Sep 072016

Virgil's Bavarian Nutmeg Root Beer Bottle This was actually one of the first gourmet root beers that I ever heard about. At the time, I was around 15 and loved my Henry Weinhard’s. My older brother was talking one day about some amazing root beer and I thought he was talking about Henry’s but he said it was Virgil’s. But not the regular Virgil’s, the special Virgil’s in the spring top bottles. Sadly, he died before he was able to share a bottle with me, and though that led to me becoming the root beer connoisseur that I am today, I didn’t find that special Virgil’s until over 10 years later. I’d long since had the original Virgil’s before this but was not impressed at all. This one, though, promises a different, more special/nutmeg recipe that is imported from Bavaria evidently. I’m not sure why they want to stress that it’s from Bavaria. Last time I checked, all of the root beers that came from Europe were pretty nasty and last time I was in Germany, they didn’t even know what root beer was. So unless they’re talking about Bavaria, PA or something like that, it isn’t really a selling point.

This has a very complex Body that is creamy, sort of fruity, and not overly sweet. It lacks the essential sassafras flavor and comes across a little weak because of it. It has a nice Bite on account of the cinnamon and nutmeg but manages to keep it on the smooth side. The Head is a major drawback. It is weak and fizzes away quickly. The Aftertaste is a creamy and slightly fruity flavor with hints of honey. It lingers awhile and is not unpleasant.

This one is much better than the standard Virgil’s but the lack of sassafras flavor is significant and fruitiness is slightly out of place. Replace that fruitiness with the sassafras and give it a nice Head and it would be amazing. It says that it is a winner of the NASFT “Outstanding Beverage” Award. Though this an O.K. brew, I wouldn’t go that far. The spring top bottle is one of the coolest bottles I’ve ever seen though, and you can reuse them to make your own homemade brews too so it’s definitely worth having now and again. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three and a half kegs

Sep 232015

Virgil's Root Beer Bottle I don’t think that any root beer came more ballyhooed than Virgil’s. I was only in high school, yet everyone who had tried it went on about how good it was. Well, everyone who didn’t seem to know anything about fine root beer that is. It was also winner of the NASFT (National Association for the Specialty Food Trade) “Outstanding Beverage”, which they have been putting on their labels for as long as I’ve seen them. Virgil’s originally was brewed in North England, also a place that doesn’t rank high on the “knows about fine root beer” list of places (Philadelphia, Southern California, and the Twin Cities are places that rank at the top). So anyway. Many a folk who weren’t really into root beer were telling me about this brew that won an award from people who aren’t really into root beer which was made by people who don’t really know a lot about root beer. It of course had to be the greatest.

This has a very complex flavor with all sorts of things that in my opinion have no business being in root beer in the quantities they use. However it has an alright Body but the absence of sassafras is very noticeable. The Aftertaste is of anise (one ingredient that I feel has no business being a prominent flavor in root beer). The Head could be much better, and there is not much Bite.

Yeah, um, I don’t really like it at all. You’d think with all of their “superb blend of Spice & Herbs gathered the world over” that they’d drop by the ol’ US of A and pick up some sassafras. Maybe throw some honey in there as well, that’d make it much better. I suppose when rated against the other British root beers it is the best and it really isn’t terrible. The big shame is that they also sell nifty party kegs (which no one else does) but it doesn’t taste any better out of them. I wish it did because that concept is awesome. Oh well. See how it rates against other root beers.

2.5/5 Root Beer Kegs

Oct 222011

The bottle on this one is pretty cool. It’s got a picture of the god Mercury drinking from a mug and has root beer bubbles everywhere. I don’t really like the fact that they call it root beer soda pop, as I like to think of root beer as a premium brewed carbonated beverage and not something as low class as a soda pop. Though, Sprecher’s calls theirs root beer soda and that is amazing, while Virgil’s calls theirs premium micro brew and it is pretty bad. So I guess what you call it isn’t nearly as important as its Body, Bite, Head, and Aftertaste. This is also sold as Freaky Dog Rooff Beer, the two are exactly the same.

The Body has a strong, dark sassafras flavor with slight licorice and wintergreen bits coming through. The Bite isn’t that good. There are not really any spices though the carbonation is at the right level. The Head is short and gone fast but not one of those two second root beer Heads. The Aftertaste is heavy wintergreen with a bit of licorice that lingers too long. It’s not really bad; it’s just not really good either.

So I guess it really is more soda pop quality, though it’s flavor isn’t really what I think of when I think of soda pop root beer, as this is distinct instead of generic. I find it curious that on the side of the bottle they have a picture of two kegs. I didn’t notice that until after I had rated it. I suppose if they were looking to make two keg root beer they can take pride in knowing that they almost hit their target. See how it rates against other root beers.