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


Jan 292014
 

Sea Dog Root Beer Bottle It seems that Ol’ (young actually) Capt’n Eli taught his dog how to brew root beer. At least that’s what the first issue of the graphic novel said if I remember correctly. Sea Dog is made by the same people and I learned about it after I sadly told them that while good, they wouldn’t be getting the Seal of Approval. I asked if they had any other root beer, specifically the Sea Dog that was mentioned on their site at the time, if it was a different recipe. They said that it was and they said they’d send me some Sea Dog to try. Sea Dog is also a brewery for those other beers and actually predates Capt’n Eli yet it seems that Eli was the one who made it. Confused yet? You should be. Since the Sea Dog mascot is the same as Eli’s dog in the novel (plus him teaching the dog was part of the flashback origin story), maybe it does actually form a single root beer continuum. Eli taught his dog to brew root beer with the root beer machine, then later he wanted to make his own root beer because, let’s face it, dogs will eat anything and just because a dog likes it doesn’t mean people will. Glad that’s all cleared up.

It has a full flavored, smooth Body but unfortunately too much anise (I expect that he learned that from the Cap’.) There is not much Bite. It is really smooth which I do like though I think it should have a little bit more too it. The Head is excellent! It is difficult to pour a whole bottle into a mug. The head lasts almost as long as a diamond. Unfortunately it doesn’t taste so good. The Aftertaste is a creamy vanilla and anise. Not really bad but not overly good. Overall it is a solid brew but not quite exceptional.

I must say, Sea Dog is pretty good. There is a lot of attention to details for a dog. It reminds me a lot of Capt’n Eli’s but it’s got a better head and the flavor is a little different as well. I’d say I like Eli’s better, which fits with the whole root beer continuum, but not much better. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three and a half kegs


Feb 202013
 

Bulldog Root Beer BottleSeal of Approval This isn’t your regular gourmet root beer. It’s one of those few that are actually brewed using the highest quality ingredients (according to their site) such as cane sugar, real vanilla, and honey. The label itself is rather classy but falls victim to far too many root beer cliches. First is the dogs. So many root beers with dogs on the label. This one takes it a bit further since the entire brewery is named after a dog. The two dogs do have names, Barley and Hops, but so do most of the other dog root beers. Also, Bulldog sports “The Original”, a tag line whose disappearance from labels would bring nothing but immense joy, along with “Handcrafted” which isn’t nearly as overused but still too prevalent. Their bold “Unleash the Taste” (pun I’m sure is intended), though, is a nice and very appropriate slogan.

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 frothy but not much, not flat by any means just less than is desirable. The Aftertaste is of vanilla and honey and very pleasing though a little sticky.

When I took the first drink I exclaimed “Oh wow!” This is one of the best tasting root beers that I have ever had the pleasure to drink. “Unleash the Taste” indeed! I don’t care what their label is like, I’ll drink this stuff whenever I can get it. It’s really a shame about that Head, if it were tall and extra frothy this may have made it into the highest echelon of root beer rankings. However, I am still very proud to award it my Seal of Approval. See how it rates against other root beers.

4.5 Kegs