Jul 272016

Bottle of Rock Island Brewing Company Root BeerSeal of ApprovalSome people rock. They can’t help it. They are just rockin’ wherever they are, whatever they’re doing. It permeates through every fiber of their being and oozes out to influence their surroundings. They don’t get on a bus, they rock on a bus. They don’t walk into Mordor, they rock into Mordor. If they live on a hill, it’s now Rock Hill. If they live on an island, it’s Rock Island! Sometimes they make root beer, but they don’t make it, they rock it and their brews are rockin’. Such are the people behind the Rock Island Brewing Company, who kettle brew their sodas and make two flavors of root beer. They are located on (the island formerly known as) Long Island (it’s Rock Island now…) and are recent comers to the gourmet root beer world. If you remember I helped with their Kickstarter campaign. Their label is quite appropriately a root beer bottle made into a guitar head. I have no doubt that they’ve made such a guitar and use it as they rock to and fro.

The Body is sweet and rich with honey and vanilla featuring prominently over a traditional sassafras flavor. There’s a little spice in there as well. The Bite is mild yet present in the form of a little spice. It has a wonderful mouthfeel and a smooth finish. The Head is excellent and lingers throughout the drinking experience. The Aftertaste is nice vanilla and honey.

This is a fine, fine brew. I always love those vanilla and honey braus and this is one of the better ones. With their name and label, they set a high bar for themselves, and I am very pleased to say that they rocked right over that bar. See how it rates against other root beers.

4.5 Kegs

Jul 062016

Wurst Sodas Root Beer BottleSeal of ApprovalIf you don’t like bad puns, you should probably leave now because this will be the wurst review ever. Indeed, the brau made by Hermann Wurst Haus is the wurst root beer I’ve ever had. They even put on the label that it is the “Best of the Wurst”, which I’ve actually seen before from an even wurst place in Leavenworth. These folks make a bunch of different types of sausages and other gourmet foods and craft beers and sodas. The label makes me feel blue and it really gets up in my grill. It’s one of the wurst I’ve ever seen. The knives, however, do make it look sharper than most others.

The Body is sweet and spicy with vanilla and wintergreen surfacing after the initial contact. It seems like there’s some birch flavor in there as well. The Bite is an intense array of spice assaulting, though it isn’t harsh, just spicy burn. The Head is tall and frothy as it should be and lasts throughout the entire drinking experience. The Aftertaste is wintergreen and lovely vanilla with spice accents.

This one’s unique and spicy and tasty. Whilst I was expecting to get pun-ished by it, I found myself enjoying every slurp, sip, and swallow. This is more like the “wurst of the best” than the “best of the wurst”. They should probably change their label to reflect that. And add the Seal of Approval, because they’ve earned it. See how it rates against other root beers.

4 kegs

Jun 152016

Boylan's Natural Root Beer BottleSeal of Approval This is an extremely elusive brew. In fact, the company’s own website doesn’t even acknowledge it’s existence. Yet the signs are out there if you really look. If you search for this you can find some reviews and some cases for sale (at like $100 a case after shipping) such that it almost seems like it’s been discontinued. But it hadn’t. I searched far and wide to find just a few bottles. I even found a shop in Canada selling other Boylan’s Natural flavors but not the root beer for some reason (because the universe hates me sometimes). Finally, the great sage of sassafras gifted me two bottles out of his abundant beneficence. Strangely, unlike their regular root beer, which is just labeled as “Boylan” this is “Boylan’s” because forget logic and consistency.

The Body full of rich rooty flavors that are almost herbal. There’s some nice bourbon vanilla and spice in there as well to keep it from being too dark. The Bite is excellent with cinnamon the prominent spice. It’s strong enough to grab you, but not harshly. The Head is tallish with medium staying power; adequate. The Aftertaste is a lovely bourbon vanilla and cinnamon.

I’m impressed, I didn’t really think that their normal root beer was anything special but this has a lovely complexity of root beer goodness. Dare I say, this is the only time I’ve encountered a natural version that’s better than the regular version. Dear people at Boylan Bottling Works, stop hiding this from the world! See how it rates against other root beers.

4 kegs