Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Old Town Root Beer 66

Brewed and bottled at multiple locations in southern California by Old Town Root Beer Co.

12oz brown glass bottle with a fairly simple paper label. No nutritional information given on the bottle. Sweetened with cane sugar & honey. Natural flavorings listed are: real vanilla & cinnamon.

Medium color, zero head even when poured aggressively. The aroma was mostly licorice, and it was easy to pick out the cinnamon note. Taste was heavy on the licorice, with a bit of vanilla way in the back. The finish had a nice spicy trail. Medium carbonation and average mouthfeel.

An interesting root beer with a unique taste. The cinnamon does add a nice dimension. But the strong licorice flavor seems to work against the drinkability.
Rating: B-

Iron Horse Root Beer

Named after a Center Pacific steam engine from the 1800s, and distributed by Iron Horse Products in Edina, MN.

Old West looking paper label on a 12oz brown glass bottle. The copper colored bottle cap is a nice touch. 180 calories and 45 grams of sugar. Sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, no specific flavorings listed.

Medium color, decent frothy head that dissipates after a few minutes. Aroma has alot of licorice upfront and also some of vanilla. Taste has a big, almost toffee creaminess at first, then finishes with a complex and interesting spiciness. The balance of different flavors is just wonderful! Mouthfeel is silky, perfect level of carbonation.

This is tasty and intriguing to say the least. There is an elegant richness to it.
Iron Horse is the definition of a gourmet root beer.
Rating: A

Dog n Suds Root Beer

"Drive-in style" root beer as stated on the bottle. Same root beer that's available at their restaurants across the midwest. Dog n Suds is headquartered in Champaign, IL.

Cute (but poorly attached) paper label on a 12oz brown glass bottle. Only 110 calories and 30 grams of sugar. Sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, no specific flavorings listed.

Light in color, almost bordering dark amber. Small fizzy head that disappeared quickly. Aroma was vanilla and a touch of licorice. Taste had alot of vanilla creaminess, getting close to a cream soda style. Medium carbonation, lighter mouthfeel, very smooth finish with a mild and pleasant aftertaste.

I can only assume this root beer was designed to go well with their menu items. (e.g. dogs, burgers & fries) I bet it does a great job at that. Not an exciting root beer, but it's light, creamy, and refreshing.
Rating: C+

Dad's Old Fashioned Root Beer

A well known and widely available root beer with a great history originating in Chicago, IL.
I decided to review Dad's just because it's available in a nice looking 12oz brown glass bottle with a painted label.

A whopping 230 calories, 44 grams of sugar. Sweetened with invert sugar, no specific flavorings listed.

Darker color, small fizzy head that dissipates quickly into small bubbles around the edge of the glass. Good spicy aroma with a fair amount of vanilla & wintergreen. Taste has familiar root beer flavor with vanilla creaminess and a sugary finish. Medium carbonation and a pretty good mouthfeel. Average, mild, and inoffensive overall.

I would maybe drink Dad's once in a while, but the high calories makes me lose interest.
Rating: C

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sparky's Fresh Draft Root Beer

Sparky's is kettle brewed in small batches by the Knox family in Pacific Grove, CA.

Short 12oz brown glass bottle, plain looking paper label, but an attractive bottle cap. No nutritional information given on the bottle. Sweetened with cane sugar & honey, no specific flavorings listed.

Cola colored, almost zero head even when poured aggressively. Aroma is almost all wintergreen, a bit of sharp spiciness underneath it. Taste is all wintergreen with a strange burning spiciness. The wintergreen flavor is so strong, perhaps it's birch oil, and that's the angle they are taking with this brew. Finish has a faint bitterness. Low carbonation, mouthfeel is thin and flat. The flavor sort of got to me...I couldn't finish the bottle.

It might be more accurate to call this a hot/spicy wintergreen soda or birch beer.
Would not drink again.
Rating: D

Hank's Root Beer

This is one that I've been meaning to try for a long time. I see it everywhere, but I've never bought it. Brewed in Trevose, PA, Hank's calls this a gourmet Philadelphia recipe root beer.

Great looking 12oz brown glass bottle with raised lettering and a paper label. 180 calories, 44 grams of sugar. Sweetened with cane sugar, natural flavorings listed are: yucca, quillaia & acacia extracts.

Fairly dark in color and produces a slightly fizzy head with large bubbles. Head retention consists of large bubbles as well, with small amounts of lacing left on the glass. Notes of licorice and wintergreen in the aroma. Big creamy mouthfeel with the perfect amount of carbonation. Almost has a silky texture. Some vanilla in the taste and also a slight fruitiness. (cherry?) All this compliments a good amount of root spiciness.

Impressive taste and texture. Glad I finally got around to picking this up.
Rating: A-

Monday, September 27, 2010

Dorothy's Isle of Pines Root Beer

A charming story goes with this root beer from Ely, MN. Dorothy Molter brewed her own root beer in a small cabin on Knife Lake. For years visitors would paddle up to her cabin to purchase her homemade treat. Today, the root beer is brewed at the Dorothy Molter Museum in the same area.

Nice looking paper label on a 12oz brown glass bottle. 160 calories, 46 grams of sugar, sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. I can only assume that Dorothy's original recipe probably used real sugar. Too bad they changed it. Natural flavorings listed are: Acacia & Quillaia extracts.

Medium color with a reddish tint. Very fizzy head that disappeared in seconds. Smell had herbal notes with a touch of mint. Taste was somewhat thin with a medicinal quality. The odd finish reminded me of eucalyptus. Lower carbonation and a watery mouthfeel.

Disappointing to say the least. Oddly flavored, and it's something that I would not want to try again. I have a hunch that the stuff Dorothy brewed back in the day was much better than this.
Rating: C-

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Capt'n Eli's Root Beer

To the east coast we go! Brewed and bottled by Shipyard Brewing Co. Portland, ME.
A craft brewery that produces the famous Pumpkinhead Ale.

Attractive paper label and bottle cap to match, on a 12 oz brown glass bottle. 165 calories and 40 grams of sugar. Sweetened with cane sugar, natural flavorings listed are: wintergreen oil, anise & vanilla.

Rich dark color with a decent head, good retention, and even some lacing left on the glass. Looks great! The wintergreen, anise & vanilla are all very apparent on the nose. The bold taste had some spice along with vanilla creaminess, and the anise adds some complexity. It all ends clean with a stronger wintergreen finish. Perfect amount of carbonation. Refreshing, not syrupy, and very tasty.

A very good root beer overall.
Has all of the key elements and a good balance of flavors.
Rating: B+

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Pearson Bros. Root Beer

This root beer caught my eye because it's my wife's maiden name. What better way to start my blog!

Distributed by Pearson Bros. San Francisco, CA. Attractive paper label on a 12oz clear glass bottle. 180 calories, 45 grams of sugar. Sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, and no specific ingredients listed.

Cola colored, very small head that disappeared immediately. Good root beer spices with a touch of vanilla on the nose. Taste had vanilla creaminess upfront, ending with a bit of a club soda taste. Lower carbonation, fairly light in flavor, and somewhat watery overall.

Not a bad root beer, but nothing to seek out.
Rating: C