Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Root Beer: Devil's Canyon

Ray and Adam decided to visit San Fransisco together on one of the last weekends that Adam would be in Northern Nevada.  Amongst their plans they camped in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, walked (both ways) across the Golden Gate Bridge, ate crab (2 times), had crab chowder in a sour dough bowl, ate lots of food from the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, ate in China Town, ran down the most crooked street in the world (Lombard), and visited Bonita Point Lighthouse.  Although Ray contested that there was no time for root beer (you know Ray), Adam insisted that they drive 30 minutes to Belmont, CA to attend the monthly Friday Beer Night held the last Friday of each month at Devil's Canyon Brewery.  On this particular night the brewery was hosting a Halloween Costume Contest which made their visit that much more entertaining.  As you can imagine Devil's Canyon is mostly known for their "other" beer selections but recent rumors in the world of root beer has identified this as being one of the most uniquely sweetened brew in the world.
  
The following are the reviews conducted during their visit on October 26, 2012 :

 



On such a festive weekend of Halloween one can not help but get caught up in all the gore and spookiness of Halloween.  What better time is there to review a Devilish brew like Devil's Canyon?  Although A&W has always celebrated Halloween and claimed it as their own, this brew may be in a tight second place.  The brew tap handle alone speaks Halloween; an evil looking devil's tail is very fitting for such festivities.  While taking photos of the tap handle the bar keep asked what I was doing, I explained who we were and that we were conducting a review for our blog.  She was very excited and offered us Free Root Beer...... as I always say, the best tasting root beer is Free Root Beer :)

She went on to explain the unique sweetened nature of this brew.  They use three natural sweeteners which include cane sugar, California honey, and agave nectar.  I am familiar with Agave Nectar due to a friend in Philly who was a super healthy eater, this is what he would smother his whole grain waffles with in the morning.  At first I couldn't decided if it was the whole grain or the cactus juice (my nickname for agave nectar) that tasted so bad.  In time the whole grain and the nectar grew on me, after a year I actually began to like them both.  The one thing about cactus juice, it has a very distinct flavor that if unprepared may hit it you in the face, HARD!!!!  Sorta like Stevia does the first time you taste it.  You expect yummy sugar and instead get an earthy alternative.  As I mentioned, I have developed an appreciation for cactus juice and so I was well prepared and was very delighted to return to those memories of all natural whole food waffles and nectar.  The root beer held very minimal carbonation and nearly no foam, it was moderately dark in color, and delicately flavored.  The delicate flavor should not be confused with watered down, because this brew is flavored very well.... but in a very subtle way.  It carried a distinct natural root beer extract body with a mild sweetness that ruminates with the unique flavor of the agave nectar and finishes with only a minor after taste.  I drank my entire first glass before Ray took his first sip.... I liked this unique devil's brew.... in fact I envisioned that it would actually be more suited to be called "Angel's Brew" due to the delicate flavor and sweetness it presents.  This was well worth the drive and I was glad we came...... 3.5 Frosty Mugs     
-Adam

Yes I contested, why leave San Francisco for root beer?  We arrive, walk through an industrial park, and far in the back we find a brewery.  This should be good.  I expected more from my first root beer brewery tour, more pizazz, a little something, it's just not there.  It is just root beer after all. 

First impression, flat. Too flat.  Dull, lacked anything I would expect from a micro brew.  More carbonation might have helped but without it I experienced great difficulty finishing my first (only) glass.  Never did finish it in fact, kept it for a day, poured it out at the camp ground.  Speaking of the glass that I now have to pack for the plane and take all the way to Texas, wondering Why?  This was not worth the drive, no surprise.  Devil's Canyon was like other micro brewers of the "other" beer I have visited.  Small following of locals, small operation, lots of heart.  The one saving grace for this Devil, the intense fire jet heater that brought me much more satisfaction than the root beer.  Now that this is over its Back to the Bay :] 
2 Frosty Mugs 
-ray

We wish to extend our thanks to the bar keep who welcomed us so warmly (as the devil usually does) and for the very fun on site review.

to learn more about Devil's Canyon Root Beer go to:
http://www.devilscanyonbrewery.com/about/devils-canyon-brand-root-beer/

Friday, October 19, 2012

Australian Root Beer: Bundaberg

If you ever find yourself on "walk-about" or in "the bush" you may be in for a real treat.  Bundaberg Root Beer promises an "authentic taste of yesteryear" and they easily deliver on that promise.  Maybe "down-under" a person's word is still their bond?

I have enjoyed this imported brew for many years and recently noticed that they had changed their bottles.  Once a large-mouth long-necked bottle Bundaberg is now served in quaint 12.7 oz stubby bottles with a pull-top cap.  This is the only pull-top capped root beer I have ever seen and so that alone was a very awesome characteristic.   The fact that it tastes unbelievably good takes this brew to even greater heights!!!



As I enjoyed the sassafras real sugary goodness of this stout root beer I could not wrap my mind around the fact that it is an import!!!  How was something so true to genuine vintage root beer made in the land of kangaroos????  The fact of the matter is they must have known that if the Aussies were going to like it would have to be good, Very Good!!   Using the old time approach with flavorings like molasses and licorice with just a dash of vanilla they achieved root beer greatness!!  So do I like this root beer.... lets just say I now have yet another reason to visit Australia!!! (as if I need another)

This is an  import that I gladly call a Root Beer...... yes we American's may have invented it but it appears those Australian's have duplicated our efforts and found the perfect recipe to extend their unique approach to our beloved soft drink.  I should note that some of our fans may turn their nose up to Bundagerg Root Beer, the same fans that "Got No Moxie" (that don't like Moxie)... these are stouts brews.... they have a certain earthy taste to them...... bitter-sweet....... full flavored...... these are not drinks you have a dinner party.... these are brews you slam after working a 10 hour shift at the lumber yard..... hard work kind of root beer.... if this doesn't sound like your kind of life.... you may want to stay away from the stout root beer..... but if hard work is something you do with your back..... may we introduce you to the Brew For You!!!!!  Bundaberg....it's Aussie for Root Beer!!!!
4 Frosty "Aussie" Mugs
-Adam

check out Bundaberg Root Beer: http://www.bundaberg.com/info/product_range/sarsaparilla/

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Presidential Debate Root Beer Review! HANKS!






Tonight is the first presidential debate between Obama and Romney.  What better way to celebrate than by reviewing a root beer.  Since it’s a presidential debate I chose an all American root beer from our founding father’s location of Philadelphia, PA.  Hank’s Gourmet Root Beer it is!
Hank’s root beer was first introduced in 1996.  I’ve done several reviews of root beers and many brews come from companies that produce alcoholic beverages and root beers.   From what I can tell or read about, they do not.  That’s alone adds points for me.  

Philly is billed as the birthplace of root beer!  From their website this is what they say about their brew:  The flavor for Hank’s was developed from an old Philadelphia root beer recipe. Pure cane sugar and gourmet quality ingredients enhance the body, head, mouth feel, and flavor. Hank’s has created the richest, smoothest, and creamiest soda possible. A true gourmet root beer.
As I popped the top on this brew I was expecting a huge whiff of root beer aroma.  It was not fully aromatic but it was pleasant.  The color was as expected from most root beers.  It was hidden well in it’s brown bottle with very nice logo and embossed glass bottle.  Also a plus.  As I poured it had what I would call a perfect “head”, not too much, not too little.  My first taste was swishing around my palate was very nice.  It was the perfect sweetness.  Again, not too sweet but sweet enough.  The use of cane sugar may have helped here.  Traditionally my favorite brews use honey.  All in all, I really enjoyed this root beer.  My favorite part was the “chug”.  This is a definite chugging root beer.  The carbonation was also perfect. 


Hanks touts they are a gourmet brew.  I agree.  The cost of ownership is $23.99 per 12 pack.  If you love root beer and have never had it, spend the money!
Since in my opinion there is no perfect brew equaling  100% perfection I have to give one negative to not give the full score of 5 frosty mugs.  That negative is there is a slight aftertaste and lasted about ½ hours.  With that being said,  I score Hanks a 4.5 Frosty Mugs.  I believe this is the highest rating I have given to a root beer.

 I expect tonight’s debates to be interesting but they will be much better with more Hanks.  Sadly, this review took my last one.  Anyway,
Hanks a lot!

~Marc