Jan 302015

Root Beer Bowl XLIX
It’s that time of year when the Super Bowl comes upon us. The biggest TV event in the US and massive celebrations shall ensue. Being from the Seattle area, this is especially exciting to see the Seahawks return as defending champions. There are many wacky ways that have been used to predict the winner, from rabbits, puppys, porcupines, search engines, and video game simulations. These are of course all rubbish. The most accurate predictor is one that I’ve known for years but only now make public. It is the Root Beer Bowl Predictor. Look at the three best bottled root beers from the respective teams’ larger home zone, Seattle area for the Seahawks, all of Massachusetts for the Patriots, and see the combined ratings. The keg difference in the rating multiplied by touchdowns gives the spread. The best root beer will win. Every time. Without question. Seriously.

So let’s get on to the teams. The team “captain” in this case is the highest rated brew from the city proper. For Seattle this is the Seal of Approval rated Jones Root Beer coming in at the lowest 4 kegs. The rest of the Seahawks’ root beer team comes from a 20 minute drive to the north in Mukilteo, WA, where Orca beverages makes the near peerless Bulldog Root Beer and the solid Brownie Caramel Cream Root Beer. This gives a team rating of 12.5 with nothing but Seal of Approval brews.

For the Patriots the captain is Emack & Bolio’s Rock It Root Beer. Very delicious but a poor Head relegates it to a mere 3.5. The rest Patriots’ Root Beer team line up comes from from Worcester, MA. The first is Polar Classics Root Beer with a respectable 3.5. Their final member is a sleeper, Ginseng UP, but not the Ginseng UP name brand root beer (which I haven’t reviewed yet), but their default private label recipe that they supply to the world’s private labelers. A Seal of Approval brew at 4 kegs. Then the Patriots’ final lineup gives them 11.

Prediction: Though the Patriots have a strong root beer lineup, it isn’t enough to overcome Seattle’s all-star lineup. I see the Seahawks winning this by 10 points. GO SEAHAWKS!!!

Root Beer Bowl Team Lineups:
Seattle: Jones – 4; Bulldog – 4.5; Brownie Caramel Cream – 4 = 12.5
Boston: Rockit – 3.5; Ginseng UP – 4, Polar – 3.5 = 11

Nov 132013

Carl's BBQ Old Fashioned Root Beer Bottle My esteemed coworker, Jimmy Jeff got this down in Texas at a Carl’s BBQ Restaurant where it’s labeled as Carl’s BBQ Old Fashioned Root Beer. However, it’s really a custom recipe by Teeroo’s Private Label that’s bottled by Ginseng Up. The Teeroo’s recipe was originally developed by some private labeler in Florida who the owner of Teeroo’s worked for as a distributor. Eventually the Florida dude gave it up, probably to retire in New York, and Ginseng Up told all of the other distributors that they could operate independently and continued to supply the recipe, which is different than the Ginseng Up recipe. As Teeroo’s labels for lots of small businesses in Texas, I’d expect there to be numerous different labels. The trick to identifying it is to look for the small print that lists Teeroo’s as the distributor. Unfortunately, there is a very real possibility of other private labelers in other states, with no affiliation to Teeroo’s, to be using this recipe as well. I have no doubt that Dr. Percival C. McGillicuddy will need to solve that case sometime in the future.

The Body is sweet with a caramel sassafras flavor accented by vanilla. The Bite is ok, sharp carbonation with a little spice, but I’d prefer it more reversed. The Head is a good height but fizzes away very rapidly. The Aftertaste is some nice vanilla but it doesn’t really last very long.

So this is pretty much a generic creamy root beer. It’s not bad, but nothing special. I’m sure it would go well with BBQ ribs and whatever else is served at all the other places that have it labeled as their own. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three kegs

Oct 022013

Parley Street Root Beer BottleSeal of ApprovalI first learned about this brew from The Root Beer Store in 2011 as Parley Street Root Beer. They don’t sell it, but they had one bottle on display. The owner told me that it’s only really sold at the Lion House in Salt Lake City. I hoped that I’d be able to get my hands on it someday. Fast forward to a Saturday in March 2013, I had just run out of new root beers to try. My wife tells me that I should go to the temple in Bellevue. I do and afterwards I remember that I need a new journal so I drop by Deseret Book before headed home. As I walk in I notice a cooler with some unfamiliar bottles. I go up and there it is, Parley Street Root Beer. I was so happy I started dancing around laughing, not only did I now have something to review, but those people at The Root Beer Store didn’t realize that this root beer was right under their noses. Truly, my wife was inspired. Later as Dr. Percival C. McGillicuddy was investigating the case of the mystery root beer, it was found that Parley Street and the Boise Brew were one in the same, both by Dowdle and Daughters. The world famous detective traced this brew all the way back to Ginseng Up, who makes their root beer and sells it to private labelers around the country, including those I bought it from.

The Body is full of sweet creamy goodness. It’s got all of the right flavors in the right proportions, especially the rich creamy vanilla. The Bite is on the smooth side but present. There’s some spice and carbonation tingle, just enough. The Head is nice and tall but only moderately frothy. Though, as it fizzes down, it forms some really large bubbles, about an inch in diameter, which hang around for awhile. The Aftertaste is sort of a syrupy vanilla flavor with the slightest accents of spice.

Yum, yum. I really like this. I wish they were more descriptive with the ingredients other than “Natural and Artificial Flavors” I’d almost swear there was some honey essence or flavoring or something. This actually reminds me a lot of a Henry’s but not quite as good. I’d say this is a ‘generic’ Seal of Approval brew. It hits all of the benchmarks with my favorite flavor type. Not bad for a private label brew. If I ever need my own custom labeled root beer, I can rest assured that if I get it from the Ginseng Up bottlers, it will be good. See how it rates against other root beers.

4 kegs