Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Brick Oven Old Fashioned Root Beer

Throughout my years as a root beer expert, i have made many associations around the country, and inevitably when i travel to Utah i am asked if i have reviewed the root beer made at and by the Brick Oven Pizza Restaurant in Provo. This restaurant has been part of Provo for the better part of the last century, or to be specific, since 1956. Back then it was known as Heaps of Pizza, but although the food is good, a "heap" of anything doesn't sound very delicious. Good call on the name change. The restaurant has a root beer factory in the basement where they have brewed their own root beer since the restaurant opened. Dinner guests can order it in a frosted mug, and according to the website, it is served free after 5:00 PM on Mondays with the purchase of a pizza. It has quite a reputation around the Utah Valley and people seem to really appreciate it up there. Plus, it is right next to the BYU campus, and the BYU mascot is named Cosmo the Cougar. It's fate that i review this root beer. So i made it a point to go back to the Brick Oven specifically to review the root beer when i last made a trip up to Utah. Unfortunately, i did not go on a Monday night, and when i went they weren't serving any from the tap in a frosty mug. Strike one. However, I was able to secure a couple of these 2 liter bottles.

This festive 2 liter bottle carries the restaurant logo and some basic information about the history of the place. It's eye catching and tasteful i suppose, but i felt like i didn't get the real experience of the root beer. I think anyone in their right mind would prefer the frosty mug to the 2 liter bottle shown here. But even with that in mind i tried not to hold it against the restaurant. Maybe it's so popular that they just simply ran out of root beer? Or maybe the factory workers had the day off and weren't brewing any root beer today? Who knows, but the real disappointment of the bottle was when i opened it. No carbonation escaping the now broken seal, no fizzy bubbles rising to the top. This root beer was flat. Strike two.

My fellow restaurant patrons and I poured the root beer over some ice (the fact that it was warm was not weighed against the root beer, it was merely circumstance) and began to taste this highly praised, highly anticipated root beer. The general consensus? Mediocre at best. I've already mentioned that it was flat (which the second bottle turned out to be as well), but other than that there was no wow, no kick, no spark of creativity in the flavor that would make me rave and rant and perpetuate the sterling reputation this thing already carries. To sum up the experience, i drank a less than average root beer. Strike three. I realize i'm being a bit harsh, and maybe i shouldn't be, but this stuff didn't live up to what everyone said about it. It simply tastes like root beer extract and sugar. It's not terrible, and aside from being completely flat, i didn't want to spit it out. But i also wasn't bowled over by it, and there are lots of other better choices, even in Utah Valley.

My official review is that Brick Oven Root Beer gets 4 (four) IBCs. The food at the restaurant was quite good and moderately priced, but the root beer doesn't live up to the hype. It's a shame too. I really wanted to like it. I even made a root beer float with it later when i got home (which you can order off the menu at the restaurant) and it was still unimpressive. [I hope that helps you Shasta.] So if you find yourself up in the Provo area, do yourself a favor and make the trip up to Hires Big H in Salt Lake. You can get a frosty mug of Hires with your meal, and i promise you that won't disappoint.

1 comment:

Tyler said...

So Scott and Lacee pick us up in Salt Lake City last Friday night, and we're hungry. I'm in happy valley for the first time in year and Brick Oven pizza sounds good (even after the AMAZING Gino's East Pizza we had in Chicago).

The parking lot at Brick Oven is full, an hour and a half wait time for a table. I guess that's all there is to do on a Friday night in Provo, eat. No lackluster Root Beer for us. Makes me miss Hires Big H.