Nov 092016
 

A glass of Mammoth Root BeerSeal of ApprovalMammoth is a fancy sandwich shop in the Eastlake neighborhood in Seattle. Their sandwiches are all ice age-y named things like Saber Tooth, Predator, Dodo, Neaderthal, and whatnot. In addition to their most epic sandwiches, they brew several flavors of house sodas to compliment the many other beers they carry on tap. A coworker of mine told me that they had their own root beer so of course I wasted little time in dropping by. I went for lunch with said coworker and another to give it a try. We missed the bus so we took a Lyft, and the coworker in the front seat kept confusing the driver by pointing things out to us to look at. Though that wasn’t anywhere near as entertaining as our ride back on the bus, where my complaining about massive memory allocated to “miscellaneous files” causing a memory shortage in my Samsung phone elicited some dubious advice from a fellow passenger, a woman of questionable sanity, who insisted I just needed to go to the trash folder and empty it, just like in her Windows phone … she even tried to show me how to do it. But this was superseded when we exited the bus and saw a man trying to remove the anti-theft cap from a vodka bottle by banging it repeatedly against a newspaper vending machine in the middle of a busy sidewalk. I guess he really needed a shot. Both of my coworkers were quite amused at my ordering, emphatically stating there could be no ice and I wanted it with lots of foam, but servers complied. All told, the trip was an amazing success even without the sandwiches and root beer, but that root beer would have been worth it in the most boring of trips.

This brew has a Body that is rich and complex with wintergreen, caramel, vanilla, and even some licorice wrapped around a sassafras core. It’s a little dark but well proportioned and it comes off as delicious. It has a nice spicy Bite too, with those spices adding heat and complexity to the overall flavor. Despite this, it feels very smooth in your mouth. The Head is of decent height and nice and frothy, if you ask them to make it foamy. The Aftertaste is a lingering caramel, wintergreen, and vanilla, all wrapped up sticky and sweet like that makes you both happy and wanting more.

Delicious, and quite unique. I was on the fence for quite awhile as to whether or not this would get the Seal because it was so different. But on my second glass, I knew without a doubt that the brew deserved it. It’s not the sort that you quaff down, but the sort of brew you want to sip slowly and enjoy. And unless you’re pretty rich, you’ll have to as this is the most expensive brew I’ve ever had. $4 for an 8-ounce glass. They even have a line on the glass so they make sure you don’t get extra. And no refills. But it was so good I had to get that second glass. But it was a different server and as she walked off to fill the glass with ice I had to repeatedly scream over the din not to put ice in it. Then it was too late and I demanded a fresh glass because DO NOT DILUTE MY ROOT BEER! All to the vast enjoyment of my coworkers. In addition to being delicious on its own, it goes amazingly well with their sandwiches. I had the Predator, with fried chicken leg, pork belly, Swiss, arugula, roasted red peppers, and caper aioli all on a rustic artisan roll. So, so good. This place is expensive, but worth every penny. You won’t be disappointed.

4 kegs


Mammoth Soda Taps

The Mammoth Soda Taps.

Mammoth Root Beer Sign

The “House Made” root beer sign.

Mammoth sandwich, the Predator

The Predator, one of the most amazing sandwiches I’ve ever had.




Nov 022016
 

Brix Soda Co Root Beer BottleSeal of Approval Brix is a recently started soda company from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Founded by friends in the restaurant industry, it was their goal to present new craft flavors to serve their guests. This pleases me immensely as I’m so tired of going to restaurants and being given a drink menu that’s got dozens of wines, beers, and cocktails and then Coke or Pepsi products for anyone not desiring to imbibe. After their initial success with just soda fountains, they took to bottling. They currently have 13 fountain syrup flavors and 6 bottled flavors, including this root beer. Like most new craft soda companies these days, they have shunned HFCS and embraced the pure, unadulterated sucrose found in cane sugar. And speaking of sugar, the definition of Brix (symbol °Bx) is the percentage of sugar in an aqueous solution, 1 gram of sucrose in 100 grams of solution being 1 Brix. Their simple yet classy, modern label also has this helpful definition. So you can drink a soda and learn about scientific units at the same time.

The Body rich and full with a classic creamy vanilla root beer taste. There is a prominent caramelized sugar flavor that ties everything together wonderfully. The Bite is decent and it ends smooth, there could be a tad more spice. The Head is rather short, and thus the only glaring flaw, but it lasts and so it isn’t a fatal flaw. The Aftertaste is lovely caramel and vanilla.

Delicious! I could drink gallons of this and not get tired of it. Amazingly, despite a nice sweet flavor, it only has 33 grams of sugar compared to nearly 40 grams in the average bottled root beer. Which means that Brix has less Brix than other sodas … But it’s far better than most of them. See how it rates against other root beers.

4 kegs




Oct 262016
 

Seal of ApprovalBottle of AJ Stephans Butterscotch Root BeerRemember when butterscotch root beer was all new and exciting? Those were fun times. Now it is becoming ever more common, which isn’t a bad thing for people like me who review root beers. This butterscotch root beer is different than the rest, this is the one to make it mainstream. Why? Because AJ Stephans was a long established root beer whose makers looked at the trend, and decided to add to their existing lineup. All of the rest were either stand alone brands which only had a butterscotch root beer, or they were Dang!, who has been doing butterscotch before it was a thing. The problem I’ve observed with so many of those other butterscotch brews is that they are heavy on butterscotch, light on the root beer. But AJ Stephans is a heavy, dark root beer, so maybe they’d find a winning combo?

The Body has a strong butterscotch flavor that doesn’t overpower the root beer flavor. It’s a very good balance. The Bite is not much. Just some carbonation prickle for the most part. The Head is short, but very frothy, so it lingers, but it doesn’t really build. The Aftertaste is creamy butterscotch and vanilla.

Nailed it. This is by far the best butterscotch brew yet. The Head and the Bite could use a little work, but finally I’ve found a butterscotch brew worth keeping stocked up on. See how it rates against other root beers.

4 kegs