Feb 262014

Tommyknocker New Root Beer BottleSeal of Approval I honestly hope this is the last time I have to review a Tommyknocker Root Beer. You see, after my second/last review and the rebuke of Tommyknocker that went with it, they went and changed their recipe. I found this out when I saw bottles of it at The Root Beer Store. They were really pushing their Tahitian Vanilla, in the ingredients. Meh, I said, I’ll get around to it someday. Then about a year later I looked and the bottle had changed. Notice the “New” on there. Gone was the Tahitian Vanilla (who likes Tahiti anyways?) and it was replaced by organic vanilla (which evidently cannot come from Tahiti), and all the ingredients are all natural with no preservatives. So now it’s Tommyknocker New Root Beer, yet, it’s still “Original” somehow. Original in that no other brand has changed their recipe so often in such a short space of time perhaps? Either way, I finally capitulated the way you do to a toddler asking you the same question over and over and over and over … and over and over … and over again, and bought two bottles to review. I also got a third for my wife because she’s always bugging me about how she wants an all natural root beer without preservative and how I’m filling myself with terrible chemicals with all of the other root beers I’m drinking.

The Body is nice and sweet that starts with a medium strength generic root beer flavor giving way to maple and vanilla. The Bite is prickly. It seems like that comes both from some spice and the carbonation, but once again, the maple quickly drowns it out. The Head is excellent! It builds right to the top of my mug but doesn’t quite spill over. It lingers throughout the whole drinking experience as a root beer Head should. The Aftertaste is some sticky maple and vanilla.

Ok, this one is great, though still not as good as their original(?) recipe, it’s better than their second iteration. Without any preservatives detracting from the mouth feel, added to the maple bonus and excellent Head, they barely squeak through to regain their lost the Seal of Approval. Now please, please, please, don’t go messing it up again. See how it rates against other root beers.

4 kegs

Dec 182013

Fitz's Root Beer BottleSeal of Approval Fitz’s originally appeared in St. Louis in 1947 at a root beer stand. It shut down in the 1970′s like so many root beer stands but was resurrected in 1993 by Fitz’s Bottling Company. Not content to merely bring the root beer back, they wanted a vintage bottling line as well to ensure authenticity. Luckily they found one in some barn in Wisconsin because where else are you going to find a 1940′s vintage bottling line? I must say that’s pretty unique to them compared to a lot of the other resurrected brands. Their bottle is slightly different than your standard long neck as well, which I suppose is related to all of that authentic vintageness. The label is also the original from before so it’s as if the esteemed root beer never left.

The Body is dark and rooty, with a clean crisp flavor on account of the luscious cane sugar. The spices and fizz level make for an excellent little Bite. The Head is average at best but frothy and lingers. The creamy vanilla and wintergreen Aftertaste is very desirable.

This is a quality brew by all metrics. I wonder how it could have died off in the first place. All of their attention to detail in authenticity clearly shows through. The results are impeccable. Drinking this root beer is a pleasant experience that should be repeated often. See how it rates against other root beers.

4 kegs

Nov 202013

Sparky's Fresh Draft Root Beer BottleSeal of Approval Made by Knox Brewing in Pacific Grove California, Sparky’s is leading the root beer revival, according to them at least. This started out as a home brew by the award winning brewer Kevin Knox who after years of perfecting the recipe released it to the world. Why they call it Sparky’s is beyond me. All I hope is that it isn’t named after a dog. I can’t remember how I heard about it, it was some time in early 2005 I think. I sent them an email asking how to order it and they sent me four bottles to try plus a T-shirt. Yay! I love root beer clothing. Two of their bottles were 22 ounces which is pretty unique in the root beer world. The label is nice. Simple to the point. A hand grabbing a glass of root beer.

The Body is really sweet and spicy with all of the right stuff. You can really taste the honey. The Bite is spicy and solid as well, almost too much for me, but not quite. It was rather sharp. The Head is decent, frothy, but a little too much on the slim side. The Aftertaste a luscious combination of honey and spices that left me tipping back the empty glass trying to get some more.

Yum, yum! This is a good one. I love that spicy Bite. Now I know why they also put it in 22 ounce bottles, the brewers foresaw that you’d want more. Drinking this is a pleasure from the first draught to the last drop. Okay, Sparky’s, you are right, you are leading The Great Root Beer Revival. See how it rates against other root beers.

4 kegs