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

May 292013

Olde Rhode Island Molasses Root Beer Bottle It’s nice to see that even the tiny state of Rhode Island can get their own brand of root beer, and an Olde one at that, even if it is made by Empire Bottling Works. In fact they’re so olde they don’t even have a website. They’re so olde that their New England recipe is just old in comparison. They’re so olde that their label looks as though it’s as olde as the company, or that they spilled some root beer on it. And they’re so olde that they don’t even care. They don’t have to, because once you become so old that you’re olde, you’ve moved beyond such things.

The Body of this root beer is dark and rich, I like it. It was even a bit sticky from the molasses. I wish it had a bit more vanilla in it though. The Bite was very harsh from carbonation but not much from spices which was disappointing. The Head was absolutely pathetic, especially considering the amount of carbonation in the brew. The Aftertaste was mild and creamy wintergreen which is very nice.

Over all it has solid flavor without any bad tastes, but it’s so olde that it is lacking in a few flavors that those old root beers will have. The poor Head (too olde for that) and harsh Bite were also major downsides. But what do they care, they’re olde in Rhode Island … Molasses! See how it rates against other root beers.

Three kegs

Feb 062013

Empire Bottle Not the Roman Empire nor the Galactic Empire, or even the lesser known Ajuuraan Empire, this is the Empire Bottling Works which seems to have no ties to any empires at all. Rather they are from the smallest state in the Union which would be a more pathetic empire than the Ajuuraan (should Rhode Island empirify). This leaves me completely lost as to the reason for the name. It’s not even like they’re from New York with the whole Empire State nickname and whatnot (why you would want to call a state governed by representative democracy the Empire State is an entirely different matter all together) so really I’ve got nothing. They don’t even have a website (their empire is too small evidently) so it’s not like you can just look it up. They do provide a phone number on the bottle so I suppose if I really cared (or cared during business hours in the eastern time zone), I could just call them. Besides the phone number, the bottle has a little crown which is the only empire related thing other than the name.

The Body is dark and rooty, but it is also lacking in some essential flavors. The Bite is nothing special but it’s there. The head is a decent height but it doesn’t last long at all. The Aftertaste is a sticky licorice and wintergreen flavor that lingers annoyingly long, especially since it isn’t a good flavor to have lingering.

So, will this imperialistic root beer conquer the world or at least the root beer market or at very least my taste buds and sense for a quality brew? In a word, “No.” All in all, I really don’t like this root beer that much. If licorice and wintergreen is your thing, you may like to give this one a try, I’ll pass. See how it rates against other root beers.