Jul 112015
 

Indian Wells Brewing Company Special Reserve Root Beer bottleSeal of Approval Premium gourmet root beer is now officially a thing. There’d been a few before, notably Virgil’s Special Edition Bavarian Nutmeg Root Beer and Thunderbeast Black Label (blog posts coming soon). Miss Lady kind of qualifies as well. But this one finally makes it official in the way that butterscotch is no longer a unique variant of root beer. The Indian Wells Brewing Company also makes Death Valley Root Beer which, well, I’m not a fan of, to put it lightly. Despite that, when I contacted them about a mail order, they even offered to send a free sample. Now that’s some guts. The 22 ounce bottle is absolutely beautiful and wax sealed. The brew itself is aged in Iberian chestnut barrels and made with real birch, sarsaparilla, ginger, and other nice ingredients including pure cane sugar for those who care about that.

The Body is full and complex with a rich and creamy texture and an aged flavor. There’s a dark rooty core accented by a little licorice. There are notes of birch and wintergreen and some vanilla. There’s also a hint of bitterness but this gives way to more pleasant flavors. The Bite is solid and spicy at just the right amount. The Head is excellent. It’s very tall and foamy to the bottom of the mug. The Aftertaste is rich vanilla with caramel hints.

Wow. I wasn’t expecting that level of complexity and spiciness. It’s quite a bit different from the standard vanilla and honey brews I constantly rave about, but I love it all the same. This is one you can quaff, but is far better to drink slowly to savor all that is going on. I’m proud to give this one my Seal of Approval. Finally, a premium gourmet root beer that’s worth getting for more than just the awesome bottle. See how it rates against other root beers.

4 kegs


Jun 242015
 

Chowning's Tavern Root Beer BottleSeal of ApprovalI know what you’re thinking. “Eric, Chowning’s Tavern is just Dominion Root Beer with a different label.” Yes, this is true. This is just a relabled Dominion. However, way back in 1998 when I tried Dominion root beer it had significantly different ingredients. And in between then and now, they had changed their recipe as well. So this is the third iteration of Dominion and Chowning’s Tavern Root Beer where they’ve kept their name the same. It really bugs me when companies doe that since I don’t like going back and changing reviews. Therefore I’m just filing this under Chowning’s Tavern. It’s a stretch by my standards, I know, but it’s a new root beer with a “new” name. This is only served in Colonial Williamsburg Taverns. I’m not sure if the strange colonial looking man on the label is mister Chowning but he looks like a Chowning.

The Body is nice with a prominent sassafras flavor accented by honey and spice. It’s quite a standard root beer flavor, but executed superbly. The Bite is spicy and solid but it ends smooth. The Head is tall and lasts throughout the entire drinking experience. The Aftertaste is also very nice; vanilla with a hint of wintergreen.

This hits the spot. It’s not as good as the original Dominion Root Beer of yore, but it’s definitely a delicious well balanced brew in every department. I’d drink this again and again, if it were available around here. See how it rates against other root beers.

4 kegs


Jun 032015
 

Dominion Root Beer BottleSeal of ApprovalThe third root beer from the mini mart across the street from Safeco Field in 1998 that doesn’t actually exist anymore sadly. This was made by the Old Dominion Brewing Company, before it was bought and its original location was torn down. So it’s from the old Old Dominion Brewing Company. This is made with Virginia honey which must be better than regular honey or they wouldn’t make such a point about it. I love a root beer with honey. Sadly the label doesn’t give me much to go on about. It’s got some lines going out like a fan, and it’s got its name. No conundrums or cliches or ridiculousness. Just plain classy gourmet root beer. No real special story about how I found it either, you’ve heard that before. So I guess on to the review I wrote 17 years ago.

Very nice Body. Head is good but it could use more. The Bite is nice but not too much and the Aftertaste is pleasant.

Alright, I’ll admit I needed to write more back then. It’s a shame I didn’t but I’ll tell you this is a solid and delicious root beer. You know those honey brews always do it for me. Especially when they’ve got maltodextrin in them. It makes them feel so good in your mouth. At the time I originally reviewed it, it was the first solid four kegs I’d ever given. See how it rates against other root beers.

4 kegs