Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Margo's Bark Root Beer

I'm sitting at home after a long day of work and school contemplating my root beer future right now. This is the last one in the bullpen, kids. I have no other root beers on deck, and that is making me consider doing something against all my morals and better judgement. I may actually need to seek assistance from my root beer nemesis, which will most likely prove to be a terrible mistake. But i'm getting desperate at this point. To be continued...

On a side note, i am enjoying this root beer with some left over pizza from the renowned Pizzeria Bianco in downtown Phoenix. It's a pretty amazing place. I won't get into the details (you can look at their website for those), but essentially, it was started and ran by one guy who does everything by hand with just a few other workers. He ran the place for years and used authentic recipes with ingredients he grew right there on the property. The food is good and the draw is huge. The doors open at 5:00 PM and a line starts forming literally around 3:00 PM. It's a small place with only a few tables, so you usually have to wait a while, but it's in a neat, quaint part of downtown Phoenix and it's a fun atmosphere and everything. My wife and i waited 2 & 1/2 hours to be seated, but it was a good time. I've been told that Oprah flies to Phoenix just to eat there. And no, i don't mean she's magical. She flies on an airplane just like everyone else.

Anyway, today's featured root beer is Margo's Bark root beer from Los Angeles, CA. The website is well put together, the whole operation looks relatively new. I haven't gotten an official date on when it started, but from all accounts, it seems like this stuff has only been around since about June of last year (2009, for all you time travelers). The story is pretty neat and the drive behind it is compelling too. Oscar, a 7-year-old boy in LA, made homemade root beer for a school science project and it turns out people liked it so much that the family decided to start bottling it. Oscar named his root beer Margo's Bark after the family dog. The dog was adopted after being abandoned, and the proceeds of the root beer sales go to help fund dog shelters. So that's a nice little story. This root beer also makes me think of a really awesome band my wife and i enjoy called Margo and the Nuclear So and So's. Seriously, they are good and put on a fantastic live show. Check them out.

The bottle is your standard 12 oz. glass bottle. The label is dark in color with the name of the root beer written in kid's writing (presumably by Oscar), and there is a picture of Margo on the label. I am not good with dog breeds, so looking at the picture i would have said Margo is most likely a rottweiler. But as it turns out, the website states that Margo is indeed a black lab-pit bull mix. And of course, there is again mention on the label that the proceeds from sales go to dog shelters. One other notable thing about the bottle is that it is one of the few that i have encountered without a twist off cap. I had to break out my complimentary http://www.sodasamuri.com/ bottle opener, which has turned out to be a serious piece of garbage.

As soon as i got the cap off, i was overwhelmed with the scent of rich molasses. And indeed, that's what the root beer's dominant flavor is. But i gotta say, this stuff isn't too bad. It doesn't taste too much like a gingersnap cookie, which was my problem with the last molasses flavored root beer i had. And i gotta give them credit for keeping a good amount of carbonation even after sitting in my fridge for several months now. Still, there isn't anything really knocking my socks off by this stuff. I am assuming the recipe has been refined from it's original 7-year-old inventor's attempts. I don't even know what it is missing or what it would take to take this stuff from good to great. But the fact remains that it can still be improved upon. Not bad though, not bad at all.

My official review is that Margo's Bark gets 6 (six) IBCs. For all you dog lovers out there, i think you could really get behind this stuff. It's good and it goes to a good cause. I am by no means in favor of neglecting animals or anything, but i don't get all crazy about dogs like a lot of people do. I've never been much of a pet person. Nonetheless, i can respect what these guys are doing. So grab a bottle and check this stuff out for yourself. It's decent.