Saturday, December 31, 2011

2012 - A Rootbeer Look Ahead


As we ring out 2011 all of us Brothers wish to extend our Full Frosty Mug of thanks to our many fans who have made this our best year yet!!  The response we have received this year from all of you has made what we do here as much fun as it tasted like :)  As we look forward to 2012 we are very excited about the many root beer reviews that are ahead of us.  We look forward to bringing you more facebook contests and we are especially excited about the brewery tours we plan to
attend. We have very high aspirations of moving forward with our YouTube channel and bringing some added antics to all the fun here.

On top of all of this the World of root beer is also going to bring some very exciting happenings.  To begin with the comedy short "I Am Root Beer" is set to hit the screen.  This film is something us Brothers and most of our fans will easily relate to..... a guy wants to be nothing more than a bottle of root beer..... This film is sponsored by our friends at Wild Bill's Olde Fashioned Soda Co. and is certain to be a HUGE HIT!!!!!  check out the official movie site www.iamrootbeer.com


Another full flavored surprise coming in 2012 is the All New flavor of gum by the people at Extra Desert Delights who after hosting a popularity vote to decide their next flavor has identified that Root Beer Float WON by a landslide!!!!!  With 662,811 facebook fan votes this new flavor will hit your mugs this Summer!!!!  We wish to thank all who voted :)


The greatest Celebration in 2012 (after the Ball Drop of course) is sure to be the 75th Anniversary of the beloved Dad's Root Beer.  To kick off the party right the folks at Dad's will be issuing this classic draft style brew in very vintage cans.... look for these in a soda aisle near you as these should be hitting the shelves very soon!!!!


2011 has been a tough year, no doubt, but for so many reasons we at RBB are looking forward to 2012 with a very hopeful heart and a full mug of root beer!!!!!!

Happy New Year!!!!!!!!  Bring on some more Root Beer, 2012 Has Arrived!!!!!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Root Beer's Gift to all People - Henry Weinhard's

Long ago when Jeff and I were simply mailing root beer back and forth to each other I came across Henry Weinhard's during a visit to Idaho.  It was winter, bitterly cold, and I was in the very rural town of Rexburg. This tiny dot on the Idaho  map offers very little for those who stumble into the city limits.  Back in 1998 when I was there the relatively little known Rick's College was all there was to offer.  Since those days Rick's has become a thriving university and gained a much more prestigious name.... BYU-Idaho!!!!

When I first spotted this fine crafted brew in the long-neck amber bottles I was surprised to see that is was a Texas root beer.  The "Blitz-Weinhard Gourmet Soda Company" is based in Fort Worth.  Which should not be confused with the makers of the "other beer" by the same name which is based in Oregon.  At some point during prohibition Weinhard made root beer, like many other brewers of that day.  As time continued to unfold the "other beer" makers within the company lost interest in the soda side and the two were split.

So fast forward to 1998 in that tiny Idaho town when I found this brew while checking out the local grocery store.  Yes, even as far back as then I would scour every city I visited looking for new brands of brew.  My first impression of Weinhard's was formed when I hastily popped the top and to my utter amazement the foam nearly flooded my small Mazda pick-up truck cab.  Although this may be a slight stretch, I assure you, the foam was a-plenty, more than I had ever seen , even to this day!!!!  Since that day I have always been very mindful to respect this bottle of brew and open with care :)  After I was able to clean my self and my truck up I was so pleased by the flavor that I almost forgot about the preceding incident.   The flavor was so full bodied, so pleasing, perfectly sweet, and carried a richness of traditional root beer ambiance, I knew then as I know now, this was and remains my favorite root beer!!!  There will always be certain aspects of other brew that I will specifically like more than what is delivered in this tall amber bottle but overall, this is the brew for me.  During my current review I took the time to notice that the carbonation is heavy, so too the sweetness, but there is something in that flavor that cannot be matched by any other.  The label reveals that vanilla, honey, and acacia sassafras extracts/essence are used.  I believe that the acacia sassafras plays a huge role but the additional flavorings are almost as essential to claiming my top spot.  Although I would not classify this as a stout root beer, I would absolutely classify it as a very traditional flavored full bodied root beer.  This brew should be enjoyed straight from the bottle and not combined with dinner or lunch.  This would be a great brew to enjoy while fishing, or sitting by a camp fire, and especially while around the Christmas Tree.  Shoot its root beer, buy enough for everyone, even the kids, make a holiday tradition that all will enjoy!!!

I enthusiastically extend Henry Weinhard's Root Beer 5 Frosty Mugs - my very first review ever to receive this rating and only the second in RBB history!!!!

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and Have a very Prosperous New Year!!!!!
Time to Pop-A-Top of some Henry's!!!!!!

-Adam

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Move Over Egg Nog - Time for Julmust the Christmas Root Beer

In Sweden the holidays are spent in similar activities as here in America.  Lots of decorations, holiday music, lighted pine trees, gifts, family gatherings, and of course focusing on the reason for the season... the birth of Jesus Christ.  Unlike America however, the Swedes pass on the egg nog.  Instead they pop-a-top of their very own version of root beer which they call Julmust.  Although they may not enjoy root beer throughout the year they make up for it by setting it apart as the official beverage of the Holiday Season.

The name Jul-Must is a combination of Swedish words meaning "Christmas-Juice" however NO JUICE here!! Not to worry because there are many other awesome ingredients like hops and malt.... sorta sounds like the "other" beer doesn't it? No Alcohol though so no concerns about unintentional wild holiday parties.

Julmust is not an easy brew to find in Sweden until the holidays roll around.  Think about it, have you ever seen egg nog on Independence Day?  But this stuff outsells Coke during the Christmas season.  In America Julmust is simply not easy to find at any time of the year, holidays included.  But have no fear there is one place you might actually find it, at least during this holiday season!!!  Look no further than your nearest Ikea.... think about it.... yup of course Ikea the Swedish furniture store would celebrate the holidays Swede style!!!

Merry Christmas and have a Julmust Holidays :)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Saranac Root Beer - A Gift From the Adirondacks

In New York there is a state park that is the Grand Daddy of all state parks.  The park boasts 46 mountains with many that peak beyond 4,000 feet elevations, 2,800 lakes and ponds, 30,000 miles of streams, and offers some of the best hiking, camping, and paddling found in the country.  This park is known as Adirondack State Park!!!!  From this pristine outdoorsman paradise flows the water that is used at Matt Brewing Company located in Utica, NY.  Since 1888 the Matt family has been brewing their fine crafted beverages using this wonderful gift from the Adirondacks. They named  it Saranac after a word within the language of the local Native American Iroquois Tribe which means "cluster of stars".
Mike and I first came across Saranac in the Summer of 2010 when we were visiting Palmyra, NY for the annual Hill Cumorah Pageant.  Mike fell in love at first swig ..... or maybe lust.... and ultimately decided to take Saranac to the prom (see Mike's post - click here  Saranac - Updated) I have contemplated my relationship with this Adirondack offspring for sometime now.  After much consideration I have decided to not take this brew to the prom.... but it would certainly make a nice blind date :)

To begin with you will notice the image of the tall frosty mug of Saranac Root Beer on the neck label which includes overflowing foam.... this is 100% accurate!!!!  The reality is they could have taken their time capturing that photo.  This head is very long lasting and thick.  The brew was dark, much darker than the Standard but carried a very similar sweet aroma.  This brew delivered a very subtle bite, not one that will burn your tongue but one that might nibble your lip, just to let you know its there.  The brew is sweet, creamy, and smooth delivering a subtle root beer flavor that would perfectly compliment most meals.  The downside from my perspective is that I am Dark Chocolate kinda guy.  I like milk chocolate, it is certainly creamy and smooth, but when compared to Dark Chocolate it pails in comparison.  This brew has all the makings of a Dark, or Stout, root beer... well all but the full bodied flavor.

Like I said Saranac may not be my prom date but this brew is fun, easy going, and very sweet, exactly what a blind date should be.... certainly better than the standard, worth catching some dinner with but not the girl that would meet your parents :)  I offer 3.5 Frosty Mugs for this fun date!!!

-Adam

Check out Saranac Root Beer and Matt Brewing Company at http://www.saranac.com/page/root-beer

Learn more about Adirondack State Park http://visitadirondacks.com/

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Margo's Bark Root Beer (Root Beer of the Dogs)


Here’s a rootbeer that that has “gone to the dogs”.  Not exactly, it was inspired by a dog called Margo from a shelter.  The brew master made rootbeer for a science project.  That’s where it all started.
The owner named Oscar Youd has a tag line on the bottle that says  “Drink a bite”.  Cute but there was a lot of bark with no bite.  I mean that in a good way.  This brew is one of my favorites to date!  Brother Adam sent me about 6-8 of these to try.  My wife had one and she was hooked!  She drank all but two.  I had to swipe one for my review and she threatened to drink the spare.  I beat her to it.
The story is a good one and the proceeds go to help shelter dogs.  A good cause and in my opinion a great rootbeer.  From their website, here’s what’s in it:
Margo's Bark Root Beer is an all natural cane sugar soda microbrewed using natural spring water. We do not use any preservatives, nor do we use high fructose corn syrup. And we are caffiene free. Our ingredients are as follows: Carbonated Natural Spring Water, Evaporated Cane Juice, Caramel Color, Citric Acid, Molasses, Vanilla, Clove, Cassia, Nutmeg, Wintergreen, and Yucca Extract.
Comparing it to A&W it’s not as sweet and the flavor of vanilla spikes to me.  The flavors were a wonder in my mouth.  A very good blend comparatively.  The color was a nice dark one. 
Finding this brew may be difficult as they only list about 20 locations or chains out west.  I went to the website to see what it costs to buy online.  They utilize PayPal and a 12 pack is listed at $21.  Not bad, right?  There was a surprise, when I hit the estimate shipping costs to my zip code it showed an additional $31.  $52 for a 12 pack.  WOW!  That is steep!  It’s very good but not $52 for 12 good, if you know what I mean.  Would I buy this from a store or at a restaurant?  Most definitely.
The lowdown.  The brew was very good, nice glass bottle with attractive labeling and a nice matching twist-off cap.  The story is an added bonus and since they help sheltered dogs with the sale of this product, they get bonus points.  All-in-all I give it 4.5 frosty mugs.  I deducted ½ mug because I only had 12 ounces to drink.   Good job Margo’s Bark.  Don’t change anything!

~Marc

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Root Beer Basted Turkey - Make Everyone Thankful!!!

Rootbeer Brother's Official Recipe


Root Beer Basted Turkey

Ingredients
  • 1 (10-14 pound) whole turkey - thawed, giblet/neck packet removed
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 4-6 cups of desired brand of root beer (we suggest the RBB Standard A&W)
  • 12 oz of stuffing (prepared as directed by stuffing packaging)


Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Wash the turkey and pat dry with paper towels.
  3. Smear the whole turkey with butter, stuff with stuffing, and place the turkey into a roasting pan.
  4. Pour 2 cups of root beer over the turkey.
  5. Roast the turkey for 20 minutes for every pound of the weight of the turkey.
  6. Baste the turkey every 30 minutes first with 1/4 cup of root beer and then with the turkey drippings. If the breast skin browns too quickly (which will typically happen), cover it with aluminum foil.
  7. Check for doneness by inserting an instant read meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh near the bone. When it registers 180 degrees F remove the turkey from the oven.
  8. Allow to sit in a warm area for 15 minutes before cutting.
  9. Serve with cold root beer and traditional trimmings.




Happy Thanksgiving from The Rootbeer Brothers


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Vampires Love Root Beer almost as much as Blood!!!! Breaking Dawn Releases in Theaters

Tonight as some of us Brothers (okay maybe only me) prepare to enjoy the Midnight Release of "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn pt.1" my mind reflects back on that photo I obtained of Edward Cullen and his bottle of root beer. Not just any root beer mind you, that is a bottle of Stewart's. As the time has flown since my sweetheart and I enjoyed our 10th Wedding Anniversary on the very night of the Midnight Release of "New Moon" and I originally posted our rare photo of the vamp ( original post click here to see it "Edward Cullen Loves Root Beer!" ) I have gained new information about the vampire's love of root beer.


The fact of the matter is blood is thick and not as great tasting as they portray in the movie. In fact all those references of going to the woods to suck blood from deer is mostly a falsehood. No those "vegetarian" and even non-vegetarian vampires all sneak off to vintage Stewart's Root Beer Stands and feel right at home. They may grab a deer or bear along the way.... or a human sure,.... but they wash all that blood down with Stewart's. Now here is the real twist to this crazy aspect of Vampirism. Why Stewart's..... not sure but that is the brand and only brand for Vamps.... I am thinking that secret recipe that Frank Stewart developed back in the 1920's was meant to appeal to a much broader audience than just us humans. So the twist is why Kristen Stewart, as an heir to the Frank Stewart legacy, she has been raised on that yummy root beer her whole life. These vamps are not acting when they lick their chops around Bella (played by Kristen Stewart) nope she smells like Stewart's Root Beer, that stuff is just saturated in her veins!!!! That would be like having a root beer float.... if you know what I mean... two very yummy ingredients all mixed into one!!!!! Yup there is a reason why all vampires are truly attracted to Bella :)

Enjoy the show my root beer loving Twihards!!!! Bring a Stewart's...... that will make any vampires attending very happy!!!!!!

-Adam

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Operation Freedom Foam: Thirsty Marines Need Root Beer

This story is a great reflection of why I love America!!!!! This story was obtained from FoxNews.com at http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/10/08/indiana-soldiers-rootbeer-craving-turns-into-operation-freedom-foam/

Indiana Soldier's Rootbeer Craving Turns Into:
'Operation Freedom Foam'
Dog N Suds drive-in in Lafayette, Ind., is popular for a lot of reasons. Some would say it’s because of their burgers, coney dogs or fries, but the most popular answer would be it's their rootbeer that keeps people coming back, Fox59 reports.

Normally in the fall, the demand for the soda goes up because of a discount the restaurant offers on 2-liter jugs before closing up for the winter. But this year, the demand is a little different and even more.

Jordan Fletcher, a Marine from Lafayette posted an unexpected request on the Dog N Suds facebook page saying: “Anyway I can pay for a few of those and get them sent out to me in Afghanistan? There are still people who haven’t tried this rootbeer and its Blasphemy!”

Within minutes, Fletcher’s comment was flooded with responses.The first person to donate was Mike Sticks Hicks with a donation of $15, sparking the catalyst for others to follow.

"From there it escalated into something we never expected," owner Dan Washington said.

In what became known as "Operation Freedom Foam," the restaurant started taking donations through a secure online site that could manage donations coming in from anywhere.

Shortly after, the root beer money began to grow with Jordan Fletcher himself giving one of the first online donations for $500.


“What that told us was that they needed more root beer than what we were thinking about," Washington said.

Having been used to only selling bottles from the drive-in, he made a call to his distributor to tell him about the special order.

"I explained to him what we were doing and he said, 'I'll tell you what, if you can find a way to get the root beer from Chicago to Lafayette, I will donate the root beer,'" Washington said.

That donation comes to a total of 54 cases of 20 ounce bottles.


"That's 1,296 bottles of root beer. He can share that with a lot of his buddies," Washington said.

Dog N Suds set a fundraising goal of $2,036 to pay Fletcher back for his $500 donation and to account for shipping.


A few days ago that's what happened.

They exceeded their goal and collected $2,474.

"We ban him from making any further donations," Washington said.

But they didn’t ban anyone else from donating.

"We will continue to ship root beer as long as there is money available to cover the cost," Washington said.

"And right now we're over our goal so we'll ship more root beer."



We extend our deepest thanks to the owner and staff of this amazing Dog-n-Suds root beer stand. Thank you for supporting our Troops and especially our brave Marines working hard to protect our freedoms.....Ooh-Rah!!!!!

to learn more about the Lafayette Dog-n-Suds Root Beer Stand and Operation Freedom Foam go to www.ourdognsuds.com

watch the video of the news broadcast:


Monday, October 31, 2011

A&W: The Official Root Beer of Halloween

Although the celebration and superstitions that surround Halloween began long before 1919 when A&W first hit the root beer market in Lodi, California we know one thing for sure, A&W was the first beverage to fully embrace it. Coca-Cola claimed Christmas very early on and so why not grab what was left? A&W tagged along with the root beer guzzling dog named Snoopy and his Peanuts Pals and claimed Halloween. After all many family Halloween traditions often include home made root beer. So over the years they have celebrated this ancient holiday in a variety of ways. Most recently they have introduced each Halloween Season with a new monster can.











Each year it is a suspenseful surprise when the annual can is released. Over the years they have used images from the Munsters (a classic television show), images of spooky scenes, and most recently costumed like monsters. So with all this said we highly recommend that you grab some cans of the festive standard and make this creepy night complete.














HAPPY HALLOWEEN, time to POP-A-TOP!!!!





















Saturday, October 29, 2011

Old Dominion - Living the Root Beer Dream (factory tour and onsite review)

During my brewery tour extravaganza in the greater Philadelphia area I was very much looking forward to my very last stop of the tour. The Old Dominion Brewery is located south of Philly in Dover, Delaware.

I was already a fan of Dominion Root Beer from way back in the late 1990's when a friend of mine brought me a case from his home state of Virginia. Back in those days Dominion was actually brewed in Virginia and used local honey as a way to secure a very distinguished taste. I was very interested to see if this relocated brew had maintained that very distinguished flavor.



I quickly learned that in fact that Virginia Honey was easily maintained because they simply ship that same local honey all the way to Delaware in 5 gallon buckets. I also learned that the move occurred in 2009 soon after Jerry Bailey passed his brewing torch to the current owners. Jerry began way back 1989 when he first started experimenting with home brew kits (of the other beer) and quickly began dreaming about having his own brew pub. That dream became reality and Jerry not only had his own brew pub but he established a renowned brewery.











One tradition that the new owners of Old Dominion maintained was that constant search for a better brew. Their root beer (along with many of their other beers) have gone through a host of changes and improvements over the years. The current recipe of their root beer is believed to be their best yet. Two ingredients have remained the same however, that Virginia honey and pure cane sugar. They still refuse to use HFCS.







During my tour of the brewery I personally witnessed how all their root beer magic happens. It begins in this very large mixing vat where the honey and sugar are mixed with water. From here the mix is sent to even larger vats where the brew master carefully regulates the chemical soundness of the formula.













It was certainly an awesome experience to watch the brew master at work. I wished Mike could have been with me, he would have had really good questions to ask. Me, well I just stood and stared with amazement in my eyes....








Once the mix has reached its optimal goodness it is passed down the line where the root beer extract and carbonation is added. From there it is forced into long neck amber bottles and into Cornelius kegs. While watching this amazing fast process I was told that at this brewery, despite them having so many "other beer" varieties, root beer reigns king. They bottle/keg more root beer than any of their other selections!





































Having thoroughly enjoyed my tour it was then time to truly investigate the issue at hand. I grabbed a cold standard from my car and they provided me a six-pack straight off the line and the root beer review began.

My first impression was the divine sweetness Dominion carried. The honey was subtle, and the cane sugar strong, together providing a perfected delectable introduction to this dreamy root beer. I was surprised by the subtle bite that grabbed me and softly landed me into a bed of tantalizing root beer extract. The flavor was distinct, indeed distinct, and slightly different than what I had remembered. Not bad or good different, just different. The color was similar to the standard and provided a moderate head. If a solid sweet brew is what your after, take a trip to the Mid-Atlantic states and ask for Dominion by name!!! I offer 4 Frosty Mugs to this root beer dream....

I also extend my deepest thanks to all of the staff at Old Dominion who were extremely welcoming of this displaced Rootbeer Brother..... they made me feel like I was right at home :)

p.s. I am also grateful for the opportunity they gave me in being able to take part in their tasting panel for their current effort to improve their ginger ale. That was so cool!!!!! I am not a huge fan of ginger ale.... but hey it was still awesome to be a part of that.... BIG THANK YOU for that!!!!

-Adam

check out Old Dominion Brewery at http://www.olddominion.com/

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Oogave Review (Ooooo No More Please!)

My wife was complaining tonight that there’s too much rootbeer in the fridge and that I needed to get a review done or else!  Did you all notice?  I have a new mug.  It was also an anniversary present from my wife.  It is football season and yes I’m a Steelers fan that lives in Ohio.  Most Ohioans are Steelers fans anyway, right?.  Anyway, I have so much root beer to choose from and I saw this interesting looking bottle called oogave.  I remember that our younger brother Joe just recently did a review on it.  He gave it a pretty harsh review so I had to see what I thought about it.
I’d have to say he nailed it!

In my opinion, there was just a hint of root beer extract with what I call a Nutra-Sweet like sweetener that left an aftertaste.  Compared to the A&W sitting beside it, there is no comparison on the flavor or sweetness.  Kudos to the brewer for making it “good or you”.  98 Calories, no sodium, no cholesterol, no fat and no protein.  All that means to me is “No taste”.  Now if you’re into a healthier drink and want a root beer that tastes like “less than root beer”, OOGAVE is the drink for you.  The color was good but on the light side of the usual brown.  The bottle was a plus and simple design was nice.  All in all the drink went down with no problem but I don’t think you’ll find this brew in fridge if you visit.
I give it a 1.5 Frosty Mugs.  Points added for the bottle and the fact that it was beside a Steelers mug that allowed me to drink the brew even when I didn’t really want to.  Sorry “oogave”, keep the product in a health food store.

~Marc

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A-Treat Root Beer - Not Racist just Pennsylvania Dutch

I love root beer.... that goes without saying.... but I love root beer with a history even more! One day during my internship I came across a root beer in the break room fridge that I had never seen. The bottle was plain, generic looking, and was simply labeled "A-Treat". Surely this is a store brand I thought, but then my Brother Mike researched the brew and found something much more than an ordinary store brand. A-Treat had a very interesting past and was in fact NOT a store brand.


Back in 1918 in the striving city of Allentown, PA a father and his two sons began a beverage manufacturing company behind their house. The name "A-Treat" is short for Allentown Treat which would certainly be alot to place on a label. The Egizio family eventually grew out of the back yard and relocated in 1932 not far from their home on the eastside of Allentown. To this day A-Treat is still produced in that same location that they established back in 1932.

A-Treat was a huge hit in Pennsylvania Dutch Country and in the 1990's they decided to cross state lines and expand their market into New York. This proved to be a disaster. The previously established beverage companies in New York ignited a massive controversy when they accused A-Treat as being owned by the Arian racist group known as the Klu Klux Klan (KKK). They even went so far as to claim that A-Treat had additives that would sterilize African-American males. The FDA debunked these wild claims but the damage had been done, A-Treat was a tainted name and they retreated back to Pennsylvania Dutch Country.

It took me awhile to actually find a location to purchase A-Treat. I was surprised to find that it was priced similar to the store brands but the taste, I was happy to learn, easily exceeded the store brands. I first found it in cans in a small grocery chain. Later I of course found the newly labeled bottles at Capt Wiso's Crab Shack.

The head was very light and short lived. The color is slightly darker than the standard and carries a distinct aroma. This brew delivered a nicely sweetened bite, possessing a Barq's like flavor with minimal if any creaminess. A-Treat maintained a solid root beer flavor and is easily distinguishable from the standard. You really know it when you drink it, it carries this good bite with a welcoming root beer flavor to back it up. On the can there is a hex sign similar to the Amish Dutch signs I have seen in Lancaster but the over flowing frosty foamy mug of root beer is a stretch. Somewhat deceiving since the foam was so light and short lived. I do agree with my Brother Mark this Allentown Treat really is a nice TREAT. I would leave it in the can rather than poor it in the mug (or boot mug if your Mike) but all the same a good Pennsylvania brew …… and for the record, the root beer really doesn't seem racist to me either...... I offer this treat 3 Frosty Mugs.

-Adam

check out the A-Treat Bottling Company, they do online mail order www.a-treat.com

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Root Beer Floats are Twice as Good at the Twins Days Festival

For the last three Summers I have found myself taking the very long drive to north-eastern Ohio where every year the largest gathering of Twins occurs. This small town of 17,000 people, appropriately named "Twinsburg", is literally invaded and ultimately overrun by around 2000 sets of Twins each year. I had never heard of this annual gathering until the birth of my twins back in 2008. My wonderful wife , who had wanted twins ever since we were married, enlightened me to the Twins Festival the Summer after our Twins birth. From our first visit I realized that our trek to Twinsburg would be an annual tradition.


This year our annual trek just happened to land on another very special occasion..... at least special for a Rootbeer Brother. It was August 6th also known as National Root Beer Float Day!!!! So as we made our way through the festivities I was very ecstatic to discover a food vendor soliciting Root Beer Floats. I had to grab 3, one for me and one for my Twins...





As I began to order I quickly recognized a root beer brand that I had not seen since childhood.... it was Ramblin' Root Beer!!! Now the fact of the matter is that Ramblin' disappeared from Coca-Cola's list of brands when they acquired the far more well known "Barq's" brand. This all happened around 1995. So I asked the guy what was up with the Ramblin' Root Beer and he just laughed. He explained that Coke wouldn't give him a new sticker for his fountain when they switched to Barq's and so he never changed it.

All the same me and my Twins, along with many other Twins, enjoyed some very cold and creamy root beer floats on National Root Beer Float Day in a small town in north-eastern Ohio. And in a very strange way these floats seemed to taste Twice as Good!!!

-Adam

to learn more about the Twins Days Festival go to www.twinsdays.org








Thursday, September 29, 2011

Yards Brewing Company - The Beloved Root Beer in the City of Brotherly Love

Located on the water front in the City of Brotherly Love a small craft brewery is making some VERY BIG BREW!! On my last few days of my internship in Philadelphia a local friend (thanks again Brian) gave me a grand tour of this very historical city. No tour in Philly is complete without some stops in the local breweries. As you can imagine the brewer we chose was known for much more than their "other beer". The more I asked around about local root beer makers, the more often I heard the name Yards!







Unlike many other brewers in the area that offer a full menu and restaurant, Yards Brewing Company takes a much different approach to opening up their brewery. A visit to their "Tasting Room" will focus all of your attention in exactly the right place, their BREW! During our visit to the Yards Tasting Room I learned that they have integrated the local Philly history into their craft by developing some "other beer" that is fashioned after original recipes from our founding fathers. They call the line-up "Ales of the Revolution" Very Cool!!!!




We eventually got to the subject at hand, Yards Root Beer. The Tasting Room staff were so delighted to talk about the root beer. I was very surprised in fact to notice that they actually had more to say about the root beer than the Revolution Ales! They explained that Tom Kehoe, co-founder of Yards, is also a huge fan of root beer. He apparently has taken much pride in developing their current recipe and is very proud of their outcome. The tough reality, as the staff explained, is that people who are interested in Philly craft brewers tend not to be as interested in the rooted beers. So Yards currently only offers their root beer on tap in the Tasting Room and in a couple of the local sandwich shops. Bottling their root beer may come in the future, but for now a visit to Philly is the only way to get it.







I was very excited to finally enjoy Philly's beloved root beer from Yards Brew Co. The environment of the Tasting Room put me in mind of being in a friends garage, hanging out, and spinning some "yards" :) The Tasting Room was a perfect setting, in others words, for Brian and I to sit back, talk shop, and enjoy some fine crafted root beer. The staff asked "ice or no ice"..... I just thought to myself.... "silly staff, ice belongs in soda, not root beer" but instead I simply replied "no ice please". My first impression came from the 16oz very uniquely shaped glass bearing the brewery name which held this very dark brew. The aroma was sweet, inviting, carrying a deep root beer extract smell with a hint of wintergreen. Carbonation was very subtle but perfectly mixed with the subtle sweetness the brew delivered. The wintergreen, or maybe it was anise, presented more apparently as the flavors all settled on my tongue. Ultimately Yards Root Beer carried a very similar flavor of typical home brews but with a just noticeable difference of deeper flavor, this deeper flavor is solid,a brew for Real Men, the flavor is what I would call a stout, not a heavy stout like Moxie, but a stout none the less. I think most people would agree that Yards carries a much more appealing flavor than Moxie as well..... I grant Yards Root Beer -a real mans brew- 4 Frosty Mugs.

-Adam

check out Yards Brewing Company at www.yardsbrewing.com

Monday, September 26, 2011

Crabs & Root Beer with Captain Wiso

When I first moved to Philly I quickly realized that my internship stipend would not allow for housing in Philly and so I found myself living south of the border, so to speak. I actually lived in Maryland on the Chesapeake Bay and the first lesson I learned was what all the fuss was regarding the haled "Maryland Blue Crab"..... fact in point..... so YUMMY!!!! But what I also learned is that the best place to score some of these yummy hard shell blue crabs was NOT in Maryland!!!! The best place to grab a bag of steamed & perfectly seasoned crabs was actually in Maryland's smallest neighbor, Delaware!!!


I discovered a small crab shack in a very small city on the other bay. In Delaware City, Delaware on the Delaware Bay you will easily find the very unique location of Captain Wiso. At Wiso's Crabs you will be invited to grab a bag of many varieties of steamed to order seafood, but most importantly, bags of Maryland Blue Crabs. What does this have to do with root beer? Glad you asked.....


You see the reality is that Wiso's is not known for their root beer. The reason is simple, they don't make root beer!!! They are a crab shack..... they steam fresh crab and seafood..... what do you expect? I mean the place looks very strange as you drive up to the small shack, lots of silly decorations line the drive-way... but no signs of root beer anywhere????

From my perspective, the best food tends to come from some of the strangest... even shadiest..... looking places. I love tacos from roadside trucks, BBQ from permanent outdoor grills, and even burgers from a wagon (check out www.hamburgerwagon.com).... so a crab shack covered in Christmas decorations (in August), toilet seats, gas pumps, and rusty antiques held much promise for me.







As I entered this very promising crab shack one thing grabbed my attention even more than the very inviting aroma of freshly seasoned steaming seafood, it was the cooler full of root beer. Sure they have other soda in there but it was the A&W and A-Treat root beer that quickly caused my experience at Wiso's to border on a Nirvana experience (not the band, the transcendent experience of life without suffering)!!!! A world where freshly steamed crabs and root beer co-exist..... now that is a world I want to live in!!!! Welcome to the world of Captain Wiso!!!

The Captain probably did not realize at the time that he chose to stock his cooler with 2 brands of brew that he was creating a better world, but he did! The reality is that this Captain has probably not fully realized his obvious kind nature that pours out of him each day. Another example of this good nature is his support of Smile Train, a very important charity that truly blesses the lives of the most vulnerable children in the world. Wiso's sells ice-pops of which all proceeds are donated directly to this cause. The Captain is also committed to the equal treatment of those in poverty within his community. He proudly established a system in which those receiving social services can use their EBT card to purchase his yummy crabs and seafood. I have a wonderful feeling that there is a very diverse group of people that visit the shack.

For these reasons and many more I am happy to extend my full recommendation of Wiso's Crabs!! Grab you a bag and a can/bottle of brew and head to the nearby park where you can enjoy these scrumptious crabs and wash em down with some great brew.

In the future it is my hope that the Captain expands his list of available brew, he is certainly off to a great start..... the crabs..... no changes needed there!!!!

-Adam

to learn more about Wiso's Crabs go to http://wisoscrabs.com/wordpress/

to learn more about Smile Train go to http://www.smiletrain.org/



Sunday, September 18, 2011

Durango’s Zuberfizz Rootbeer


The name itself is fun to say.  The label is very cool with fun colors.  I think one of my favorite lables, easy to read and they stayed with the same font on most of the bottle.  Durango even kept the font on the nice black bottle cap.  Enough about the outside, how about the inside.
At first opening the bottle it had a good spew and light root beer aroma.  As I poured there was a nice rise in the head and I figured this would be a very carbonated brew.  To my surprise, it wasn’t.  Actually I barely noticed the carbonation at all.  A very smooth brew with a nice blend of cane sugar and root beer extract.  Not as strong as the “standard” A&W and not as flavorful either.  That’s not a bad thing.  The blend made it, in my opinion, very good.  Also a good “chuggable” brew. 
Durango’s website really lets you know that they use the cane sugar and it does reflect in the taste.  Here’s an excerpt from their website: The most important ingredient used in our sodas is pure cane sugar. Large companies have abandoned pure cane sugar to cut costs by using high-fructose corn syrup. It has been shown that this new widely-used ingredient is difficult to metabolize and is the leading cause of obesity and diabetes among Americans. Pure cane sugar also tastes much better.
I agree!  Cane sugar is better and has a better flavor in any soda.  The color was a bit darker than A&W.  All in all this is a very good root beer.  The cost is a bit pricey, 15 bottle for $36 shipped.  If you’re in Colorado or Las Vegas, get some.  You won’t be disappointed.  Good Job Durango!
My rating is set a 4 frosty mugs.  Points added for smoothness and a cool bottle!

~ Marc

Monday, September 12, 2011

Victory Root Beer: claiming Victory all day long

After spending nearly one-year in Philadelphia my internship began to slow down which finally allowed me to engage in some activities that I simply did not have the time to do earlier in the year. One of these such activities was visiting the local root beer brewers, one of which was located, seriously, less than 5 miles from where I worked!!!!!


Located in Downingtown, PA a modest suburb of Philly, Victory Brewing Co. has been bottling micro-crafted beverages (the other beer) since 1996 when two beer loving friends came together to indulge in their shared love. The fact of the matter is that Ron Barchet and Bill Covaleski had been fine tuning their brew crafting skills as far back as the mid 80's and so when Victory opened their doors the sky was the limit. They chose this small suburb for two reasons, according to Bryan Audet the restaurant manager, the Brandywine River and the availability of an old Pepperidge Farm factory. They in fact use the water from the river for an added distinct flavor and have renovated the old factory into a full functioning brewery. Bryan assured me that they filter the water extensively but leave in all the good stuff. Victory has claimed some very significant crafted (other) beer awards over the years but he explained that at this point they have refocused on expanding their market share.

It is unclear when Victory began
brewing root beer but most recently they began bottling it in 12-ounce amber long-necks and the local response has been overwhelming. Bryan explained that they often run out of their drafted root beer at the restaurant and now the bottles even run scarce. I was fortunate in being able to grab a six-pack during my visit to the restaurant which is located on site at the brewery. I grabbed enough to pass to the other Brothers. I must admit however, that my arrival to the brewery caused some alarm. The parking lot is just as it was back in the Pepperidge days, it is set up like a factory. In other words, no parking near the door. I first thought maybe I was at the wrong place and that this was employee parking for the brewery. The reality is that it probably is employee parking along with customer parking. So my short walk from the parking lot led me to the entrance of a place that DID NOT look like the inside of a factory!! This restaurant was very impressive, modern, clean, nicely decorated, and not even a hint of an old factory. The wait staff seemed suspicious when I asked to see someone who could talk about the root beer. I tried to explain but it really is not easy to explain what or even why we Brothers do what we do. Hesitantly she ushered Bryan to my table. He was more than willing to tell me all that he could about Victory and the brewery, a real delightful conversation, indeed!

What I was first impressed with was the slogan I found on the six-pack packaging which read, "our root beer is our way to claim Victory at any time of day"!! Now that simply melted my heart!!! The next thing I noted was the fact that this was no "screw off top" nope I indeed (or actually the waitstaff) had to "pop the top". That was very cool!!! The brew had a very pleasant presentation, light and crisp, lots of vanilla and distinct yucca flavor. It may have been the yucca that caused a moderate bite, not a Barq's Bite but one that will be easily noticed. The flavor was distinct but not over bearing and carbonation moderate, a perfect brew to compliment my pizza that they served. In fact I should admit, the root beer was actually much better than the pizza.... please consider however that I have spent a year of eating pizza from downtown Philly where pizza has been perfected for generations!!! I am certainly one to enjoy a good brew with my food... any food... and Victory would be a good choice for that. As a stand alone brew I would say that Victory may not be so sure.... but you gotta eat sometime and you should follow it down with brew that won't make you forget what your eating. I extend 3.5 Frosty Mugs to Victory and a huge thanks to Bryan and the courteous waitstaff.

-Adam

check out Victory Brewing Co. at http://victorybeer.com/

Monday, September 5, 2011

Oogave

I like the story behind Oogave. The brand was started by a small restaurant owner in Denver who was frustrated with the lack of all-natural, organic, non-HFCS sodas on the market. So he did an admirable thing and started making his own, sweetened with agave nectar, of course.

This year Oogave won a Silver Bev Star Award from Beverage World Magazine, which seems like no petty achievement. And while I don't really know what the criteria is for such an award, I guess I hope it isn't based on their rootbeer. Oogave has a large stable of delicious-sounding beverages (Strawberry Rhubarb, Watermelon Cream, Grapefruit) that I would like to sample. However, I can't recommend the rootbeer.

Basically, I found it flavorless. Not unpleasant, mind you. And for the sensitive tastebud, it may be just what the doctor ordered. But I like a little more oomph. I want a rootbeer to declaim to me like a street preacher. Maybe later I'll decide that I'm not buying what he's selling but, for a minute at least, he has me with his mettle. His bravado.

Oogave rootbeer was an unremarkable layover on my way to rootbeer nirvana. (I had a Hank's afterwards.) It was watery, even vaguely acerbic. But again, not mean-spirited. It boasts a bland, comfortable sweetness and sasparilla-ish familiarity that people who could probably care less about rootbeer might find enjoyable. It's like rock candy, which everyone agrees is technically candy but no one really takes seriously. I wonder if anyone makes an agave rock candy . . .

In other news, the bottle is handsome and the "oo" in "oogave" looks like cute bug-eyed creature with a mane of agave-hair.

I give it 2 FROSTY MUGS.

- Joe

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Wild Bill's Rocky Mountain Root Beer

song of note while reviewing: the House that Built Me by Miranda Lambert

my aside:

If u haven't figured out by now, I'm the slacker of the brothers. In fact u might say, who the heck is this guy. I haven't seen any of is reviews. B-I-N-G-O. Actually let me go check on when my last full review was. . . . . April 30. . .of 2011. That’s actually not too bad in my opinion. I did co-write a site review on the Franklin Fountain, but some of you might not count that for some reason, ahem Adam.

On that trip to Philly though, Adam was very gracious as to send a bottle of root beer home with me to Texas.  Since I flew and TSA no longer allows liquids of any substantial amount (100ml) as carry-on, Adam had the bright idea of wrapping a bottle of Wild Bill and stowing it in my luggage. But did he use, bubble wrap? Nope. Packing styrofoam in a small box? Nope. He decided to tear a few styrofoam cups into pieces and wrap every thing in a gallon zip lock bag. Be very worried if he ever decides to brew some root beer. Amazingly though it did work! My luggage came back dry.

Being from Texas, by way of several other continents, I definitely was compelled to put on my working boots and kick back while tasting this brew. Shoot I even put on some good ole country music to do this Wild Bill review some justice.



review:

In honor of Adams efforts I present to the general viewing public. . . . um 2 months later, Wild Bill’s Rocky Mountain Root Beer.

First off, I like the name. It just presents a visual instantly. What can compete with an iconic western cowboy astride on his stead? In the form of root beer, not much for me. From the jagged edges of the label with bullet holes to boot (which for me alludes to a "wanted" poster). To the silouette of the before mentioned cowboy. There's even a play on that iconic image. Instead of a revolver in the cowboy's hand there is a mug of root beer, presumably. Not much of a gun slinger this Wild Bill, but it is a winning presentation for the root beer slinger.

My only small critique would be the actual bottle. It's clear glass. Maybe I've been spoiled with the last few root beers being in brown bottles. I can understand with the color palette they have chosen for the label that a brown bottle may be too much, but I'm a little bias with the classic feel. Maybe a frosted glass bottle would be a good compromise

Onto the taste, and honestly I enjoyed it. It definitely has more of a punch to the taste buds than A&W, but I did not find it to be too sweet. Must be that pure cane sugar as advertised on their label. Straight from the bottle there was not much carbonation or foam. It is definitely a step better than our root beer standard. Wild Bill is a smooth drink with more body than A&W. My discernible taste said it was worth another bottle. Unfortunately due to Adam's stinginest, one bottle was all I was afforded for my trek back from the east coast. So I had to deal with a perturbed mini-me on my return. Wisely I witheld this information until after I was picked up from the airport :]

3.5 frosty mugs