I was introduced to this root beer by a colleague of mine who spoke quite highly of it. Bulldog Root Beer has only been around since 1997. It is brewed in Fresno, CA, and one thing i found interesting was that the brew master is a woman. Hmmm... i thought that couldn't be true at first since women have smaller brains than men and are far inferior to them, but i guess it's almost like cooking, so i suppose that's feasible. Anyway, they make it a point to tell you that they brew (i.e. cook) their root beer, and don't just mix a bunch of artificial flavors. It seems like most of the root beers out there want to have the street cred of "real" and "authentic" taste that only comes with long boring testimonials on their websites. Well whatever, the point is that it's root beer one way or another. Just cuz it's "authentic" doesn't always mean it's good.
The bottle is a typical 12 oz. and on the label is pictured two adorable dogs named Hops and Barley whose breed the root beer is named for. Now, here is where i am confused, and maybe someone can straighten this out for me. I am not a dog expert (i am too busy being a root beer expert), but the name of the root beer is Bulldog and those don't look like bulldogs to me, they look like pitbulls. Am i wrong here? Is that ok to call it Bulldog Root Beer and not Pitbull Root Beer? I know i am splitting hairs here and it has nothing to do with the taste of the root beer, but it still kinda bothers me. I mean what if i called my root beer Lighthouse Root Beer and put a picture of the Eiffel Tower on it? It just doesn't make sense to me. But whatever.
Although my colleague spoke so highly of it, i have to admit i wasn't too impressed. My very first impression was, "this tastes like Weinhard's." Normally i would spit that cursed liquid out and run my tongue over a cheese grater to get the taste out of my mouth, but i am a professional and as such i promised i would review this root beer. What i mean when i say it tastes like Weinhard's is that it has the same candy corn flavor. It's not nearly as strong though, and not nearly as sickly sweet. Then the after taste hit me and i thought to myself, "this tastes like Thomas Kemper." One of their key ingredients, like Thomas Kemper, is honey, and it has the same kind of honey taste that TK has, but again not nearly as strong. So it's kind of like a blend of low potency Weinhard's and Thomas Kemper. I didn't care more for TK and i absolutely abhor Weinhard's, so i wasn't all that fond of this one. In Bulldog's defense though, the blend of the tastes combined with the toned down potency wasn't a bad mix, but i personally just didn't find it all that appealing.
My official review is that Bulldog gets 4 (four) IBCs. I couldn't in good conscience rate it higher than Thomas Kemper, and the candy corn taste wasn't winning it any points. Again, this is probably one of those root beers that fits a particular taste. It wasn't awful, but it's not my cup of tea. I would pass this one up and go for something else.