Jun 082016
 

Bottle of Iron Horse Root BeerSeal of Approval I got this in late 1999 or early 2000. It was one of my first mail orders, and I had to order 12 of them since variety packs were not an option in those days. I picked it because it looks awesome with that train and metallic shine (which is really hard to capture in a picture with the flash on a white background). When I first tried it I was blown away like never before, I was standing when I took my first drink and I had to sit down. It was that good. I got on the phone and called a friend and told him I’d found the best root beer EVER, and I awarded my first 5 kegs. In the next year or so I had multiple cases and then I went on my mission to Madagascar, a great dry spell for me as it were. When I got back my parents had a case waiting, but as I drank it against Hank’s and Henry’s, it didn’t seem to taste as good as it once did. I figured I’d had a bad batch and over the years had it again and again, each time disappointed (and by that I mean not the greatest thing ever made). Finally I had the The Ultimate Root Beer Showdown and realized I needed to re-rate this.

This has a very sweet medium Body and a very nice Bite. There’s some cinnamon and other spices that really grab the tongue. There is also a lovely caramelized corn syrup flavor that is very unique. The Head is ok and medium frothy. The Aftertaste is of vanilla and spices.

It is still a really good root beer, but doesn’t hold up against the others like it used to. Maybe they changed the recipe, the ingredients and nutritional info are the same but who knows what could be different with the whole “natural and artificial flavor”. Maybe it’s me. Maybe all the cholera I had in Madagascar changed my tastes such that what had made this and only this amazing no longer does. I don’t know. What I do know is that it is still a fine brew to be had whenever possible, but not the greatest root beer in the world. Sorry and congrats at the same time I guess? See how it rates against other root beers.

4 kegs




May 182016
 

St John Brewers Root Beer BottleSeal of ApprovalMy first brew from the Virgin Islands! It’s kind of international since it isn’t from any of the States but kind of not since it’s from the US Virgin Islands. It was quite a bugger to get as the brewers themselves didn’t want to ship it. I had tried to trade with someone, but that fellow turned out to be the most dishonorable scum imaginable and so it ultimately didn’t happen. Then I found some truly goodhearted chaps who were going to send me a bottle but before they could I found it at a local store. Ah the virtues of patience. The label of this is simple and island themed. Though the tap on the tree is somewhat concerning; I hope they don’t have palm extracts in here, that could be … strange. The ingredients don’t list palm, but they do have a nice list of quality spices and flavorings which is very promising.

The Body is sweet and creamy and complex. There are some caramel notes and spice with solid sassafras and vanilla. The faintest hint of wintergreen surfaces as well. There is a strong Bite from the ample amounts of spice. The Head is massive and foamy. Each bottle would have foamed over had I poured the entire thing in at once. Additionally, after waiting a minute, I had to sip it down since it didn’t really go away. The Aftertaste is a caramel vanilla flavor with some notes of anise and mixed spices.

This brew is simply amazing! The many ingredients meld perfectly to give you a root beer that’s balanced and delicious. Add an impeccable Head and you’ve got one of the best brews I’ve ever had the pleasure of drinking. This was worth the wait. See how it rates against other root beers.

4.5 Kegs




Mar 022016
 

Growler of Sonoran Root BeerSeal of Approval Another growler review! It’s been so long I bet you thought I didn’t do those anymore. Well I do. I just haven’t had anyone get me brews from in a growler. Draft is more fun if you can get it. Sonoran has been on my radar for a long while, but then they stopped bottling for some reason. Some root beer friends of mine had promised to send me some with a trade but held off for a long time, hoping that it would return to its bottled glory. Over a year passed, and it never returned. So they filled this growler for me and sent it my way. I was worried, because they waited a week to send it. I’d never had a growler older than four days before. Would it would be flat and ruined? Would it taste stale? What’s the fresh life on a growler anyhow?

The Body is sweet and spicy and caramely with some vanilla. There’s something a little off about it though. It’s got a good Bite as well, nice and spicy and even some carbonation despite being from a growler. I don’t rate the Head from a growler, but my first glass still had a decent one. I’m impressed. The Aftertaste is more caramel and vanilla, with a hint of wintergreen. There’s a little something funny that pops up, it may just be that it’s old brew, but it disappears quickly.

Wow, yum, yummy and not ruined at all by being so old. Two weeks may not be that long after all. It even had the best Head of any growler brew I’ve ever had, even though I don’t give points for that. Silly me for worrying, they knew what they were doing all along. Finally a growler review that I can give a Seal of Approval. I can only imagine how this would be fresh out of the tap. Definitely get it if you can.

4 kegs