Jun 062012

Not to be confused with Wild Bill’s Rocky Mountain Root Beer. The same way Vinepark River City Root Beer is not to be confused with River City Root Beer, or Route 66 with Root 66 with Old Town Root Beer 66. Ok, people, what’s up with this. I mean, can’t you think of unique identifiers for your brews? Have you ever thought of doing a Google search on your root beer name before you start your company? I mean, whenever I write a technical paper, the first thing I do is search the title in quotes to make sure no one else has the same title. I did the same thing with my name, E. Sortomme, there aren’t any other technical authors that use E. Sortomme so if you read something from him, it’s from me. See, nice and simple like. Not saying that Northwoods Soda and Syrup Company is the primary offender (they could have had the name first for all I know), but finding them was just the straw that broke the camel’s back if you will. They do have a much classier label than the bullet riddled other Wild Bill’s, so I suppose this is after Wild Bill went into retirement and became all high society or something. A last note on these guys, they proudly declare in the ingredients that this soda is sweetened with “Michigan Beet Sugar.” And why not? What’s wrong with beet sugar anyways? I think pure cane sugar is really overrated. Plus I once spent a summer weeding a sugar beet field for $5 an acre. So beet sugar will always hold a special place in my heart. Especially after the sugar beet factory co-op failed miserably and went bankrupt, wiping out the financial resources of many farmers in the region … Anyways, the root beer.

A sweet carmely flavor with some creamy vanilla and hints of licorice make up the full Body of this brew. The Bite is good as well from some spices and carbonation. The Head is ok. It foams up to a decent height but then quickly fizzes down. The Aftertaste is caramel with some licorice accents and vanilla.

So, not bad at all. It’s definitely a solid brew, yet it doesn’t really do anything for me. I don’t know why, but when I drink it I just don’t feel moved the way I should by root beer. Oh well. See how it rates against other root beers.

Feb 292012

In an effort to expand my root beer collection in an affordable manner (have you ever ordered one variety online before?) I decided to try trading with other root beer reviewers. I looked first to Anthony of root beer barrel fame because he’s the undisputed king of root beer reviews and also his was the first site I encountered way back in 1998. I’d always looked up to him and since he is on the other coast, we each had access to different regional varieties. After a brief email exchange, the trade arranged. Sadly, i’d given him the wrong zip code since I had recently moved. The package was lost in the mail for over two weeks. Thankfully, he’d gotten a tracking number and I was able to sort it out. The one I was most excited to try was this one. I mean look at it. Bullet holes through the label with a cowboy holding a frosty mug. How can you not like that? It’s also made “with pure cane sugar.” What’s not to love?

It has a very rich and creamy Body. It has an excellent sassafrass flavor, how a root beer should be. The Bite has a good spice tingle as well as some from the carbonation but stays on the smooth side as I like it. The Head is medium height and decently frothy. It fizzes down faster than I prefer but it is sufficient. The Aftertaste is wonderful. Creamy vanilla and a caramel flavor with hints of anise and wintergreen.

This is one quality brew! It’s core flavors are near perfectly proportioned and then its got nice extras from the vanilla and the spices. After the first half a mug, I knew this would be getting a Seal of Approval. Thankfully in this case, I have to drink two bottles, just to make sure. The biggest problem I see with this, it isn’t sold locally. See how it rates against other root beers.