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

Nov 062013

Cicero Beverage Company Salted Caramel Root BeerSeal of ApprovalI had the most unique opportunity to get a hold of this brew before it came to market. The fine people of Capone Family Secret told me that they wanted me to try a salted caramel root beer that they will start selling in World Market in 2014. Interestingly they’re doing it under a new beverage line, Cicero Beverage Company. I have no idea why. You’d think that an already successful brand like Capone’s Family Secret could incorporate a salted caramel root beer. That is, unless, their story on the label about it being found in Al Capone’s warehouses was true and they really didn’t want to upset his legacy. Either way who am I to complain about new root beer, well complain too much. It arrived in what must be the best way to ship soda EVER, a treasure chest containing two burlap sack wrapped bottles. They had to one up themselves from their Capone delivery evidently. Cicero’s theme is Chicago style sodas with a picture of the city with a river flowing through the middle. For this flavor the river is caramel being poured in the top and then leaking out of the bottom of the picture.

The Body has a rich caramel flavor accompanying the traditional root beer flavors. It’s a little salty but not too much. Bite is mostly from carbonation and has a smooth finish. The Head is medium-short but is very frothy and lingers long enough to be adequate. The Aftertaste is a luscious salted caramel flavor that lasts just the right amount of time.

Wow! I love a caramel flavor in my root beer and this takes it to a new level without overpowering what a root beer should taste like. Striking the perfect balance with a flavored root beer such as this is difficult, as is evidenced from all of the butterscotch brews I’ve had, but they’ve nailed it perfectly. See how it rates against other root beers.

4 kegs