Friday, March 30, 2007

Stewart's Fountain Classics Root Beer: Keep One Near You.

Stewart's root beer is one of those root beers that most people have heard of. The label, although very simplistic, is very recognizable when walking the soda aisle at your favorite grocery store. Stewart's is another one of those companies that has a plethera of other sodas in unique flavors - even a black cherry - YUM.

This soda has an unbelievable root beer taste without any other flavors getting in the way. Because it is packaged in a bottle, it pours easily and goes great over a dollop of ice cream making a perfect root beer float. Ice cream, as most root beer lovers know, enhances the head of the root beer. This root beer needs it. Although Stewart's has a flavor that all root beers should try to capture, it lacks on the ability to make a good head.

For some reason, I am lacking much more to say about this root beer. It is one of those root beers that really speaks for itself. If you haven't tried it - you are missing out.


I give this a hefty 4 Frosty Mugs. I am hesistant to give it a higher rating because it is very early in the evaluation process. However, I really like this root beer. The only thing that could be improved, in my book, is a little more head. I have a feeling I will be constantly referring back to Stewart's in the months to come.

--Jeff

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Stewart's Fountain Classic Root Beer - The Standard in a Glass Bottle

I received my bottle of Stewart's from Jeff in the official Rootbeer Brothers mailing tube which is working great by the way. My first impression of this brew is that the logo is pretty cool, a root beer barrel shaped frosty mug filled to the brim with brew and foam. This cool logo and the fact that it is in a glass bottle makes for what we call in the world of psychology "good face validity". Another words the very appearance of the bottle gives the impression that a great root beer is stored inside.

As I opened the bottle the aroma from the spritz reminded me of another very familiar root beer, A&W to be exact. I know this without a doubt because when I evaluate a root beer for the ranks list I actually do a direct comparison with A&W. Another words I opened a bottle of A&W right after the Stewart's. The aroma was identical. In fact as I continued with the evaluation and indulgence of these two brews it was very difficult to tell them apart.


The color, scent, and taste was almost indistinguishable. I did notice a slight difference in carbonation, Stewart's presented with slightly less which was a plus but on the same note when poured into a frosty mug it came up slightly less in foam as well. Stewart's Root Beer is certainly a good root beer, in fact it meets the standard perfectly. This however is concerning for me simply because Stewart's is normally more expensive than A&W and I have found that it carries slightly a better reputation as well. However, the only real difference that I have experienced is the fact that it is in a glass bottle, which isn't something I take lightly. Every good root beer belongs in glass, plain and simple. So with all that in mind I award Stewart's 3.5 Frosty Mugs, the additional half over A&W is simply because it is appropriately in glass. But on that same note if it came down to value I still think A&W gives the most for your money. But if it came down to preference, I like root beer in a bottle so maybe the extra money is worth it.... quite a toss up best answered on an individual basis based on the situation you are in.


-Adam

Monday, March 19, 2007

Root Beer Festival in Alto Pass, Illinois


-photo obtained from Root Beer Saloon Website

I did a search for root beer festivals in this great land and came across only one. It is hosted by the "Root Beer Saloon" located in Alto Pass, Illinois. This year the festival is scheduled for August 18th and 19th. The saloon it self looks pretty cool and ironically enough they serve Sprecher Root Beer Soda on tap along with two other micro-brews. If anyone plans to attend this one or knows of any other root beer festivals please let us know. Right now I'm thinking I might need to take a drive to Alto Pass this summer. Check out the Root Beer Saloon at http://www.northwestpassage2001.net/saloonpg1.html

-Adam

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Root Beer Cellar - Coming Soon

Adam's last post made reference to a root beer cellar. Isn't that a fanastic concept? I think so.

So in the spirit of keeping things fun and fresh the root beer cellar will be adapted in some way, shape, or form within this blog. I forsee only the best of the best of root beers can be admitted in to the cellar - similar to a sports hall of fame or a star on sunset boulavard.

The details will be worked out between us and we will let you know.

As always, if you have a favorite....let us know.

--Jeff

Sprecher Root Beer Soda

Well I had the opportunity to sample this frosty beverage about a week ago, but it has taken me until now to really decifer what I liked and disliked about this root beer. This root beer arrived in my mailbox in a bottle. Bottle brews go a long way in my book. For some reason, a beverage stores and pours better from a glass bottle.


I will agree with Adam, the label is very unique and does lend to the appeal. The Sprecher Root Beer mascot, Rooty, has a tight grip on his frosty mug and holds a bottle of Sprecher as if to say "This is what it is, now go get your own". For more information on Rooty send a SASE to 701 W. Glendale Ave, Glendale, WI 53209.

As far as taste, I never really got the great taste of root beer that is so apparent in A&W, but there is another taste that really is the trademark for this brand of root beer. The key to the flavor is the blend of Wisconsin Honey and vanilla. This flavor is very distinct, but not my favorite - not bad, just not my favorite.

I also think the amount of honey in the recipe hinders the amount of head this root beer produces when poured into a frosty mug. I don't like a lot of carbonation, but I do need enough to give a descent head when poured (the actual head is no where near that shown in the above picture).

Sprecher is marketed as a root beer, but it is not a great root beer. It does not live up to the standards set by A&W. I give Sprecher Root Beer - 2.5 Frosty Mugs.

This blog is primarily a root beer rating forum, but there is no guarantee that other sodas will not find their way across our palate and onto this blog. The Sprecher Brewing Company has many other unique soda flavors available that might be worth trying.

--Jeff

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Sprecher Root Beer Soda – Not just for the Blackbirds

Upon popping the top to this 16oz dark glass bottle you are immediately given a sweet invitation to dive into this very creamy and smooth root beer that was nicely balanced with much less carbonation than A&W. Sprecher carries a very distinct taste of root beer extract with a unmistakable hint of honey. This flavor is just as refreshing as the very unique logo of a blackbird holding a bottle of the brew in one hand and a full frosty mug in the other. On the down side Sprecher came up short on foam, when poured into a frosty mug the foam although was thick but was also shallow and very short lived. This is unlike A&W which although produces thin foam it is very deep and long lasting. The color which some may consider less important, was somewhat darker than A&W but not by much.

So my evaluation of Sprecher found that in areas of smell, taste and especially packaging a very solid 4 out of 5 was appropriate. In areas of foam and color Sprecher fell to a 3.5 out of 5. For me, what brought this root beer over the top was the distinct honey flavor, the fact that it is in a glass bottle and the very unique logo. So I hesitantly award Sprecher with 4 frosty mugs.

All and all this is a good root beer that is certainly worth the occasional $1.79 splurge but not exactly something that I would stock the root beer cellar with. But a root beer cellar stocked with any brand would be cool to have now wouldn't it?

-Adam

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Rootbeer Float Cupcakes

I thought all of us root beer enthusiasts could appreciate this recipe. If any of you make it please let us know how it goes.

RootBeer Float Cupcakes


Ingredients:
-1 Cup Rootbeer Soda
-1 Teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
-3/4 Cup Sugar
-1/3 Cup Canola Oil
-1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
-2 Teaspoons Rootbeer Extract
-1 1/3 Cups Flour
-3/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
-1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
-Pinch of Salt

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a dozen cupcake tins with papers.
Combine the soda and vinegar and let stand for a few minutes. Add in the sugar and oil, whisking vigorously until slightly frothy. Integrate your extracts, and gently introduce the flour, along with the baking powder / soda, and salt, being careful not to over mix. Distributing the batter evenly between the prepared tins, fill cupcake liners approximately 3/4 of the way to the top. Bake for about 18 - 22 minutes. Allow them to cool completely before proceeding to the ganache.

Ganache
-5 Oz. Dark Chocolate
-1/4 Cup Soymilk
-1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup

Combine the above in a microwave-safe container and nuke for about a minute. Stir thoroughly even if it doesn’t look completely melted - It should come together after a bit of agitation, but if the chocolate still isn’t entirely smooth, return to the microwave for 15-30 seconds at a time, watching carefully to ensure that it doesn’t burn. Drizzle ganache in squiggles over the tops of the cupcakes. [You’ll probably have plenty of left over ganache, but is that a particularly bad thing?] Allow ganache squiggles to fully cool and dry before preparing the frosting.

Frosting
-1 Cup Vegetable Shortening

-3 Cups Confectioner’s Sugar

-2 Tablespoons Vanilla Soymilk

-2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract


Throw room temperature shortening into your mixer, and beat thoroughly until creamed. Add in sugar and start on a low speed so as not to spray powder everywhere. Incorporate soymilk and extract, and combine thoroughly. Apply to cupcakes as desired.


recipe and photos obtained from BitterSweet

The Root Beer Ranks

Since one of the main goals of The Rootbeer Brothers is to compare the many hundreds and maybe thousands of brands of root beer it is very important for us to have a ranking system. In our earlier posts we identified a standard to compare all other root beer to. Although Jeff and I have differing reasons for doing so, he and I both agreed that A&W Root Beer would serve as the most appropriate standard. Thus, during our future taste tests of other root beer the basis of our judgements will be in comparison to A&W. This leads us to the Rootbeer Brothers ranking system.

The Root Beer Ranks will list each root beer that we evaluate and through our posts we will discuss our impressions, which could include taste, foam, carbonation, after-taste, smell, packaging...etc. From our impression Jeff and I will each provide a ranking which will be established based on a direct comparison between the evaluated root beer and A&W Root Beer. The rankings can range between one half of a frosty mug of root beer to 5 frosty mugs of root beer, in half increments. With this in mind A&W, being the standard, is ranked with 3 frosty mugs of root beer which will allow room for much better root beer and much worse root beer on the ranking scale. We intend to make our first evaluation very soon of a Springfield, Missouri favorite "Sprecher Root Beer Soda" so sit back and pour a smooth one and lets enjoy some root beer.

-Adam

Monday, March 5, 2007

The Standard: A&W Root Beer

Adam is right. Whenever you have to decide if you like one thing over another, there must be something to compare it to - a standard. I see no better choice than to have A&W Root Beer as the Rootbeer Brothers standard.

I feel somewhat differently than Adam on my decision to have it as the standard. As soon as you open a bottle of A&W you know you have a root beer. The spritz of aroma that leaves the bottle smells just like those little root beer barrel candies that you can grab a handfull of at the Claim Jumper. He is also right about the taste. It too tastes strong and crisp of root beer extract. I, however, am not a fan of extreme carbonation. A&W is too rich in the bubbles for me, but that still doesn't block the fact that it tastes good. Perhaps the main reason I feel so strongly why this root beer should be the standard is the fact that almost every American can associate with it. Most have tried one or at least seen one of the A&W drive-thrus that polka-dot the entire United States.

Let us know if you feel we are way off the mark on our standard. Also, please feel free to recommend root beer that you think will surprise the Rootbeer Brothers taste buds.

Bring on the root beer!

--Jeff

Friday, March 2, 2007

The Need for a Standard: A&W Root Beer



As in any situation of comparison there is a need to establish a standard, something for which all others will be compared. In regards to root beer there are some obvious front runners for this position. Hires of course has been around longer than all of them but so it was with regular-leaded gasoline. But just as leaded gasoline was upgraded and improved to a new standard of unleaded so was root beer. Hires certainly will hold a permanent place in the world of root beer but over the years it has certainly been improved upon. Thus we are encouraged to identify a more appropriate standard. This standard should not be the greatest or the worst root beer but rather one that simply sets the line between satisfaction and substandard quality. For me A&W has been the root beer that I have compared all others to. I am not sure how Jeff feels about this but I think it would be a great initial conversation for our blog. So let us discuss by what standard the Rootbeer Brothers will compare all other root beer to.
-Adam