Monday, October 19, 2009

Pearson Bros. Root Beer

This is another one of the root beers i have recently ordered online. Before i get into the root beer, i want to give you the run down of Soda Samurai, the site i ordered this root beer from. I like the site because they have a decent root beer selection (as well as many other kinds of sodas), i can order the root beers individually instead of in packs or cases, the shipping isn't outrageous, and they even sent me this little bottle opener key chain, which will come in handy for those pesky non-twist tops. So kudos to you Soda Samurai. Check them out if you get a chance. They are decent.

Anyway, Pearson Bros. root beer is made in San Francisco, CA, and the reason i know that is because it says so on the bottle. Other than that, i found it hard to find much info about Pearson Bros. However, I did a bit of digging and investigative journalists everywhere should be proud of me for finding this website that quotes the creaters of Pearson Bros. Root Beer, Matt and Eric Pearson (and yes, they are actually brothers). This article in the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper tells that the root beer has been around since 1996 and can be found mostly in the Bay Area. Aside from this, i can't find much else on Pearson Bros. But I guess there are a lot of famous Peasons out there, including the distrubutors of some well known but unappealing candy, and even a statistical genius of sorts. I actually knew some Pearsons growing up in Northern Arizona, and they seemed pretty successful as well. Must be something in the name. I guess it only makes statistical sense that the probability of a Pearson getting into the root beer business is much higher than a person with any other surname. Don't believe me? Take a look at this. I'm pretty sure it proves my point.

The bottle is a 12 oz. clear glass bottle and the label is very simple, but it stands out. Red really catches the eye, or at least my eye, which is what is important. It has a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge on it and big text of the name of the root beer, but not much else. It's very plain, but i like it. And unfortunately, that may be the only thing i like about it. Let's just start off by saying i am not sure what it is, but i have a prejudice against root beers in clear glass bottles. There are a few i have liked, but it's rare.

So what's wrong with Pearson Bros.? Let's start with the color. The clear glass bottles give away the fact that the color of the root beer isn't very rich or deep. It's very light brown in color and transparent enough for me to see right through it. Again, this is usually an indication to me that i am not going to like the root beer. I have reviewed enough of them to make this correlation. So if the color is off, the taste isn't going to be there either. This stuff is very bland. It has enough carbonation, but just barely. And the flavor is very watery and sugary. It doesn't linger and doesn't make an impression, much like many of the other light colored, clear glass bottle root beers (I'm looking at you Olde Brooklyn). But while it's nothing to write home about, it's not completely awful either. There just isn't anything about it that would make me want to travel to the Bay Area for more.

My official review is that Pearson Bros. gets 4 (four) IBCs. I've had worse, but i've also had much, much better. It doesn't stand out from many of the other root beers and seems like just another label with not much going on inside. So for those of you in the Bay Area who are looking for some good root beer, you will probably need to look else where. But to be completely honest, you're probably Chinese and don't drink root beer anyway. Hey, according to Pearson, it's a statistical fact.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Goose Island Root Beer

Hello my faithful readers. I apologize again for the length between my reviews, but it is getting harder to find root beers to review in my area, so i have to branch out. As a result, this is a very special review for two reasons. One, this is the root beer i was unable to try in Chicago due to it being out of stock in the grocery store. Two, this is one of the root beers i have ordered online in my first round of mail order root beering. I finally turned to ordering new root beers online and having them shipped to me here in Phoenix, and this isn't ideal for me because it's expensive and i usually have to order at least a six pack (some sites require i order a whole case). The site i ordered this root beer from is called Straub's. They do offer some samplers, but regardless of what you order, it has to at least be a six pack, and shipping isn't the cheapest. But i gotta do what i gotta do, and this is what the next phase of my root beer reviewing requires of me. So anyway, let's get to it, shall we?

Goose Island Root Beer is native to Chicago. The Goose Island Brewpub first opened it's doors in 1988 and focuses on brewing beers and hand crafted sodas. In addition to root beer, Goose Island makes 4 other flavors of soda. There are two locations where Goose Island now maintains brewpubs, both of which act as a restaurant where visitors can go and grab a bite to eat with their custom made brew of choice. From the website, they seem like pretty decent places to go for an evening meal. Maybe i'll have to check it out if my wife and i decide to get back to Chicago any time soon.

The bottle is a dark brown glass, 12 oz. bottle with a stick on label. I like the design on the bottle, and it's apparently pretty new. I was looking at other reviewers and seeing what one in particular said about Goose Island (which was a sham of a review if you ask a professional like me), and the old label is kinda corny and less desirable. This new label is simple, bold, clean, and neo-classic. I dig it. It's very straight forward and doesn't waste time. Let that be a lesson to the rest of you unreviewed root beers out there. Don't waste my time!

This root beer is made with 100% cane sugar. I am not one that usually gets hung up on this aspect of root beer anatomy, but i know there are a lot of people out there who do. So with that i will say that this is probably the best of the cane sugar root beers i have had. This stuff is really good. It reminds me a little of Stewart's, with just a tiny touch of carmel, good carbonation, and a great, smooth root beer flavor throughout. This stuff definitely delivers. Another notable cane sugar root beers is AJ Steven's, but there is something about it that really kinda turns me off to cane sugar. It's not bad, it's just... different. Like drinking the milk at the end of a bowl of Frosted Flakes. Kinda sludgy; i don't recommend it. But Goose Island does a great job of tasting like a great root beer should taste. In the end, it has a winning recipe. Maybe not on level with Iron Horse, but definitely up there with the Saranac crowd.

My official review is that Goose Island gets 8 (eight) IBCs. It's a good root beer, and one that i think Chicago should run with. Berghoff kinda steals the claim that it's Chicago's favorite, but time and time again i am not that impressed with it. But i think Goose Island has the right taste. It's decent, and unfortunately the only way i found of getting it was to go online. But if you're willing to go to those lengths for a good hand crafted root beer, this one is worth the shipping.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Don't be alarmed...

Ok, this is just a quick little update that i thought was kinda funny. I was going through some old postings and just double checking links and things to update, and when i clicked on one of the reviews, i came up with this warning.

Just so you know, i am NOT trying to trick you into giving me your personal information. Rest assured, i am here to share my reliable root beer knowledge with you kind and gentle folks. More reviews are on the way, i promise. However, from now on i will require your social security numbers and bank accounts in order to access my blog. It's protocol. I'm sure you understand.