Feb 112015
 

Haley and Annabelle's Vanilla Root Beer BottleSeal of ApprovalThere’s a lot for me to like about this root beer without even trying it. For one the inspiration for these girls to start their own root beer came out of a party at their French Immersion School. I love French. Then they use Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla, and I lived in Madagascar. Then there’s the fact that it’s a vanilla root beer, one of my favorite kinds. They launched this brew as a way to pay for the girls’ college. While noticing the picture on the label of the girls in front of the Eiffel Tower, I’m going to have to say that if you’re short on college funds, trips to France generally don’t help. But some people want their college and their trips to Paris, and if a new brand of root beer is the ticket to both then who am I to complain. Now these aren’t the first siblings I’ve encountered using their own root beer to get to college, as D-n-A use the same gimmick. I wonder if they’ve ever met? What if they do meet in the same college and Alphonse (my name for the A in D-n-A) and Annabelle fall in love? Then they could combine their recipes to make Double AA Root Beer to rival/defeat Triple AAA Root Beer! One can only hope.

The Body is rich and creamy with a ton of luscious bourbon vanilla flavor. This perfectly complements a solid root beer core. There isn’t a lot of Bite on this one; they’re going for silky smooth. I do prefer a bit of spice, but the smooth is always good. The Head is tall and frothy like it should be. It foams up right to the top of my 20 ounce mug and hangs around for awhile. The Aftertaste is lots more bourbon vanilla that lasts awhile. I do love that.

Yummy! This is an amazing root beer. Such sweet, smooth, Bourbon Vanilla flavor. I’ve never had that flavor in a root beer save my own home brew. If you are a vanilla lover, this root beer is definitely for you. I’m proud to give this my Seal of Approval. D-n-A got one too … I think those boys should definitely meet these girls. See how it rates against other root beers.

4 kegs


Jan 282015
 

Hank's Premium Root BeerSeal of Approval More than any other root beer, Hank’s is the reason that Eric’s Gourmet Root Beer Site exists. You see, the web was young and free hosting was just recently made available at places like Geocities. It was the cool thing to do to make a website. After seriously considering making a website about a combination of three of my favorite things, cheese, Jethro Tull, and Star Craft, (The Eric’s Cheese, Jethro Tull, and Star Craft Site was going to be AWESOME I swear) the idea came to make one about gourmet root beer instead. Since I’d only tried eight different kinds of gourmet root beer (there wasn’t a lot of variety in a town of 5,000 people) at that point I figured I needed to expand a bit. I found Hank’s online and asked my Mom to order it for me. I had a whole $15. She called and they said that they’d never sent anything to Washington State before and they figured it’d be very expensive. She said she’d have to call back because she was buying it for her son who was making a website but he didn’t have much money. Then they decided that since it was for a website, and thus free publicity, they’d send a whole case as a free sample. How very generous. Also, it put a lot of expectation on me to actually follow through and make the website since I was paid in advance as it were. And thus Eric’s Gourmet Root Beer Site was born.

This is sooo goooood! It has a wonderfully full Body that is rich and creamy and a nice spicy Bite. The Head is almost perfect. Aftertaste is very pleasant.

As you can tell, I really liked it then (I’ve kept what I originally wrote back in 1998). It put me in quite an enigma because at the time it was the best brew I’d ever had, but I hadn’t had very many. I put it at 4.5 kegs and after many years I revisited it in my Ultimate Root Beer Showdown and realized that after nearly 150 root beers, it was still the best. I really love this stuff. It is perhaps as close to perfection as we can come in this imperfect world. See how it rates against other root beers.

5 out of 5 Kegs, Elixer of the Gods


Jan 142015
 

Henry Weinhard's Root Beer BottleSeal of ApprovalThis was only the second gourmet root beer I ever had but was by far the most influential. I first found it when I was 12 or so at the local Safeway and quickly became the go-to when I needed a treat. A celebration, get a Henry’s. Need to drown my sorrows, get a Henry’s. Want an extra good root beer, get a Henry’s. It helped that Safeways were pretty much in every town and they’d sell Henry’s chilled as well as in six-packs. Gas stations started getting them too so it was a a nearly ubiquitous awesome brew. There were other gourmet root beers about, but none were as good. After my brother’s car accident I had at least one of these per day. After a month or two, I couldn’t drink anything that didn’t come from glass, and I soon began the quest to find the world’s best root beer. So how did my beloved Henry’s stack up?

Nice full, sweet Body with the perfect Head. It is one of the nicest Heads of any root beer. So much so that it is my standard Head to compare against other root beers. It’s rich and creamy with lovely vanilla and honey flavor complementing the sassafras. Wonderful Aftertaste, honey and vanilla lasting the perfect amount of time. There’s not a lot of Bite, but enough spice for me. It is very smooth and that’s how I prefer it most of the time.

This is pretty much my gourmet root beer standard. I’ve had many a brew from all over the world, but not many can even stand level to, let alone surpass this. There are plenty that are better in one category or another, but Henry Weinhard’s is so good on all of it that it makes it a tough brew to beat. I make sure to drink a Seal of Approval root beer after each review to “reset” the palate. Most of the time it’s Henry’s. It is safe to say that this is the most important root beer in my life. See how it rates against other root beers.

4.5 Kegs