Jul 302014

A pint of Capitol City Brewing Company Root BeerSeal of ApprovalOn the second day in DC, after I’d finished my … stuff, I had the evening free to myself. So after going to the National Mall and defying the “shut down” barricades (I’m such a rebel, I know), I headed out on foot to walk to the Capitol City Brewing Company for dinner. It was an hour walk but I am very cheap in my root beer questing and the exercise is good for me. They have two locations in the area, the closest to me was the Arlington location in The Village at Shirlington. The brewery is a very impressive place. They have four large brew vats in the middle with the bar around them. The vats are labeled with whatever is brewing in them at the time. They have other brew vats in other part of the restaurant as well. The place is very lively and looks to be quite the hang out to watch the Redskins play foot ball.

The Body is rich and creamy and delicious with caramel and vanilla notes. It has a mild Bite, just barely enough, and is very smooth. The Head is short, yet frothy and lasts. It’s just barely good enough to not dock serious points. The Aftertaste is a sweet, buttery, nutty flavor that kind of reminds me of buttered popcorn jelly bellies. It comes in strong, complementing and replacing the other flavors and lasts quite awhile, slowly fading as you wonder just what it is. I’ve never tasted that flavor in a brew before and I like it a lot.

I don’t want to say ‘wow’ but, Wow! That Aftertaste blew me away. The brew had plenty going for it at the first drink, but after swallowing it shines like nothing I’ve ever had before. It takes a good creamy brew and makes it exceptional. You just want to keep drinking it and drinking it to get that flavor again. Unlike Hops, they don’t give you a free refill, sadly, but I can understand as I would have probably drank an entire kegs worth. It’s a shame the brew mistress had just left before I got there, I would have loved to congratulate her personally on being awarded the Seal of Approval. The food was delicious as well. The server suggested I get a burger, and their Hickory Burger was divine. If you’re in DC you must visit this place.

4 kegs

The Root Beer Tap

The Root Beer Tap

The bar is really cool with those brew vats in the middle.

The bar is really cool with those brew vats in the middle.

Ah dinner, a hickory burger and fries. It's a bacon cheese burger with tons of chipotle barbecue sauce.

Ah dinner, a hickory burger and fries. It’s a bacon cheese burger with tons of chipotle barbecue sauce.

May 212014

Private Label Beverages Root Beer BottleSeal of ApprovalBack when I traded for the the Ithaca, I also got two bottles of Lehman’s Root Beer and two bottles of Biker Brew Root Beer. I immediately got suspicious because both of them had the same sticker label, same ingredients, same nutritional values, and both didn’t appear on a Google search. Further inspection showed that the two also had the same barcodes so if that doesn’t prove they’re the same nothing does. I thought about calling Dr. Percival C. McGillicuddy but I didn’t want to pay exorbitant P.I. fees. I sent an email to the Lehman’s people and they were very accommodating and told me they got it from Private Label Beverages. I’m sure it’s bottled by Ginseng Up but these use sugar instead of the HFCS that Ginseng does so I don’t have to dig deep to find out that its a unique brew.

The body is sweet with a little bit of spicy vanilla and caramel notes; a very standard root beer flavor but well proportioned. The Bite is pretty mild, some carbonation tingle and just enough spice. The Head is super tall and pretty much foams over the top of the mug. Thankfully it doesn’t last forever so you can actually drink your root beer without having to slurp ridiculous amounts of foam off the top. The Aftertaste is some light, sweet vanilla and caramel.

This is a pretty solid, middle of the road brew with my favorite flavor profile. It was nearly a tossup as where to rate it. The super tall Head just barely pushed it over to a four. So now there’s another quality choice for your own custom soda. See how it rates against other root beers.

4 kegs

Mar 122014

Ithaca Soda Co. Root Beer BottleSeal of Approval It took me a long time to get a hold of this. I had a friend who was doing an MBA at Cornell and she kept saying she get me some and then she graduated and moved and I still didn’t have my root beer. Eventually someone else contacted me and offered a trade and I finally was able to have this much sought after brew. The label is brown and orange to give a sort of wooden keg feel to it. Then there’s some sort of ink blot test in the center that I’m gonna say is an old woman’s face. She’s got a big scar under her right eye. I’m not sure why they put that there. Maybe you only see the old woman if you’re crazy and other people see something else. I’ll skip the psychiatrist though, I’m busy drinking root beer.

The Body is very rich and complex. It starts with sweet caramel from the pure cane sugar and then turns dark and rooty with almost bitter notes that give way to creamy vanilla. The Bite has the perfect level of spice burn from the juniper berries but isn’t harsh on carbonation. The Head is tall and frothy and lingers as long as it takes to drink the whole bottle. The Aftertaste is vanilla and juniper berry spice which is pretty good.

Amazing! This brew has found the perfect balance between darker more herbal flavors and the sweet creamy goodness that I love. It is truly like no other brew that I’ve ever tried. I think it is the first with juniper berries though I’d like to see those more often now. Definitely grab this if you’ve got the chance. See how it rates against other root beers.

4.5 Kegs