Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Fastest Root Beer: Justin Wilson Sponsored by Dad's

Justin Wilson, the Indy Racing Brew Lover, has renewed his sponsorship from The Dad's Root Beer Company. Announced recently, the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing organization, with which Wilson belongs, was pleased to welcome back their "old fashioned" sponsor who originally sponsored the racing team back in 2008. The spurt of brand placement by Dad's was likely initiated by the 2007 purchase of the brand by Hedinger Brands, LLC. Within that purchase the brands of "Bubble Up", "Dr. Wells", and "Sun Crest" were also included in the deal. Clearly however, the Dad's brand was the flagship of the four. Dad's began in 1937 back in Chicago and through multiple acquisition's over the years has finally landed in Jasper, Indiana where the current headquarters is located for the brand. An Indiana based brew certainly seems directly in line with sponsoring a racing team. So the next time you catch an IndyCar Series race be sure to look for Justin, he should be easy to spot, he has the fastest root beer on the track! check out Justin's Racing Team http://www.dreyerreinboldracing.com

-Adam

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Green Root Beer - Happy St. Patrick's Day

Back in 1997 I was enriched with the wondrous opportunity to enjoy St. Patrick's Day in the windy city. If any city does this holiday right it is Chicago! They go so far as to dye the river green. Yes, the actual river flows green, bright green, for the entire day (probably for weeks after)!! It was there that I watched nearly a perpetual parade of bands, floats, dignitaries, and fraternal orders march down the streets all clad in festive green attire. There has been a special place in my heart for this holiday ever since that day. Until today there has also been a subtle emptiness along with that special place. The one aspect of this holiday that is celebrated throughout the country (and probably much of the world) is Green Beer, of course! As one who only takes part in rooted brew, this has been stumbling block for my St. Patty's Day celebrations. Like I said, until Today!


After making a purchase of A&W and a small bottle of green food coloring I will now drink to the GREEN FOAM!!!! Yes it took many drops, many drops, to get this dark brew to pour green. But GREEN it is and it is the brew of the day! So as we embark in our festive Irish traditions of this holiday might you enjoy a tall frosty mug of Green Root Beer!!!! It's Great to be Irish, even if its but for one day a year!!!!

-Adam

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Maine Root - Free Range Birds & Brew

Back in Ohio there is a farm that solely raises free-range turkeys. We make it a point each year to buy a turkey from this farm for many reasons but mostly so we can feel less guilty as we are glutting ourselves on Thanksgiving. The guys at Maine Root are in many ways attempting to get after those same emotional heart strings. They in fact advertise their root beer as a "Free-Range" product. They have a slew of hysterical videos demonstrating the kind acts of their services including setting free caged root beer. Ummmmmm, well you just have to watch the videos to fully understand. So these guys are in a town I once use to frequent during my childhood days up East, Scarborough. This town is known for very little, very little, it is mostly over shadowed by its neighboring city, Portland. However, Stephen King's mother was born here, so that is at least something.


Things changed forever in this small Maine coastal town when brothers Matt & Mark decided that brewing root beer was cooler than building ovens and computer software. They set out with a very specific goal, to provide us with a morally better option for root beer. Corporate HFCS brew was their nemesis and in so many ways they have won the battle. Organic...... everything. That was their plan and that is their product.
If free-range means feeling less guilty than this is ensured with all the organic and natural ingredients in this brew. So "Free-Range" it is..... this brew will go well with the Turkey this year.... even less guilt!!

So the review..... I am a huge fan of any brewer that decides they want to make root beer more healthy. I love feeling like I can drink more cause "its good for me"....... I am not sure that hashes out perfectly but it is a nice feeling all the same. I mean when Charles Hires first sold his brew it was intended to be "good for you", the guy was a pharmacist!! So a big plus when organic and natural ingredients fill the label. The color is lighter than I had expected but darker than most HFCS brews. The label had some funky looking "root" thing on it, not sure what was up with that but a big save with the "Fair-Trade Certified" logo. You could have a white label with the words "ROOT BEER" across it and I would love it if it also had the fair-trade logo. Anyone willing to go that length for this certification gets a huge credit. Learn more about the "Fair-Trade" concept at http://www.transfairusa.org/

So with a "pop a top" I was tantalized with a very unique aroma.... it might have been the wintergreen.... but what ever it was I was overwhelmingly enticed. The flavor was so smooth, so tasty, so refreshing!!!! The carbonation was light and there was no real bite. But there was something about the swirling flavors that danced on my tongue that completely anesthetized my brain.......... as I was being fully distracted by this creamy journey a thought fought its way out, the fight was a tough one.... but eventually I recognized something important!!! I am a Rootbeer Brother!!!! I was evaluating a brew not some heavy hallucinogenic narcotic.... I had to be objective and something was amiss.... there was something important to note!!! There was something missing from this elusive organic down east root beer, it was that distinct root beer extract flavor! You know what I am talking about, that kick ya in the teeth and all the way down ROOT BEER flavor!! This rooted root beer was a bit weak in that department... I kept drinking, trying to lie to myself, but the fact was clear, the brew was weak. Creamy.... yes! Flavorful...... yes! Eco-friendly...... yes! But weak of that crucial root beer flavor, that distinct, this is why we call it root beer, root beer flavor. So I added up the pluses and Maine Root still stands with much regard. It may be a root beer for the faint of heart or for your local hippy clan, but it is also a root beer I will be honored to serve this November with my dead "Free-Range" bird.
4 Frosty Mugs

to learn more about Maine Root go to: http://www.maineroot.com and to see their videos go to http://www.freerangerootbeer.com/

-Adam

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Dorothy Molter - The Root Beer Lady

Who could have ever imagined that a registered nurse from Chicago would become a legend in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, the largest wilderness preserve east of the Rockies. This wilderness area located near Ely, Minnesota served as Dorothy Molter's home for 56 years during which time she paddled, hiked, fished, and snow shoed in this magnificent outdoor wonderland. Dorothy began visiting the area in 1930 at age 23 but beginning in 1934 she remained for an extended period of time while she cared for Bill Berglund. Bill owned the Isle of Pines Resort. Dorothy continued to visit the Isle of Pines Resort in the following years and when Bill passed away in 1948 she became the owner of the resort. She operated the resort from 1948 until her death in 1986. During her years of running the resort she was visited by as many as 7,000 people a year. To properly greet her guest she would offer them home made root beer. She would make around 12,000 bottles of root beer a year. A museum has been established at the old resort where visitors can still buy frosty bottles of root beer, supposedly created with her original formula. Because of her love of root beer and willingness to share with all who would visit she was deemed the "Root Beer Lady".


To learn about the Dorothy Molter Museum go to: http://www.rootbeerlady.com
or Dorothy Molter's Root Beer Fan Club on facebook http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=118735351223

-Adam

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Boylan

song of note while reviewing:  For the First Time by the Script

my aside:
A couple days ago on my day off work, the weather was absolutely gorgeous here in Texas. Crisp air. Bountiful sunshine. Crystal clear skies.  So what did I decide to do? Go fly a kite? Hard to do without some wind or for that matter a kite. Besides this is the internet age right? There is bound to be some kite simulation. So why go do the real thing.  Of course my other option was to review a new root beer? Sounds easy enough compared to those other options. But nope. 

Instead I went to the grocery store! Yippee! I ran through a whole bunch of samples for lunch. Is it a bad sign when this actually provides me with a healthier meal than my usual fare? The things people are willing to eat when they are free. I believe people are more willing to try something different if you said it was a free sample as opposed to forcing at gunpoint (I know another gunpoint reference and root beer) previous review.

Or is it bad I walked by the soda section without even blinking an eye towards the root beer selection?  
Anyways . . . I eventually went home and planted myself outside for some reading time and catching some rays. A perfect opportunity to have a cold root beer in hand? Yes, if i was adam or mike. After reading for a while, my energy was zapped. The strenuous activities of the afternoon required an apt response in the form of a nap.  zzzzzzzzzzzz

So with such a wonderful day and plenty of opportunities to catch up on a root beer review, I finally decided to write a review . . . a week later.


review:
on to the root beer!  Boylan is the chosen one this time around. It’s actually been sitting in my fridge for a while, like a month or maybe longer.  Let’s not get into this.

For whatever reason since i first saw the name Boylan, I tend to pronounce it like the word bouillon, only in my head of course. So this root beer to me has a Cajun connection, even if it really is somewhere in Jersey. 


Firstly I actually like the bottle quite a bit. Compared to Hanks (see attached image), it’s less pretentious and gaudy. I do like the Hank's bottle too, but with my scant exposure to root beer this may be my favorite bottle. There’s no paper label either. Just a simple painted design on a glass bottle. I like it!


If there is one thing I’ll say for Boylan is it’s not overpowering.  Aroma on opening the bottle is slight. Taste is not strong, but distinct and not blasé. A second or two after drinking, it leaves a slight after taste that reminds me of a weak moxie effect.  Which in my book is not a good thing, but again it’s much milder so it’s not off putting. I’ll drink this way before I drink moxie. 


What is striking about this brand is its counter trend of lacing this with vanilla, like many of the "gourmet" root beers out there. So it's not as smooth and fragrant. But it does follow the trend of using cane sugar. With this taste profile, its definitely a root beer that would be better with a meal as opposed to a stand alone drink. It won’t compete with your meal, but it doesn't have enough to hold your attention on it's own.


ingredients of note: cane sugar, natural yucca extract. yucca?  Isn’t that some desert plant? As if root beer can’t get any weirder. Now I have some desert plant extract coursing through my system.


mini –me was absent for this taste trial. Something about a tummy ache. Yeah right. Maybe he’s more like me than I gave him credit.


3 frosty mugs


-ray

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Most Eco-Friendly Root Beer: SodaStream

The world of root beer is about to change!!! In an effort to address both the environmental impact and the financial aspect of soft drinks SodaStream has answered the call with an "In Home" carbonating system!!! Yes, that is an "In Home" system, the primary focus is reduction of cans and bottles in landfills. This system cures this obvious issue. The fact that one $5 concentrate bottle makes a case and a half of brew makes it less expensive than most brew. Save the world and save your money... a win-win situation.


So what is the deal with this soft drink lovers in home system. The folks at SodaStream claim the following as their purpose:

"The SodaStream system enables consumers to carbonate water and to flavor carbonated beverages at home as an alternative to
purchasing pre-packed bottles or cans."


Certainly a worthy cause, a most worthy cause indeed, but the real question for us is how does it really pan out. The brew is all natural and what we know about all natural brew is either you get it right, or you DONT!!!! Virgil's is a great example of natural brew done right. We at RBB would love to hear from our fans who have experienced SodaStream. We do look forward to trying this little eco brew adventure when the opportunity presents, but that might be awhile. So please let us hear about your experiences. If nothing else the folks at SodaStream get a big Frosty Mug for the out of the box thinking and for their eco minded innovative spirit.

To learn more about SodaStream check out their web site: http://www.sodastreamusa.com/default.aspx

-Adam

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Stein Worthy: Virgil's Special Edition Bavarian Nutmeg

A good friend of mine saw this stein and knew that it needed to find its place at RBB. My friend may not be a big fan of root beer (he loves the other beer) but even he can recognize that a brew worthy of a stein must be a good brew. I must admit, when I first learned that Virgil's had a "special" brew that they placed in a stein, I figured it was a gimmick to sell more of their great brew. I was impressed however, that they had in fact taken so much effort with the stein. I had high hopes that the brew inside warranted such treatment.


The stein alone earned this special "Bavarian Nutmeg" edition of Virgil's some extra points. The stein is simply awesome, hands down this bottle is the only other bottle in the same category as the Hank's Gourmet bottle. The real question was could it stand against Hank's in flavor?

An important note to make is that Virgil's maintains their "all natural" approach with this edition of their root beer. If anyone can pull off all natural great tasting brew it is Virgil's. So I figured I was in for more of the same or hopefully something even better. I has most joyous to learn that this fancy bottle was not an unanswered point of vanity!

The flavor was most delightful, carrying a crisp dynamic taste like the original Virgil's but with that promised extra nudge of nutmeg. Somehow these guys pack so much flavor into their brew yet preserve that very important root beer extract foundation. The added nutmeg was identifiable yet very subtle. This brew was as tasty as the original, similar carbonation, but this very intentional and distinct increased placement of imported nutmeg somehow makes it all better...... thus warranting the "special" bottle. Now some may think that nutmeg is a weird spice to add to a root beer. I again mention that somehow these guys know what they are doing. Trust me it works, it works very well!!!! The higher price may be a turn off but seriously "Quality Costs" and this is all quality! They gained an additional half a mug on this one 4.5 Frosty Mugs
-Adam

check em out on the web http://www.reedsinc.com/virgils/