Oct 312018
 

Calvin's 1836 Root Beer BottleSeal of Approval There are two things about the name of this brew that need to be mentioned. First is Calvin and the second is 1836. Calvin is the son of a man Marvin Scheidegger who opened a beverage distributorship in 1957. Calvin bought said distributorship from his father in 1973, and still runs it with his children to this very day. This distributorship (I’m gonna be honest, I’ve never written that word before so I’m breaking it in) happens to be in Hermann Missouri, a town founded by German immigrants in, you guessed it 1836. So Calvin always dreamed of making his own root beer, and he also loved his town. And with the help of a local winemaker, he has turned his dream into a reality, with the goal of making a classic barrel-style root beer of yesteryear. So how did he do?

The Body is sweet and rich and creamy with vanilla washing over a classic root beer flavor. Then a spicy Bite hits that’s both strong and complex, yet finishes smooth. The Head is wonderfully tall and frothy and doesn’t ever leave. The Aftertaste is a delicious spiced vanilla with whispers of wintergreen.

Wow! Quite a brew! Calvin, I say this as someone who has tried 399 different gourmet root beers, you have done a magnificent job. I would love to know what root beers you drank growing up, because they must have been amazing for you to strive for this brew. Your dream has become a reality, but it feels like a dream for all who have the pleasure of drinking this root beer. See how it rates against other root beers.

4.5 Kegs




May 162018
 

WBC Root Beer BottleSeal of ApprovalWBC’s “root” is in Goose Island. If you’ve been following the root beer world closely these last few years, you’d know that it used to be called WBC Goose Island Root Beer, and long before that, there was merely Goose Island Root Beer, without any WBC. The first version was made by the Goose Island Brewery in starting in 1988 and lasted into the early 2000’s when I got a hold of it and gave it a slightly above average review. Sometime later WBC, the WIT Beverage Company (got to love nested acronyms) took over production of the root beer and changed the labels. This continued until late 2014 when Goose Island was dropped entirely. This was done for two reasons. Number one was that minors were supposedly sneaking Goose Island beer into the root beer carriers and fooling the tellers. And the supposed reason two is that the licensing agreement for the Goose Island name had expired and why bother renewing it. The bottle says that they have remained true to the original recipe which is never pasteurized and continue in a tradition of quality and innovation. Part of that innovation has been changing the recipe from the original, as a comparison of the late 90’s Goose Island that I tried and this bottle reveal slightly different ingredients and nutrition. Let’s see how innovative they really were.

The Body is sweet and full with creamy vanilla and a caramelized sugar flavor. The Bite is rather smooth but there is some spice in there, giving a nice little nip. The Head is nice and frothy, though it could be taller, it is sufficient. The Aftertaste is a light vanilla flavor with some spiced cane sugar that lasts the right amount of time.

No one aspect stands out as amazing, but taken all together this brew is high quality. So they have innovated properly, and earned an extra half a keg over the original. Nicely done. See how it rates against other root beers.

4 kegs




Mar 142018
 

Rabbit Ridge Root Beer Bottle Seal of ApprovalI’ve seen root beer bottles with many different types of animals on them, but this is the first rabbit. My daughter saw it and said it is an Easter Bunny root beer. Actually, it’s made by Rabbit Ridge Winery’s spin off soda line, Paso Pure, so the rabbit is from that. The sodas were developed in 2015 for all the children and designated drivers that come out wine tasting, which means that people must drink way too much out there if they need designated drivers. The line is called Paso Pure because they use pure ingredients and they’re located in Paso Robles. It’s run by the daughter of the winery owners. The label is a bit perplexing since “Rabbit Ridge” is far more prominent than “Paso Pure.” I suspect that’s the parents reminding their daughter who’s really in charge. They also make sure to say “Soda Pop” to both frustrate and placate both sides of the soda vs. pop nomenclature war.

This has a rich, creamy Body that’s full of classic sassafras flavor. Bits of vanilla and wintergreen are present as well. The abundance of spices give a pronounced Bite that isn’t overbearing and finishes silky smooth. The Head is just perfect, tall and frothy and I couldn’t ask for more. The Aftertaste is creamy vanilla with ending notes of wintergreen and clove.

What a masterful brew! Seriously, this stuff is amazing! It’s one of the best brews that I’ve reviewed in awhile. I’m proud to award this my Seal of Approval. With stuff like this on their tasting tour, I wouldn’t be surprised if everyone was volunteering to be designated driver. See how it rates against other root beers.

4.5 Kegs