Thursday, December 16, 2010

Steelhead Root Beer

This is one i have been trying to track down for a long time. Steelhead Root Beer has been around since 1997. The Pop Shop here locally told me a long time ago that they expected to get some Steelhead in, but it never happened. So after months of checking in with the Pop Shop, i eventually went looking for it myself. I picked up a 6-pack of this stuff on my root beer trip to California this past summer. This was obtained from the Steelhead Brewery and Restaurant in Irvine, CA, which was a pretty nice get up from what i saw of it. There is also a brewery in Eugene, OR and Burlingame, CA. They brew this stuff on site, and i assume they distribute it locally but i searched around and eventually just went directly to the brewery to get it. These guys are pretty confident about their root beer too, because they put a link on their website to several private reviews of their root beer. I of course and not listed on there because i am just now reviewing it. Guess who is though... my root beer nemesis. They tout how he gave them a good rating. I think it was just to get his name on their site. Can anyone say, "publicity stunt"? Seems suspicious.

The label is pretty fancy and well decorated. There is a big picture of a Steelhead fish, which is similar to a trout but lives in the ocean. This is obviously where the brewery and root beer get their names. But the subtle intricacies of the label are what catches the eye. Notice the pin-striped background, like the nice tailored suit of a business man. The bright, vibrant logo catches the eye and doesn't crowd the label. It's well done. One thing that really caught my eye is this little strip on the right edge of the label though. It's a series of letters and numbers separated by lines. If you can't make it out in the picture, it says;

J F M A M J J A S O N D 3 4 5 6 7 A B C D E F G

Now, i have read all of Dan Brown's novels, almost all of which deal with symbology and secret messages. But i am not ashamed to admit i have no idea what this means. I can make out the name "Jason", but other than that i don't see much order outside of the sequence of numbers and alphabet from about half way on. If you want to take a stab at it and let me know what you think, i'll be happy to entertain your thoughts. Maybe i'm just a dummy. Most of that Dan Brown crap didn't really sink in anyway.

Let's talk taste. Steelhead is good. It was a bit lacking in carbonation for my likes, but it was good. Steelhead uses cane sugar, natural vanilla and honey flavors. I can taste all of these things, and they work well. In the end though, it just tastes like Thomas Kemper to me, except that i don't want to smoosh a kitten after i drink Steelhead. The honey is not overpowering, which is a good thing for me. I don't much care for honey in my root beer. I often think it just doesn't belong, like dreadlocks on white people. It's subtle enough that i don't mind it though. I like the vanilla, and there is maybe just a hint of anise/black licorice flavor in there. It's not a bad soda though. Not my number one pick, but good enough to enjoy a 6-pack without feeling like you wasted your money.

My official review is that Steelhead gets 6 (six) IBCs. That's not bad for a root beer, and i would almost give it a 7. Maybe if it had more carbonation. But 6 isn't bad. It's definitely better than middle of the road. I wouldn't mind eating at the restaurant sometime also. Perhaps on my next trip to California, i'll stop in for some dinner and see how the root beer goes with the food.


Alysia Thomas Photography said...

Jon, you make me smile. Or I guess you blog does. Hope you and Jen are doing well.

Dick Smith said...

34567 ???
ABCDEFG is an Indian movie with an Uncle Rico looking dude on the cover (
Maybe they have a thing for the months, obscure numbers, and creepy movies.