Monday, February 28, 2011

Main Street Root Beer One "giant" of a good brew

When I was a kid I spent a lot of time at my Grandparents house. By time I came around, only four of their eleven kids were still living there but thrift was an important virtue in the ol' homestead and even though Pop loved him some Barq's, most of the time when I came running in from play time, I always found a nice cool refreshing can of the local store brand Root Beer waiting for me. It was the staple. The money saver. It got the job done; enough to satisfy until better days when the Barq's would be flowing freely like milk and honey in the promised land. I would come in, hot sweat and ready to pop the top off a can and chug that bad boy down. the only way to really appreciate it. no real head to savor, no bells no whistles, no fine ingredients (however those were the days of REAL sugar in everything). Man was it sweet. I would catch some heck from Pop telling me to slow down, or take it easy. He would say I would get cramps or make myself sick or something like that but whatever, all I had to do was sneak into the pantry (they still have one) and hide it from him. It would be gone faster than the belch would come up and I would be outside with my buddies making mudpies, peeing in the outhouse (they don't have that anymore) or poking a dead bird with a stick.



I have been thinking about the old guy lately. He turned 88 in December. Him and I are real tight. Among other things, his love for root beer and chips/fries inside a sandwich are some the things he has handed down.

Earlier tonight I tried Main Street Root Beer in the Frosty Boot, (which was given to me by the man himself). I shot a little bit of whipped cream into it for a poor man's float. But as soon as I hit the post key at the bottom of this page, I am gonna get up, grab the other can of Main Street Root Beer I got from Adam and sneak off somewhere and chug one back for old times sake. Because, that is the way it is done. I just hope I don't get caught or wake the kids.

Just like any other store-brew, it gets the job done. 2.5 Frosty Mugs, most of that is sentimental.


-Michael

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Playing Cards with Wild Bill - Wild Bill's Rocky Mountain Root Beer

Adam, an old pal of mine and I sat down at the table with a fella who went by the name of Wild Bill. Neither of us had played his game before but here we were, the three of us. He had come to our place to shoot a game of 12oz stud. He was dealing, but we held the cards. His deck looked great. Fresh and clean in a clear package but it had been used for quite sometime. "Three generations" he told us. It even had the bullet holes to prove it had been around awhile. Bill was a gentleman. He gave the cards to us freely and Adam took the first cut. As the bottle deck was opened, a distinctive yet inviting aroma drifted out. Our blood ran cold but we still wanted to be dealt in. As Bill dealt the cards, they hung in the air for a moment, just long enough to enjoy. The first hand for me was strong, not what I had expected. It was hard to work with. That hand went to Adam who immediately fell in love with Bill's style of dealing. However, after a few more hands and then eventually after a few more games since then, I have come to find Wild Bill to be quite the card shark, who plays fair and even kicks you in the pants from time to time. No nonsense and straight up, Wild Bill is a straight shooter, who packs a punch but leaves you wanting more. Invite him to your party and not only will he bring the drinks, he will also bring the game. 3 Frosty Mugs


-Michael

There is one thing I know about playing cards, that I am not good at it. I got a poker face that would make Lady Gaga blush... I hold my cards only to reveal the entire hand to my neighbor..... I have even been known to unintentionally go all in when I was actually attempting to cash out..... like I said I am not prone to go Viva Las Vegas!!!! So with all this in mind as I approached the table with Wild Bill I had fear in my eyes, lots of fear. Cane Sugar was his poker face and I was taking it hook line and sinker. He dealt the cards and I was like putty in his hand. As my brother has indicated the game was over before it started for me..... the flavor was like a happy melody of dark rich flavor sprinkled with bursts of pure sweetness. I realized quick that this fella was a dark brew... oh I mean Bro, as any card shark would be by nature (full of deep flavor). I admit, Bill took me to the (root beer) saloon and I left a blubbering fool, happy, but well intoxicated. In not so many words, Bill and I became gun slingin' friends, quickly, and irrevocably! 4 Frosty Mugs

-Adam

Special thanks to our friends at Wild Bill's Old Fashioned Soda Pop Co. who sent us a complimentary case of root beer. Thanks Bill!!!! Come back any time, but next time we will use our deck!
check out http://www.wildbillssoda.com

Monday, February 21, 2011

What do you get when you turn an old A&W Drive-In into a Bar-B-Q joint? Roscoe's Root Beer & Ribs

This year marks the 20th anniversary of a very unique root beer stand in Minnesota. When an old A&W drive-in went bust a young couple with an American Dream set out to make history. They ripped the awning off that old drive-in and grabbed many cans of orange paint. Over the years they perfected a bar-b-que sauce that was eventually received very well at a cook-off in Cleveland, took 1st place in fact!! At this point they knew they were on their way to bar-b-que stardom. Back in Rochester, with their bright orange restaurant they continued serving up what they could now claim as the best ribs around and of course they kept the serving up the root beer. In fact they have their own brew, served by the glass or the gallon. I am not sure how that root beer might taste, but from my experience if you make your own brew and stay in business for 20 years, chances are you got a good brew. I must admit, the opportunity to buy a rack of award winning ribs along with a gallon of fresh root beer is a temptation worth the drive to Minnesota to satisfy!


We extend our congratulations for their 20 years of achievement and encourage everyone to check out our new friends at Roscoe's Root Beer & Ribs go to: www.roscoesbbq.com

-Adam

Thursday, February 17, 2011

TUBZ: My two cents

So at first, My esteemed Brother Adam and I set out to take a "tit for tat" approach to TUBZ. We were going to both drink it, which we did together on his way back to Philly one night and then draw straws to decide who was going to take which side of the debate. However, after doings so I think we both pretty much agreed that both of us liked it so much we didn't want to have to take the the "con" side of the debate. So here is my take:

PROS: TUBZ rocks! for quite a few reasons. CONS: TUBZ has them but it has it's reasons which are easily explained.

PROS:

  1. As many store brews go and as Adam has pointed out, cost is great! This one is no exception.
  2. FOAMY! FOAMY! FOAMY! This guy has foam before you even open it.
  3. Taste is pretty good to. It is like a mix between the standard and maybe MUG. pretty good no doubt.
CONS:
  1. Plastic bottle
  2. HFCS
  3. A little over carbonated for my taste but there is all that FOAM so it is a trade off.
All of these cons can be attributed to one fact: It is a store brand. however, for what it is worth, it s for sure my #1 recommendation for your picnic and party needs. If you need to buy a lot of Brew for a lot of people and want them to like it (and you) then head down to Sav-a-Lot and pick up a case or 5.

3 FROSTY MUGS I would be hard pressed to choose between this or the standard!

Friday, February 11, 2011

have you tried a "Frosty Float"?

Which came first, root beer or the root beer float? According to legend in the great city of Philadelphia the float came first. Two years before Charles Hires first sold his root beer the concoction of "Ice Cream Soda" was being sold at many drug store soda fountains. Root beer was eventually identified later as the ideal soda for the summertime favorite but all the same, the float came first. There sure is some amazing root beer history in the city of brotherly love!


So over 125 years later the folks at Wendy's have decided to take the traditional root beer float to the next level. The "Frosty Float" can be made with vanilla a flavored frosty and Barq's root beer. However, that is only one way to have the "Frosty Float" as you may also choose chocolate frosty and any of the other 9 common soft drinks served in the restaurant. Yup, if you want a chocolate Dr. Pepper float then you have come to the right place. However, the traditional vanilla with root beer is the only combination we at RBB officially endorse!

-Adam

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Henry Weinhard

song of note while reviewing: Rhythm of Love by the Plain White T’s

my aside:
now to the nitty gritty of this rootbeer brothers adventure. I have been threaten, and some may call it positive reinforcement, with actually writing a review. but you see there’s a problem with this premise. it requires me drinking the stuff. . . after a lot of talking to myself in the mirror, which is quite normal by the way, i decided on a root beer to review. Henry Weinhard’s root beer.

let it be known i have drank this root beer before. i’d say it was about 8 years ago when i was first introduced to it by none other than adam. i don’t believe his root beer fascination was that belligerent back in those days. at least i never had to blog about it back then. i guess it is true what people say about getting more cranky as we get older. anyways, prior to mr. weinhard’s brew i never really had a root beer i would even consider drinking at gun point.

before i go any deeper into this review, let me introduce my own mini-me, duston. if doctor evil can have one so can i. except mine does not dress like me, look like me, or is even a midget. than why is he a mini-me? because unlike me, he does like root beer but he does not have the full privileges of being a root beer brother (basically he is lucky enough to not to have to write a review). so i have decided to give him the honor of partaking in my root beer adventures here at rootbeer brothers whenever our schedules work out to allow for his anecdotal comment. truth be told i’d figure if i didn’t like a root beer and he drank one too, that would be one less root beer i’d have to drink from the pack :]

review:
now why have i chosen a root beer i have drank before? because it was a positive experience and i’d like to start off on a good note as to reinforce my obligation to this endeavor :]

back to mr. weinhard and the dirty of the matter. the root beer comes in a standard brown glass bottle with a pretty straight-forward paper label. Well it’s a little cluttered to me but if you like a brisk read while drinking, it works.

pop the top and surprisingly there is a nice aroma. my sense of smell is a tad on the week side, so this is of note for me. my way of saying it’s aromatic. taste? simply that i like weinhard. compared to a&w the sweetness is pretty much the same, but it is definitely smoother going down. best part is if you are not careful the “draught style head” of the root beer may erupt from the bottle if you put it down too hard, and don’t pay attention to it, which i have never seen from any other root beer. but than again my experience with root beer is limited compared to my other brothers.

ingredients of note: honey essence, sassafras extract, vanilla extract. ummm . . . according to the labeling, weinhard uses the finest natural and artificial ingredients. really? finest artificial ingredients. that’s bordering on an oxymoron. they should just leave the taste of their root beer speak for itself and not these gimmicky wording on their labels.

4 frosty mugs and mini-me says he likes it too, so is tha like another half frosty mug? though he is not inclined to splurge for this gourmet stuff. it didn't make him feel any snootier than normal.


-ray

Monday, February 7, 2011

TUBZ: Cheap, Foamy, & Good!!!

I have enjoyed many store brand brews. They all have one thing in common.... their CHEAP! No frills, no fancy labels, no logos, and sub standard taste are also common denominators. That is where Tubz: Old Fashioned Root Beer differs from other store brands. Oh yes, it is CHEAP!! I think you can grab a 12 pack for $2. I mean real cheap!! But it has frills, it has a sweet label, and yes it has a logo, in fact a very true to form logo if you ask me.


I picked up my TUBZ at the Save-A-Lot where in fact is the only place you will find TUBZ.... its the store brand. I was actually just wanting some cheap brew, budget was limited but you know..... I had to get my fix. So here is the thing, I paid dirt low prices for cloud nine brew!!!!

Before I bang this drumb too loud I should bring this back to the perspective that this is a "store brand" brew. This means expectations are low... very low. So anything noteworthy is a surprise... something tasty is unheard of. This brew blew my reality!!!!

TUBZ sports a logo of a frosty mug overflowing with sweet white foamy goodness..... you might think this was a pipe dream, a sales pitch, but no, it might as well have been an actual photo. Yes this brew has foam...lots of foam!!! "Drink to the Foam" is a lyric from the Navy's ballad "Anchors Away".... they may have been talking about TUBZ! Now foam is one thing but taste is where the rudder hits the water so to speak. This brew is tasty, very flavorful, similar to that of the standard. It has that very familiar, standard, root beer extract flavor. It is distinct and certain. The brew is heavy on the carbonation which probably speaks to the serious foamy adventure this brew provides. I am a fan of most all root beer, even the store brands, but this is one cheap brew that is worthy of the Cellar.... for emergency preparation bulk storage, but none the less, in the Root Beer Cellar. I grant this foamy tasty store brand 3 Frosty Mugs.

-Adam

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Happy Groundhog Day - Punxsutawney Phil's Favorite Root Beer

My one year in Philly provided me a shot to see the world's most famous prognosticator (weather predictor) who resides in the most famous small town in America. Four-hours west of Philadelphia lies the borough (Pennsylvania way of saying town) of Punxsutawney. It was about a decade after Charles Hires began selling his root beer that the first trek up "Gobblers Knob" occurred. In 1887 the purpose of that long hike up the hillside was for the same purpose as it was today, to obtain a single weather prediction regarding the disposition of Winter... is it staying for 6 more weeks or is Spring upon us. The most amazing, or ridiculous, aspect of this weather report is not the presumptuous nature of a 6-week prediction but rather from the source which it is derived.


Punxsutawney Phil, a groundhog, has one job and he only performs that job on one occasion each year. Each February 2nd he emerges from his stump and takes a glance of his immediate surroundings. Based on this very hasty assessment he speaks (in groundhogease) to the President of his very own fraternal order, The Inner Circle, and reports his weather prediction regarding the next 6-weeks. Ultimately he simply states that he saw or did not see his shadow. This is all that is needed for the Inner Circle to then scribe and pronounce the forecast. Typically as this ritual is being carried out the massive crowd begins to yell for "Spring" or "Winter" depending on which camp they fall. Once the statement is made the report is absolute and all must accept it. This year "Camp Spring" won a very hoped for victory and all quickly departed from the snowy knob. I should state that this was not why I drove 4 hours west of Philadelphia in a severe ice storm. I did not want a weather prediction from Phil, but I did want something, I wanted to know what was his favorite root beer. For this I had to speak to the only member (or person for that matter) of the Inner Circle that can speak groundhogease which is the President, Mr. Bill Deeley.

As things were wrapping up on Gobblers Knob I asked Mr. Deeley if I could ask him a question about Phil. He was delighted to talk to me and was especially interested when he learned that I was representing The Rootbeer Brothers. I told him "we're a group of guys who talk about root beer." I asked him my question and he quickly responded by telling me about his childhood. Now typically this is how conversations I have at work go, but that is in psychological therapy and I was wanting to know about the groundhog. But then I realized he was telling me
about his parents soda bottling works and how he was the delivery guy all the way through his college years. Anita Bottling Works (not like a person's name but with a long "I" sound) was located not far from Punxsutawney in an equally small town called Anita (go figure). They really got off the ground when they landed the "Sun Drop" contract. Back in those days, especially in this area, Sun Drop was the soda of soda. So Bill would drive to all the nearby towns and deliver his parents soda to the local general stores and service stations. His parents originally began with their own line of flavored sodas such as grape, strawberry, orange, etc and of course they had root beer.

Anita Bottling Works has long been gone down that dark and forgotten road most family owned soda manufactures found themselves at the end of the 1960's. With large brands like Coke to compete with the cause was lost before it started. But this story has a twist, at least in regards to our prognosticating friend Phil. He turned the ripe age of 125 this year and has not sipped a root beer for nearly 40 years. You see his favorite root beer was in fact Anita Root Beer, specifically due to its amazing sweetness. Mr. Deeley disclosed that Phil has a bit of a sweet tooth. So in response and even retaliation for the corporate takeover of his beloved Anita Root
Beer he has engaged in a silent protest and refuses to drink any root beer. Phil remains hopeful that with each year and the massive publicity that comes from his weather predictions that one day Anita Root Beer will find its way back to Punxsutawney and Gobblers Knob.

For more photos of my visit in Punxsutawney visit our facebook fanpage at http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Rootbeer-Brothers/248341363696
For more information about Phil, Bill, Groundhog Day, and Punxsutawney go to http://www.groundhog.org/

-Adam