Oct 072015

Goose Island Root Beer Bottle One of the earlier mail order root beers. I think I got it before my mission but I can’t remember anymore. It came in a variety pack. Back then I’d buy three bottles of four different varieties in a 12 pack. This is another root beer from Chicago. I think Chicago may have the most brands of gourmet root beer coming out of it of any city. I’m not sure why that is. The label doesn’t say much, there’s a goose, and it looks like a wooden keg and then there’s the whole “Hand Crafted”. What does that even mean? They pour the ingredients by hand? They stir by hand? And what isn’t “hand crafted”? Machine crafted? Foot crafted? Paw crafted (in the case of Sea Dog)? I somehow doubt, that even in the largest of soda bottling factories, that no hands are involved in the process. But, If someone ever finds out about what this really means, please let me know. It also says “Fresh Draught” off to the side. The only other brew I’ve ever seen spell draft as draught is my beloved Henry’s, so they get some extra props for that.

It has a nice sweet, smooth Body that was a little tangy. Wonderful Bite and a strange but pleasant Aftertaste. The Head however was horrible.

I find it ironic that the Head is the weakest part of this when it says on the neck of the bottle “Creamy Head Root Beer” which it clearly isn’t. Other than that it’s a decent “Hand Crafted” brew, though a bit strange at times. I’d put it as an average gourmet root beer. Good with food, but nothing to seek out. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three and a half 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

Oct 182011

Death Valley is a dry and arid place, not the sort of area that you would expect to find good root beer. But they are going for the old west theme it seems, as evidenced by having “A Taste of the Old West” on their bottle. Both of my parents are from California and so the whole Death Valley culture is not lost on me. But still, I always wonder about these Old West root beers since Hires didn’t start marketing root beer until 1880’s. I suppose it all depends on your definition of old. Then again, there were other root beer recipes out there before Hires and there was Sarsaparilla so I suppose a root beer could be an Old West thing. Anyhow, on to the root beer.

The Body is dark and sticky. There is a faint licorice flavor that becomes more pronounced the more you drink. It has a candy like flavor as well, like you’re sucking on a root beer barrel and eating licorice at the same time. The Bite is a little harsh on the carbonation. The Head is short but frothy and sticks around long enough. The Aftertaste is a creamy vanilla licorice flavor. I don’t like a distinct licorice flavor in my root beer. I also don’t like a harsh Bite and a short Head.

Clearly, this isn’t the best root beer out there. This isn’t even the best licorice root beer out there (Capt’n Eli’s, Sea Dog) I was rather disappointed by this one actually. I expected the Old West to taste more like birch and sarsaparilla than licorice. Maybe the great dearth of Death Valley left them with little choice of ingredients. Or maybe they just like licorice so much they put it in everything. Either way, I don’t recommend it to anyone. See how it rates against other root beers.