Now, her resort has been moved from that pristine wilderness to Ely, MN, where it is a museum. This root beer is brewed by the museum. An interesting history. Though, when I think of commemorative root beers, things like Crater Lake and Red Jammer come to mind.

The Body is sweet and creamy but watered down. There is also a hint of something else in there but I’m not sure what. It is too brief to really catch. There also isn’t much Bite at all, not from spices nor carbonation. I do like it smooth but it’s got to at least be there. The Head is medium height but is gone fast. Make sure not to blink or you might miss it. The brew is nearly flat after that as well. The Aftertaste is fleeting vanilla. It goes far too soon.

This is like the ghost of an excellent root beer. It reminds me of all that is good about a quality brew but isn’t that itself. And like a ghost, it is transparent and quickly fades away. I find it appropriate though, since all that remains of a once amazing and rugged woman is a displaced museum in her honor, that her root beer would be a shadow of a lost former glory. See how this rates against other root beers.