Jun 142017

Sunshine Bottle Works Root Beer BottleSeal of Approval So a few weeks ago I was contacted by the people at the Sunshine Bottle Works asking if I’d like to try their root beer. It is all natural, but they assured me it wasn’t like some of the nasty ones I’d try. And I said … of course I said yes. I’d say yes if they said they’d made the worst root beer in the world and wanted confirmation, or if they said it was the most generic thing out there. I always say yes to trying root beer. Sunshine Bottle Works started making craft sodas in 2014, with a desire to make sodas to match the modern lifestyle of the Central Coast. In talking with the owner, he thought that all natural root beers should be judged in their own category, since they it isn’t fair competing against artificial ingredients. I disagree. With the exception of safrole, all ingredients of root beer can be natural, and sassafras root extracts with the safrole removed are fine to use. It’s just more expensive. I’ve had plenty of amazing all natural root beers and plenty of artificial garbage. What you do with the ingredients and how you proportion them is far more important then whether they are all natural or not. And, if you do it right, the all natural ones should end up better. Real vanilla, honey, and spices can taste much better than the fake, if mixed at the proper ratios. So no, it’s perfectly fair to compare the natural to the not all naturals. And how did they do? You already saw the Seal up top, they nailed it.

It’s got a nice sweet, creamy body with wintergreen and birch notes. The Bite is a little sharp with spices but doesn’t finish as smooth as I prefer. The Head is nice and tall and foamy, just how I like it. The Aftertaste is a nice vanilla with some minty hints.

This is quite a fine brew, even when compared against those with the “unfair” advantage. They had nothing to worry about. Let this continue to be the lesson to you all. Great brews need more than just great ingredients, they need those ingredients to be expertly prepared, such preparation is in adequate supply at the Sunshine Bottle Works. Good job. See how it rates against other root beers.

4 kegs

Jun 072017

Twisted Root Root Beer BottleSeal of Approval From a family owned and operated Ocean City Brewing Company in Ocean City Maryland comes this Twisted root beer, but it’s actually Twisted Root Root Beer, which makes spell check angry. You might think that it’s some mistake of mine, misinterpreting their original intent, but the label picture clearly has trees with twisty roots. For whatever reason they thought the double “root” was a necessity. Perhaps they did it so as to be able to pour it into a square glass and not have it turn into regular beer. If you square root root beer you’ll get beer after all. I should have asked them when I ordered it. I was more concerned about getting them to send me some at all. Some places can be finicky about that sort of thing. It joins Maine Root as the only other brand (that I know of) with the whole double root-ness.

The Body is rich and creamy and sweet and delicious. There’s cinnamon and vanilla accenting the rooty core with caramel undertones. Yum! The Bite is mild and pleasant with a smooth finish. The Head medium and frothy, lingering through the drinking experience. The Aftertaste is a mild vanilla with some hints of wintergreen coming through.

This is a proper root beer. It’s well balanced and has the quintessential creamy root beer flavors, with some added spices for an extra zip, but not too much. This is the sort of root beer you can drink time and again and it’ll never get old. That being said, it doesn’t completely blow me. It get’s 4 kegs and the Seal of Approval. See how it rates against other root beers.

4 kegs

May 242017

Pint of LTD Brewing Company Root BeerSeal of Approval Yesterday and Monday I was in Minneapolis for another job interview but this time for a different company, doing different things. Choices choices if I get offers from both. So anyhow I was in Minneapolis and looking for root beer. Remembering the fabulous brew at Town Hall Brewery and others, I had high hopes for another amazing Minnesota find. I discovered the LTD Brewing Company was not far from my hotel and immediately set off. LTD stands for Limited Batches, Unlimited Possibilities. It was started by two friends who met at college in 2003 and set off on a quest to make their own beer. This eventually turned into a brewery rather than some college kids trying to get drunk cheaper. Early on in the process, though, they made a commitment to have quality root beer, the kind Minnesota is known for. They didn’t disappoint.

The Body is oh so sweet and creamy and rich and utterly delicious. There’s tons of wonderful vanilla flowing through it. It also has quite a sharp and substantial Bite from a myriad of spices yet manages to finish smooth. The Head is amazingly tall and it takes the multiple pours before the glass can actually fill with brew instead of foam. The Aftertaste is strong vanilla with some wintergreen undertones.

Wow! This is so good. So sweet and spicy, yet smooth and creamy and just really what I want to see in a root beer. Dang Twin Cities area, you have got the highest concentration of Seal of Approval brews I know of. This might be the place for me to live.

4.5 Kegs

The LTD Brewing Company.

The LTD Brewing Company.

The LTD Brewing vats.

The LTD Brewing vats.

Only $2.50 for a pint of some of the world's best root beer.

Only $2.50 for a pint of some of the world’s best root beer.