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

Monday, August 29, 2011

Gale's: A far better woman to spend an evening with than that Irene chick!

As one of our brothers was preparing to spend an evening with Irene, I, the smarter and better looking brother, was settling down for an evening with a lovely lady named Gale. Previously held notions of my intelligence were reconfirmed. It seems selection of women can be added to my list of expertise.

Gale's is a wonderful brew with very distinct differences that make it the drink of choice for a long cold evening especially in a storm. Adam would have enjoyed the contrast of Cinnamon and Ginger to the blustery weather he found outside in Philly.


An almost instant aroma tantalized its way out of the bottle and into the air. I could tell that this would be good. I actually longed for a wintry day or even a rain storm so I could light the fire and enjoy sipping this while quietly reading with trusty Fido at my feet.

I enjoyed the blend of cinnamon and ginger as it tasted warm going down yet cool on the tongue. I kept going back and forth between it and the standard "ala Adam" just to get refreshed by the subtly spicy taste of this credit to artisan RootBeers.

The final word:
If you like mulled cider or anything like that ( which I do not neccesarily care for, Gale's is your brew! I would love to have some Gale's again, but I think I will wait to have this one when It is colder outside and I can enjoy it inside. this may become a hayride tradition around the RootBeer family homestead!

I gladly give this one 4 Frosty Mugs. 3 for being at least as good as the standard and the other one is for pure originality and its unique qualities!

-Michael


Thursday, August 25, 2011

AJ Stephans Root Beer. A Full Head of Brew!


I just finished mowing my ditch which I loathe. I was hot and wanted some cool brew in a frost mug for relief. I found it. A cool, unopened bottle of AJ Stephans Root beer begging for a review. I had beside it one of my favorites, A&W with the new Captain America promo can. The only bad thing I can say about this brew is the twist top was on so tight that it took me nearly 30 seconds of twisting my skin off, then tugging on my shirt to the point of ripping. Finally when I was about to get my bottle opener it finally came loose. Man I was thirsty so this brew better be worth the effort. It was!

The aroma was light on the extract. I poured it into my frosty mug and found a seriously heavy head. (See pictures). To top it off the head lasted all the way through the brew and as you can see, it settled into my mug when all gone. The flavor was pleasant and since it’s made with Pure Cane Sugar, as shown on the bottle, I expected a smooth sweetness. Not as sweet at A&W but just right. The color was as normal root beer. The carbonation was light even with the foamy head. Once the foam settled this was a good chuggin’ brew with virtually no burn goin’ down. I would definitely have this brew in my fridge at all times, but since it’s from Boston, and the price goes about $2.50 a bottle online, I won’t be having this on hand unless another freebie came along. If I lived in Boston, it would be a definite!
From what I can tell AJ Stephans is known for their Ginger Beer. I’d like to try that sometime. They even have recipes on their website. AJ Stephans says they are New England’s best Tonic. I believe it so far. This brew rates 4.5 frosty mugs in my opinion. I took points off for the twist cap that ripped the skin off my fingers. If that doesn’t count, I give it 5 frosty mugs. A must try for the root beer lover! ~ Marc

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Better Than the Shore - Jersey's Very Famous: Weber's Drive-In

Located just across the bridge from Philadelphia is a small New Jersey town called Stratford. As far as I can tell there is only one thing going for Jersey overall. I make this assessment based on some recent reality TV. It's NOT the shore, it's the Root Beer!!






On my way to NYC I spotted this rather humble drive-in which displayed a very large sign with my
two favorite words "Root Beer"!! I noted the location, as soon as I could, I made my way back to Jersey. I personally have never been a fan of Jersey, even before the world gained an intimate (too intimate) look into the local shore life. Nope, it was back in 1997 when I received my first speeding ticket while driving on the New Jersey Turnpike. Ever since then I have had a distaste for Jersey.





In some very real way, Jersey has redeemed themselves... Thanks to Weber's Drive-In. It is difficult to say how many of these small town drive-ins are left. These once dotted the country from coast to coast, but eventually drive-ins gave way to drive-throughs and somewhere along the way a piece of America was lost. But every so often we discover folks reviving that lost era and making it all work with a frosty mug of home brewed root beer brought to your car with a smile.

I am happy to report that my discovery of Weber's proved to be just as I had hoped. The young car hops were happy and courteous. They humored me as I asked them lots of questions about the drive-in and the root beer. Their honesty was refreshing when I asked about the cheese steak sandwich listed on the menu, they described it as the best one "this side of the bridge" ( no use even trying to compete with Pat & Geno). I was happy to learn that not only did they sell their brew by the gallon but that they also sold "Black Cows"... simply another way of saying root beer float...... this was certainly the makings of a great drive-in.







So on my approach to Weber's I pulled into one of my favorite brands of gas stations, Wawa, and grabbed a cold bottle of A&W and was thus prepared for my onsite review. My first impression of Weber's Root Beer reminded me of the distinct flavor of yeast brew but without all the unfavorable yeast sediment. This was a huge plus because that my friends is the distinct flavor of root beer nostalgia!! It was a deep flavor with moderate sweetness which I suspected was from cane sugar. Compared to the standard there was more of the very typical root beer extract but as would be expected the foam was very limited and the carbonation was far less. The color of the brew was very dark which is an important consistency with old time brew and more especially home brew. I am certain that this brew would serve as a perfect companion to the cheeseburger listed on the menu. If nothing else you can take a gallon of it back home and drink your worries away.... This brew may not have all the bells and whistles of other brew, but what it does have is nostalgia!! Weber's Drive-In has been serving the people of Jersey for over 50 years and doing so with a solid brew that America was proud of then and should still be proud now!!! I grant Weber's Root Beer of New Jersey 3.5 Frosty Mugs and in the words of the great Bob Hope.... "thanks for the memories"!!

-Adam




Sunday, August 21, 2011

Wild Bill's Rootbeer "Yippie Kay Yay"

Here is a very good root beer.  To look at the bottle is one of my favorites as it has character.  I’m a gun fanatic and to see two simulated bullet holes, made my day!  The first thing I did was went to their website.  They bill themselves as a soda company.  After drinking this brew, they could live on this one brew by itself in my opinion.  I did find that they even go on tour with their brews.  Confidence is good!
Got my mug out, twisted the top to find that little to no pressure release with the top coming off.  I thought that this must not be a very carbonated brew.  Those are my favorite.  To my surprise it had a nice bit of carbonation.  The head quickly dispersed in my mug, which I like.  The aroma was typical.  The flavor was very good and quite reminiscent of our standard A&W.  They advertise on their bottle that they use pure cane sugar.  It’s sweetness was good.  No overbearing flavors.  This brew has a balanced mix of traditional root beer flavor and sugar.  The color is traditional “brown”.  This is a brew I would keep in the fridge but at $25 for a 15 pack is a bit steep.  I will say that as a privately owned brewery and a premium root beer it’s worth the extra. 
I give this brew 4 Frosty Mugs.  Points off for not being unique in flavor but added points for the cool glass bottle and label.

~ Marc

Will You Get Your Kicks With Route 66?

As a DJ I have to give some kudos for their slogan. Get your kicks on Route 66 from Nat King Cole is how it goes but this brew touts “Get Your Kicks With Route 66 Beer”. With that slogan it has to be a great American root beer.
This brew as most of those I have to review were brought to me by Brother Adam. I may find myself having less to review in the future as Brother Adam is moving out west into the vast desert area of Nevada. He better keep more on hand with all that dry heat.
As far as keeping on hand, I would say this brew is a must have. It has a light smell and flavor of extract compared to A&W. It’s a much smoother brew with light head and light carbonation. All positives for me. A good “chuggin’” brew. It’s use of real cane sugar makes this particular brew very sweet. Many like that but many won’t. I prefer a sweet brew. I like the bottle design as well as the labeling. For those of you that want a caffeine free brew, it is. A great late night treat.
Ok, to the rating. On our scale of ½ frosty mug to 5 frosty mugs, I give this brew a 4.5 frosty mugs. I gave a ½ mug off for the “too light” extract flavoring. However, a great brew that I would definitely enjoy having in the fridge.

~Marc

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store: where root beer is always in style

In the small town 0f Lebanon, Tennessee back in 1969 a guy by the name of Dan Evins had a belief that if you provided people a comfortable place to eat and visit along the new interstate highway system that they would stop in... even in a small town. His very first Cracker Barrel was so successful that it didn't take long before he started looking further down that interstate system for additional locations.








One aspect of this "down home" country restaurant that distinguishes it from others is the country atmosphere that you step into when you first arrive. We may joke at times about how people use to sit on their front porch and talk or watch the cars drive bye.... here at Cracker Barrel that is exactly what people do.... today and everyday. They are known for their fine crafted rocking chairs that line the front porch of each location. They encourage people to sit, rock, and relax.... and maybe even play a game of checkers.

When you first walk into the "country store" you literally enter a country store that is fully stocked with old time crafts, food, and much more. If you continue through the store you will eventually find your way to the restaurant that provides a full menu of country style American food, each selection just as delicious as the others.




Now this is the thing that grabbed my attention... they have root beer... on ice..... in an old time ice cooler... just like in the old days!!! They proudly serve Stewart's along with many other old time bottled soda selections. All chilled on ice!!

How cool is it to order chicken and dumplings and a root beer and not have to specify that you would like it in a bottle.... VERY COOL!!!! While you enjoy your root beer the fun keeps on going as there are little games on your table to challenge your family and friends.... my favorite is the little peg game which asserts that it can measure your intelligence based on how many pegs are left on the board when you are done......








The decor is one aspect of this place you don't want to
overlook.... not that you would be able to!!! they have old golf clubs, washing boards, tin signs, and who knows what else all perfectly displayed on the walls and hanging from the rafters throughout the place. In a very strange way it is like your in a barn, at a yard sale, and in and old farm house.... all at once!!!!!

The Country Store is certainly worth talking some time to look around. Although you will find lots of clothes, games, toys, food, and lots more.... I was most interested in the root beer.... yes... they have lots of root beer products.

I discovered root beer candy sticks, root beer flavored jelly beans, brew flavored hard candy, and they are even selling Dad's Root Beer in a variety box with other old time soda pop.







Might I suggest that if you ever find yourself tired and in the mood for down home cooking and a place to relax..... stop in, grab a bottle of Stewart's, rock awhile, and eat a meal even Mom would be proud of....

-Adam

check out Cracker Barrel at http://www.crackerbarrel.com/






Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Hey Natural Brew! Where's that river at?

Natural Brew RootBeer is smooth yet not "creamy or vanillaey". There is not quite a bite but it is an easy drinkin' brew. The color is a little light which allows one to observe that the brew itself is what it claims to be "Natural". One of the best things I like about this brew is that is contains very moderate carbonation., it pours easy with a head that lasts but does not linger and is not too sweet. However, The taste and the feel of Natural Brew both linger on the tongue and is a joy to drink. I really like this brew which gratefully is readily available at the grocery store in my area. I was very pleased with this brew and am glad to be able to give it 3.5 Frosty Mugs. This may seem low, but to quote Anthony of Root Beer Barrel fame: "I think that is the problem with reviewing tons of root beer,the ones that are good, but not amazing don’t really stand out, they are kind of middle of the road". I would and have, picked this one over the standard many times. I hope to continue to do so in the future. I wouldn't change a thing for this fantastic Root Beer.
If Root Beer ran free in the rivers of America, they would probably taste like this. Only a little fishy. Thanks Guys! You make a great Brew!

--Michael

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Ride the Rails with Reading Draft Root Beer

I am often surprised by the great varieties of root beer that I am able to discover when I go in search for new brew. It is far more surprising when I venture out in my daily activities and unintentionally discover a new brew. That is what happened when I took my family to the Strasburg Rail Road Station near Lancaster, Pennsylvania. My son is a huge fan of all things trains, from Thomas to Chuggington and everything in between, we loves them all. So for his birthday we wanted to take him on a vintage train ride and the nearest location was here in Strasburg. The rail line is an old sub-section of the Pennsylvania Railroad and now is home to the very amazing Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.


I had no intentions of discovering another root beer but as we were buying our tickets and snacks for the short rail ride I spotted a cooler full of Reading Draft Root Beer (pronounced like the color RED). The bottle label displayed an old time steam engine which happened to be a mirror image of the steam engine that was pulling our passenger car.

Reading Draft Root Beer is not made by the fine train minded folks at the Strasburg Rail Road Station, but it is made not far from those rails. Just north of Lancaster is the striving city of Reading, Pennsylvania which is known for their own rail road, the Philadelphia & Reading Rail Road (P&R) which continues to operate commercially under the name Conrail. It is no surprise that they placed a steamy (as they call it on Thomas) on the label of this Reading brew. So as we embarked on our short rail trip, from Strasburg, PA to Paradise, PA and back, I and the family enjoyed this unintentional root beer discovery.

I was very impressed with their description of the water as being "Triple Filtered Carbonated Water". I couldn't help but wonder what was wrong with PA water that you have to filter it three times. I was then reminded of the other brew (Olde Heritage) that I discovered in this area and wondered if they may have not filtered theirs..... maybe that was the problem :)

They lightly use cane sugar to sweeten the brew and top it off with very low carbonation which does deliver a very familiar home brew flavor and feel. The brew was very smooth and easy to drink and certainly complimented the vintage train ride that provided my setting for the review. Reading Draft certainly varies from the Standard in many ways, I noted very obvious differences in carbonation and sweetness. This draft brew is the kind of home brew that I like, and so very different than the other local "home brew" my Amish friends are peddling on the roadside. The root beer extract is well bodied and distinct and carried no hint of cow manure...... which is a huge plus!!!!!!

If your path ever crosses the tracks in Starsburg, PA be sure to grab a bottle of Reading Draft and take a ride on the rails!!!! I grant Reading Draft 4 Frosty Mugs

-Adam

check out the Strasburg Rail Road at www.strasburgrailroad.com
check out the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania at www.rrmuseumpa.org
check out Reading Draft Root Beer at www.readingdraft.com

Monday, August 8, 2011

Diet IBC Rotbeer. Yeah, you read that right!

Okay look, the fact that I even drank this is bad enough. Writing about it, I have wasted more time already than I care too. Here is the low down:
My mother in law had it. I took a drink. I couldn't believe that something could taste so poorly. I took another. Now I am a believer. The ingredients list alone should steer you away. It doesn't taste like Rootbeer. They should have just filled the brown bottle with tap water instead of wasting it. If you are at a party and someone offers this to you. Decline. Quickly. Tell them you are fine just swallowing your own spit. It is more refreshing anyway. Sorry I wasted your time. I guess I was just paying it forward like IBC did. I have included a picture as a warning. As free advice to IBC and diabetics everywhere: Stick to the sugar (even if it is HFCS) there is NO WAY This is better for you!
As for the frosty mugs go, I refuse.

--Michael

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Frankie's: A slice of America 8,000 miles away!

It has been my pleasure to spend a good portion of the summer/winter in South Africa. Traveling frequently requires one to make certain adaptations to ones lifestyle. For me one of the biggest adaptations has been to my diet. Fortunately for this Rootbeer brother, there is one thing in South Africa which has eased this transition, “Frankie's Old Style Rootbeer”. The only brew in the entire country and I imagine perhaps, the whole continent. Even the standard is unable to be found this far south! The food in South Africa especially during winter time is not exactly what i am accustomed to. It is not that the food is horrible or anything but it lacks some if the comforts which O enjoy about living in an environment which is influenced by many cultures.

Frankie’s has done a fine job at filling the gaps created by those culinary differences. Even the most "different" meals can be improved by adding a nice cold bottle of Frankie’s.

Another benefit of this tasty and familiar refreshment is that it bridges another gap. The 8000+ mile one between my temporary home in Port Elizabeth and the good 'ole U.S of A! Frankie’s is a local cure for any homesick American and is readily available at nearly all places soda is sold. I am very grateful for the fine work done by “Frankie” and all of his own Rootbeer brothers whoever they may be.

Now on to what you all have been waiting for:The review.
Bottled in plastic, the bottle is reminiscent of one that other brew is sold in at sporting venues. Which is very "green" as in environmentally friendly. Something I have come to appreciate and admire down here. (or up here depending which map you look at) Not much of a head, Frankie’s pours very easily and fizzes out quickly without losing its carbonation. The primary taste is that of the standard with a lot less vanilla and a prominent taste of what appears to be either wintergreen, quialla or a blend of both. Ingredients and nutritional info are not commonplace in this part of the world. However, as many things go, cane sugar rules the day and that nasty HFCS is no where to be found.
Over all, it ain’t half bad. I enjoy drinking it. I am giving it 3.5 frosty mugs. It is a great conversation Rootbeer and is ideal for the homesick American. Aside from that i would probably grab a bottle of the standard or some other cane sugar brew. So if you are ever in this part of the globe, don't hesitate! Grab a Frankie’s or nine, pop a top and enjoy! Oh yeah, and bring some home to your buds! I know I will!

--Michael

check out Frankie's at www.frankiessoftdrinks.co.za

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Adam Rootbeer Interviewed by Voice of America News

I was very excited when Christopher Cruise of Voice of America News (VOA News) contacted me and told me he was doing a feature on the history of root beer. He wanted to know if I would mind being interviewed for his show. Would I MIND!!!!!! I was ecstatic and honored!!!!


The interview lasted about 30 minutes and my contribution to the 15 minute segment sums up to about 1 minute :) but I must say the experience was very awesome! Christopher produced an awesome segment about the history of root beer and talked about many of my favorite points of the grand history of root beer. I would recommend all of our fans to listen to the podcast even if I wasn't on it. But I AM, so I especially RECOMMEND it!!!!!

Here is the link to the news story and podcast and please let us know what you think.

I should inform you that this podcast is intended for people of other countries who are both learning about American culture and learning how to speak English....... In so many ways the Rootbeer Brothers are becoming ambassadors of American Culture!!!!!

-Adam

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Root Beer Saloon to host the Root Beer Festival

Yet another year passes and us Brothers are unable to attend the root beer event of the year!!! We discovered the Root Beer Saloon online back in 2007 and have ever since sought to visit Alto Pass, Illinois to attend the Saloon's annual Root Beer Festival. This year the event is scheduled for August 27th & 28th and is certain to be an amazingly smooth and delicious time!


The Root Beer Saloon is as unique as the varieties of micro-brewed root beer that they proudly serve on tap. This place is filled to the rafters with very unexpected surprises such as a massive variety of mounted game, a life size statue of a root beer drinking Native American Chief, a boutique of herbs spices bath-salts & hot sauce, a menu filled with seafood meat & pasta, there is a 14 foot long python skin that covers the western style bar, a 18 pound stuffed lobster on the wall, and the best part is they serve their tap root beer in frosty mugs. They host many events throughout the year but they point out that everyday is something special at the Saloon!!

If you have the opportunity might we suggest that you saddle up and ride on out to the Root Beer Saloon to wet your whistle..... let em know the "Brothers" sent ya!!!!

-Adam

The Root Beer Saloon is located at: 4 Main St. Alto Pass, Il 62905
or visit them on the web at: http://www.rootbeersaloon.com/