Friday, October 14, 2011

Surf City Root Beer

I wanted to review this one now for a couple reasons... one, it's been sitting in my fridge for well over a year now. Two, i feel like i have been phoning it in with boring reviews lately cuz i have nothing to say about the root beers i have reviewed lately, but this one comes from a really cool place i will talk about shortly. And three, my wife was supposed to bear our first child two days ago. Sadly, he's turtling and refuses to come out, making my wife increasingly miserable as he's just getting bigger the longer he stays in there. I swear we're going to have to pull him out by his feet while he maintains his kung fu grip on my wife's uterus and fights leaving his now cramped confinement. So what does that have to do with this root beer? Well although it's called Surf City, it is made at a place in Huntington Beach, CA called Brewbakers, and to me, that sounds like Babymakers. It's a stretch, i know, but sometimes my writings are desperate for clever, even poor showings like this one. Anyway, Brewbakers is a cool little spot in Huntington. I learned that they had their own root beer and thought it was a restaurant, but when my wife and i went there with some friends of ours last summer we found that it really wasn't geared toward being a restaurant. They did serve some food items (bread, pizza, pretzels and the like), but what draws customers there is the opportunity to individually brew their own little batches of beer (or root beer) using ingredients and recipes on hand. It was a really neat idea, and had we known we would have booked the time to actually make some Surf City ourselves. I have posted some pictures of the inside of the place, which is quite small but very neat.

There is basically just a long table in the middle of the room right when you walk in with a lot of bowls and weights and measures on it. Below the table are cabinets with large bins of ingredients; grains, flour, sugar, etc.
Along the right wall are several small kilns. Not sure if that's what they call them, but it's where the batches are brewed. To the left of of the counter is the cash register and bottles of different brews for sale. I would totally book the time to brew my own batch next time i'm in Huntington cuz it looks like a fun little evening activity to do with friends. As you can see from the pictures, it was pretty packed for how small the place is. Needless to say, this place is pretty popular.

The bottles are dark brown 12 oz. glass with no labels. The label you seen the one in the picture at the top is another one of my hack photoshop jobs. We bought two 3-packs because there were 4 of us and they don't specifically have 6-packs. Regardless, we got what we came for. They do other flavors as well, including a sarsaparilla, but i don't review those even though we did drink a couple. As far as the label i put on there, it's the logo of the soda line they create at Brewbakers. However, the other cool thing about the place is that you can actually design your own labels that go on your brewed batch. So if you decide not to go by a recipe on hand and make your own concoction and want to bottle and label it afterward, they are all set up to allow you to do that. Pretty cool set up. We were impressed.

As far as the taste goes, it's pretty good. It has a really nice aroma when you open the bottle, not much carbonation (although it HAS been sitting in my fridge for a year and i'm not sure the seal on the bottle kept it all in), and it doesn't taste like a cheap generic or a natural brand or anything. It's made with real sugar and is fairly sweet, and i can taste the anise which i don't normally care for but don't mind in this case. It's not an overwhelmingly obvious root beer taste, but it definitely works. By no means bad, and i think had i brewed it myself i would have enjoyed it that much more.

My official review is that Surf City gets 7 (seven) IBCs. I'm not particularly blown away with the taste. It's good, but not outstanding. But i must say most of my rating is applied toward the unique nature of the endeavor and the fact that is can be customizable and changed with each batch based on the taste preferences of the one making it. If you're ever in Huntington, look this place up. I'll definitely book some brew time next time i'm there.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Harris Teeter Root Beer

Here's a root beer from the east coast, brought to me by a friend of mine currently residing in North Carolina. Harris Teeter is a grocery store chain in the south east United States, and this is their brand name root beer. There is no site specifically dedicated to the root beer, but here is the website for the grocery store (if any of you really care). I don't really have much to say about this root beer's origins and beginnings, so maybe i will talk about my friend in NC instead. He's a dentist with the navy right now and keeps asking us to fly out there and visit, but we simply reply that for the same price we could fly to Hawaii and stay with my wife's cousin. So basically, he now has to sell us on the idea that NC is better than Hawaii. Granted, i've already been to Hawaii and have never visited NC, but it's still kind of a hard sell. And since he's already scoured the area over there for root beers to send me, that avenue has been closed off. Sorry Richard. Looks like we're gonna save our money. But you're more than welcome to come visit us if you'd like. Except you can't stay with us. We don't have room for you.

This root beer was brought to me in a 12 oz. can, but i am betting you can probably get it in a 2 liter bottle if that's what you prefer. The label is pretty typical for a generic brand; brown color scheme, simple design, lots of bubbles. It has kind of a cartoon quality to it, with pretty below average sketches of root beer mugs. But again, i can't fault them too much for lack of good design since the objective of a generic brand is to make a product as cheaply as possible.

As far as taste is concerned, i again don't have much to say. I'm at the point where i've tasted enough root beers to make it hard to pick out what makes one distinguishable from another unless it's obvious. But as is standard of generics, it tastes like this root beer is copying A&W. Good carbonation, standard taste, typically generic. It's probably really inexpensive though.

My official review is that Harris Teeter gets 5 (five) IBCs. Even though it tastes good, it's so unoriginal that i can't in good conscience give it anything higher than a 5. And again, i don't have much else to say, so i think i'll just leave it at that. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

BJ's Handcrafted Root Beer

I should have written this review a while ago when i went to dinner with my wife and some friends of ours. BJ's is a restaurant and brewery which brews its own beers. It's a franchise, so there are several of them around, and there is a large dining area as well as a sports bar area for people just looking to try their brews.  It was started in California in 1978, but the food and atmosphere seems to have a Chicago influence (i was probably tipped off by the fact that the BJ's logo says "Chicago style pizza" at the top of it, although i am still keenly observant without that little bit of help). It's not terribly expensive and i think everyone in our group that night really enjoyed their meals. But ultimately, i'm here to talk about the root beer. So let's get to it, shall we?

The root beer was served in a large glass mug, as seen in the picture. Please note, i have taken to editing pictures of root beer where no logo is present to include a logo. This is the case for the picture in this post. I don't know the dimensions of the glass, but i was free refills, so that's kind of irrelevant since once you commit to having root beer with your meal, you swim in it for all the restaurant cares. I like the whole root-beer-in-a-mug experience, but my only complaint is that it wasn't a frosty mug. A minor pleasure i concede, but i like seeing the frost on the mug when it's delivered and all the fun and excitement that accompanies that experience. I believe A&W drive-ins do the frosty mug, but it's been a while since i've been to one. All i will say is that any place that serves root beer in a mug that isn't frosty should reconsider their business model. Put the fact that it's in a frosty mug on the menu and i guarantee sales will increase exponentially (*note* all guarantees expressed in this blog are opinion based only and cannot be relied upon for future business projections whatsoever). I won't comment on the BJ's logo except to say it's fine just fine. It's technically the logo for the restaurant anyway, not the root beer, and what do i care about restaurant logos, right?

So is this handcrafted root beer worth the $2.95 you'll be paying for a bottomless mug of it? I would say go ahead and get it. I don't know that the root beer alone is good enough to draw me to the restaurant, but it is very good, and the food is great too so you really can't lose. It could have used a little more carbonation, but other than that i was impressed with what the BJ's crew could throw together. It was sweet, creamy, and had a good vanilla and root beer flavor to it. My guess is that putting ice cream in it would be an excellent decision. I don't know that the root beer had as much of a Chicago influence as the food and atmosphere, but the only other Chicago style root beer i can compare it to is Goose Island, which was also very enjoyable. Oh, and i guess Berghoff also, but i find this stuff much better than Berghoff. Ultimately though, i think Chicago may be on to something with the way the citizens craft root beer.

My official review is that BJ's gets 7 (seven) IBCs. I was impressed with it. Add a touch more carbonation and put it in a frosty mug and i think you've got a real winner there. There are a few BJ's locations here in the Valley of the Sun and several littered around California i know, but you'll have to check out their website to see if there is a BJ's near you. If so, take and evening and go enjoy some good food with some good root beer. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Stars & Stripes Root Beer

Well, they changed the format on Blogger (supposedly for the better), but i am trying to get used to it still. Not sure i like it just yet. Anyway, i thought this one would be appropriate given the month. I would have liked to have reviewed this last week on the 4th, but my wife and i take a trip every year for the 4th up to a small town in Utah to do some camping with her extended family. Therefore, this is a little late, but still appropriate. The root beer i am reviewing today is Stars & Stripes Root Beer, from the Cott Beverages line (which also makes Vess and RC brand soft drinks, or at least owns distribution rights to them). You can see in the picture on the website a case of Stars & Stripes Cola, though i didn't look hard enough to find a shot of their root beer. While a truely American and patriotic root beer, in my mind this falls into the "generic" category of root beers. I was actually tipped off to this one long ago by a loyal reader and was told i could find it at the local Dollar Tree store. Well i happen to live less than a mile from a Dollar Tree, and while i don't frequent it very often, i did go in a few times to look for Stars & Stripes to no avail. I found other brands of root beer there, such as Shasta and Big K, but i basically chalked this one up to an "east coast thing" (Cott is apparently quite big in Canada as well). But my lovely wife discovered a bottle of this root beer here in Phoenix not long ago, and no less, at a Dollar Tree store she happened to be visiting. So thank you to the loyal reader who tipped me off. I have long since forgotten your name (and am too lazy to go back and try and find it among the many comments i have received over the years), but please allow me dedicate this review to you and your love of root beer.

The bottle in the picture is actually a 3 liter bottle. I'm not sure what my wife paid for it, but i am assuming it was around a dollar, which makes this root beer a pretty good buy. The label is a little drab. Not as patriotic as i would hope. Not even an American flag on it. That's probably those silly Canadians' doing. But it's called "Stars & Stripes" for crying out loud. You'd think they would stick a picture of Old Glory on there somewhere. Instead it has a brown, wooden background that i assume is supposed to represent a root beer barrel, but looks more to me like a table top or a church door or something. Then there's the blue and white logo of the brand name, followed by a rather large decal saying something about Hoover's Barrel Root Beer. Now, i don't know who Hoover is (unless we're talking about our former US President, but i doubt it) and i don't know how he got his name to be attached to this root beer, but all i have to say is this: knock it off. Does this root beer have two names? What's going on? It's just confusing. One of them needs to be eliminated (and my sights are set on taking out Hoover).

For a generic root beer, this one is pretty good. It's very sweet, has good carbonation, and a rich root beer flavor. I hate to keep comparing root beers to A&W, but i gotta say that's the one i think it tastes most similar to. However, it still has a distinct taste that is very un-A&W-ish (man, i'm good with words). I told my wife last night that i think it tastes (and smells) like pancakes and syrup. She had a drink and said she could see where i came up with that. So my assignment to you is to get your hands on some of this and try and let me know if it tastes like pancakes and syrup to you as well. Maybe i'm just crazy. Maybe i've lost all reasonable tasting ability and should no longer be relied upon for accurate root beer judgement (although, we all know that's completely ridiculous). Regardless, give it a shot and send me a comment. I'd be interested to hear what you think, even though it will hold absolutely no sway on my final judgement. I mean, come on... who's the expert here? 

My official review is that Stars & Stripes gets 7 (seven) IBCs. It's a good root beer, and the fact that it's inexpensive can only help. Most generic or store brand root beers are either way too sweet or really watery and don't make much of an impression, but i gotta say, S&S does well to taste like a reasonably good root beer. Give it a shot, regardless of what month it is. It's your civic duty, like voting and jury duty and openly mocking British people. So enjoy.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Food Lion Root Beer

This is another one brought to me from my friend in North Carolina. It is from a local grocery chain there based out of Salisbury, NC, and the root beer bears the same name as the store. Food Lion has it's own line of generic products in all varieties, much like Kirkland or Kroger. So going into this, i wasn't expecting much more than a generic root beer from a grocer, much like many other stores have done. That being said, their isn't much back story or information i can dig up on this one that isn't completely irrelevant or boring. So i'll skip all that.

This root beer was brought to me in a can, as were several of the root beers my friend brought me from North Carolina. I suppose they are easier to pack into a suit case that way. But regardless, i doubt it comes in a glass bottle anyway. The label is a bit drab, but typical of a generic. Very few colors, just white and a few shades of brown, with a basic design showing the logo of the store (which somewhat resembles a family crest or insignia) and some circles and swooshes which can either be considered a new age kind of look symbolizing carbonation bubbles or something, or it could be a throwback to the 70's style designs. Could go either way really, but if i were you i wouldn't look to far into it.

It's definitely a generic root beer, and as such follows by having a lack-luster taste. It's fine. Some may say sufficient. But it definitely doesn't stand out. I would say it does it's best to mimic A&W like so many others do. And like i always say, if you're going to copy a root beer flavor, you might as well copy a successful one. Food Lion can't quite capture the true taste though. The initial taste is solid, very strong and sweet with good carbonation, but that fades very quickly to basically tasting like water. It's not bad, but definitely not good.

My official review is that Food Lion Root Beer gets 4 (four) IBCs. I suppose the appeal to this one is the low cost per unit, as is the case with most generics. And if that's the only draw, i say just get whatever generic is available to you (except Shasta or Big K, they aren't very good). There are no Food Lions here in Arizona, so i don't have regular access to their root beer. And i don't really know how common they are outside of North Carolina, but i wouldn't travel too far just to get the taste of their root beer. When it really comes down to it, this one's pretty unsatisfactory.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Culver's Gourmet Root Beer

So i stumbled on to this one almost by accident when i met a friend to get some ice cream at Culver's, which is mostly known for their concrete mixers (which is basically just like a Dairy Queen Blizzard). Anyway, when i met him at the local Culver's, he told me that the fast food restaurant chain makes its own root beer, and as a result i was able to review a root beer i wasn't aware of. Craig Culver opened his first restaurant in 1984 in Wisconsin by converting an old A&W stand, which makes me think he has been making root beer from the very beginning, though i have no documentation of that. However, using my superior root beer knowledge, judgement, and wisdom i will say that must be true. Makes logical sense. I always drive past the Culver's here and confuse it with Carvel's, an east coast ice cream cake shop famous for Fudgie the Whale and other ice cream cake concoctions. So it never dawned on me to stop in and get some food, let alone see if they make their own root beer.

I can't really judge the packaging on this one, as it is clear from the picture that i made the label on the cup by pasting a picture of the label from the soda fountain (and it looks quite poorly executed at that). I doubt they bottle this root beer, but i may be wrong. It was easiest just to do it this way, and if i am being completely candid, i have plans to make my own label in a similar fashion for another root beer which i have yet to review. That one, however, is in a bottle, just without a label. So i won't hold any points in favor of or against this root beer for the packaging. It's just standard fast food fare as far as cups and lids and straws goes.

My friend, whom i have consulted with on root beers in the past, informed me that this root beer was pretty good. And he's right. It is pretty good. Quite creamy tasting and well carbonated, it has a good root beer taste. You would think it would taste like A&W since the first restaurant was converted from an old A&W stand, but i think it tastes more like a creamy version of Mug Root Beer. It's similar, yet distinct. But in any case, it's a good root beer, and the food and concrete mixers at Culver's aren't half bad either. Overall, i had an enjoyable experience.

My official review is that Culver's Gourmet Root Beer gets 7 (seven) IBCs. It's a really good root beer. Maybe even worth an 8 considering i just got it out of a soda fountain and couldn't experience it in a glass bottle the way the root beer gods intended. So if you find yourself near a Culver's (not sure how nationally dispersed the franchises are), stop in and grab a bite to eat and wash it down with some of their delicious root beer.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

American Fare Root Beer

This is another one of the root beers my dear friend Richard brought me from North Carolina, although i am sure it's available several other places (just not here in Arizona). It's called American Fare Root Beer, and it's another generic brand from the good people at Kmart. The website on the can is for, but when i go there and type in "american fare root beer", this is what comes up. So basically, the information i am getting about this root beer is coming from the can. From what i can tell, it's made in Hoffman Estates, IL (a suburb of Chicago) and i have no idea how long it's been around. It was really nice of Richard to bring me all these root beers i don't have access to here. In repayment for bringing me 5 root beers, i brought him to a Mexican restaurant in someone's backyard, which in turn brought us both a raging case of explosive diarrhea and has subsequently been shut down. It's a shame too. I would have gladly risked another case of the runs for the chance to enjoy their delicious food. Seriously, it was really good.

This root beer is typical of a generic. The 12 oz. can looks like it has a generic label, very few colors used and typical of those used by most generics. It's several shades of brown and cream colors with a little splash of blue in the logo. There are some decals of frothy root beer mugs running up the side with lots of little bubbles of carbonation making up the majority of the background. Not as dull and boring as some labels i've seen, but still nothing super special to get excited about.

As far as taste is concerned, this is another copy of A&W, not unlike Parker's (which is Safeway's generic root beer). So in that sense, it's a good root beer and probably fairly inexpensive. But there is still something about it that makes it not all that great. Maybe it's just the psychological effect of knowing you're drinking a rip off that makes you think it's just not as good. So whatever it is, it's a good root beer, it's just not as good as the root beer it is intended to taste like. It has good carbonation and a distinct A&W flavor, but i swear near the end of it the flavor was fading fast and it was mostly just watery and sweet.

My official review is that American Fare gets 6 (six) IBCs. It's probably a bargain because it's a generic and the price for a lot of this stuff is most likely quite low. However, it cannot be rated as highly as what it is intended to taste like because it simply is not quite as good. I think i rated Parker's as highly as i did A&W, and with good reason. Unfortunately, American Fare does not meet the same standard. Still, it's not a bad root beer, and a 6 is considered better than average. So maybe it's something you might want to pick up if you're on a budget.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Langers Root Beer

Piggy-backing off my last post, this is the other root beer i got from Rocket Fizz on my root beer reconnaissance trip to California last summer, but i have i since seen it in select grocery stores. Langers is a company formed in Southern California (L.A. area) that produces natural fruit juices. It's a family company that has been around since about 1960. As it turns out, they also make a root beer (and perhaps other flavors of soda). To follow the trend of their fruit juices, this root beer is crafted from natural ingredients, meaning there is no high fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors in it. Sounds like another fly-by-night hippie operation, right? That was my first impression too. I figure if you want to make your juice that way, knock yourself out, but don't take something good like root beer and try making it "healthy". Next they are going to try and make cheese fries healthy. That just sounds awful. I want my cheese fries served with a heaping side of regret when i have stomach pains later. That's how you know they are working.

The bottle and label are a pretty professional set up. The label is pasted on the brown 12 oz. bottle with a glossy sticker and doesn't look cheaply thrown together. There is nothing particularly spectacular about the label, but nothing i can say really repels me, besides the fact that it has a hint of "generic brand" look to it. But i can't complain too much. The company has been around for over 50 years now, so they seem like they have everything in order. Plus, they have an Egyptian Sphinx looking lion on their logo, so that's kinda neat. Right? Maybe not. I'm probably just grasping for something to say about the label. It's dull, but fine.

I don't know that i would classify it as what i consider a "natural" root beer, which more often than not carries some pretty heavy implications that it tastes like hot garbage. To be honest, this stuff doesn't taste too bad. It's lacking in carbonation and definitely has a taste of honey to it, but overall i'm not completely put off by it. The label claims it contains vanilla extract (from Madagascar no less...) with cream and honey tones. Like i said, i can definitely taste the honey, and the vanilla is a nice touch. The root beer flavor could be more prominent, but overall i think these hippies did a decent job of not bottling piss and calling it root beer for the sake of being healthy. So for that i say well done.

My official review is that Langers gets 6 (six) IBCs. Again, i hesitate to even call it a natural root beer, but if that is indeed what it is then it's one the better ones i have had (calm down Langers, you don't have very stiff competition in that department). I wouldn't say this stuff is worth going out of my way to purchase, but i will say it was certainly a pleasure to drink considering what i was expecting. So congratulations Langers, I don't hate you.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Myer's Avenue Red Root Beer

Hey there root beer enthusiasts, here is your root beer for the day. It's called Myer's Avenue Red Root Beer, and it's brewed out of Naperville, IL by Cripple Creek Brewing. According to the website though, this root beer was first brewed in Cripple Creek, Colorado in 1893 beneath the majestic Cow Mountain, making this one of the older ones i've encountered. You can see details for yourself on their webpage if you care to go there, but this root beer has apparently been sitting silently for the last 100+ years while the world passed by unaware of its existence. So i am not sure how long it has been being produced on a wide scale operation. I do know that i came across this one on my California road trip last summer when i went looking for new root beers. I visited a place in Thousand Oaks (west of Burbank) called Rocket Fizz. It's a retro candy store with tons of old sodas, candy, and so much more from my childhood, and even long before I was born. I even met the owner (I think his name was Rob) who was really nice and very cool about answering my root beer questions. He even gave me a free bottle of Spruce Beer, which is completely white and opaque and tastes like liquid Vicks Vapo-rub. Rob runs a cool store there in Thousand Oaks and is expanding pretty aggressively. Since i talked to him last summer, at least 3 to 4 more stores have opened in California and across the country, including one here in Phoenix now. He asked me if i wanted to open a franchise, but i'm terrible at business so i declined. If you're interested though, there is franchise info on the Rocket Fizz website.

This root beer comes in a clear glass 12 oz bottle, which i have little to no luck with in most cases, and has a really cool label. I think Cripple Creek did a good job on this one. It looks like an old stock certificate or bank note and is very detailed but still simple. The color tone selection gives it the sepia feel of old paperwork or photographs and the font style and set up just work well. Well done on the label. If nothing else, you get extra points for presentation.

The website and label both mention how root beer this is flavored with cinnamon, and it's definitely noticeable. It works very well though, and i actually really like the taste. To be completely honest, it doesn't taste all that much like root beer, but it's not bad still. My wife has been craving french toast a lot lately, so we have been eating it more regularly recently, and to me this root beer tastes like french toast. It's lightly sweet, has good carbonation, and isn't overpowering or unpleasant at all. Again, i would like more of a root beer taste in it, but i can't complain with the flavor they are giving me. A refreshing change from the spate of regular old root beers i have been drinking lately. The website boasts this root beer is responsible for the famous "black cow" root beer float. So if you try this one, maybe you should drop a scoop of ice cream in it and see how that treats you.

My official review is that Myer's Avenue Red Root Beer gets 7 (seven) IBCs. I almost gave it an 8, but kinda hoped for more of a root beer flavor. It's definitely better than many of the mundane root beers out there though. So stop by a Rocket Fizz and grab yourself one.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Blumer's Root Beer

Ok gentile readers, you know that i care about you and about the work i do on this blog, but i am just gonna phone this one in for the sake of getting it done. It's been a long couple weeks and i just need to get one done for the month. I promise March will be better. Anyway, this is a good root beer. It's called Blumer's, and it's from Monroe, WI. The company has been around since 1845, making it one of the oldest root beers around. But i couldn't find a website for them (probably cuz they've been around since 1845 and haven't heard of the internet yet). The site i got this root beer from is the Soda Pop Warehouse. It's a good site, and this is one of many of the root beers i have ordered from it. I recommend it for trying out different root beers, although shipping plus the cost per bottle makes it a little more expensive of a way to go when getting root beers. I thought i had seen a site for them before and want to say they do more flavors than just root beer, but i have nothing to back that up. Not that i need it since my word is final, but for those of you looking for credibility, you probably won't find it on this posting (or any of the other ones on this blog for that matter).

It comes in a common 12 oz. brown glass bottle, although the label says it only has 11.16 fluid oz. The label is a little funky. It has little half circles cut into the top and bottom of it, making it look a little like a postage stamp. There is a big barrel on it's side behind the logo, and the whole thing is a beige color (or as they spell in Canada, colour). The label is fine. I don't really have anything funny or witty or clever to say about it. It does the job.

This root beer is pretty good. It's quite sweet, but it doesn't gross me out as some sweet tasting root beers do. It's not sweetened with cane sugar and it has nothing really spectacular about it, but it's a solid root beer with decent carbonation and a good flavor. It's a little better than middle of the road, but i wouldn't mortgage my home to buy loads of the stuff, and that's only partly because my house isn't worth that much. Yeah, that's right. I live in a dump. What's it to you?

My official review is that Blumer's gets 6 (six) IBCs. I know this review was short and i didn't put a whole lot of effort into it, but i don't have much to say about it besides it's a good root beer. Give it a shot if you'd like. If not, then don't. It doesn't make much difference to me. I don't know much about the company without a website to look at, but i am sure there are people out there who know about this company. They have been around for a long time, so i am sure they have some loyal customers. Anyone in business this long has to be doing something right.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Old Town Root Beer

The Old Town Root Beer Company has stores in different locations around California, most popularly in San Diego, Temecula, Chico, and Barstow. I think there are a few more also. They make a root beer with their label as well as a few other flavors. This is actually one of the root beers i had on my list last summer when i went to California with my wife and a few friends on a root beer round up. Unfortunately, we didn't get out to Temecula, the closest place that had these. But luckily i have a great street team who is willing to do root beer hunting for me all over the U.S. A buddy of mine found this at Cost Plus World Market here in Mesa. I swear i looked there before, but it was a while ago. Anyway, i am glad he picked one up for me, but from what i have read online it might have been worth the drive to actually go to the store in Temecula and get it myself. I tried to find an official site for them but had a little trouble. There is even a website listed on the bottle (, but when i type it in the browser it just takes me to google and gives me a bunch of links relating to it. There is an official Facebook page for the store in Temecula, but i morally oppose Facebook so i wouldn't recommend anyone spending too much time on that page. But from what i have read on other sites about the store in Temecula is that it sells over 800 kinds of soda, including 99 kinds of root beer, and i think they also serve food there, like a little restaurant with a big soda store attached or something. I don't know the details, but it makes me want to go see this place for myself. If there really are 99 different kinds of root beers there, it might work out that there are one or two i haven't tried.

The bottle is a pretty standard brown glass 12 oz. bottle and the label is fairly well made. The logo is simple, yet professional. It almost looks like it's designed to be a wave, but it doesn't look like a wave. There is a big foamy mug of root beer wrapped in text against a white and red background. It's tasteful. As mentioned above, they list a website on the label, but i am wondering if it used to be up and running but it isn't now. Regardless, there is no lack of presence on the web. I found plenty of links relating to the stores/restaurants (whatever they are) on google.

As far as taste goes, it's not a bad root beer. Not at all. I feel like it's a recycled taste though. Not completely unoriginal, but not anything to get excited about either. To me it tastes like a lot of other root beers, but the first comparison that came to mind was Abita. There is a bit of a honey taste, not much, followed with a sugary root beer flavor (they use cane sugar) with a vanilla after taste. It's not a bad root beer at all, but it's not quite my cup of tea. I feel like the flavor fades really quick and all i am left with is a sugar taste in my mouth. It's not as bad an effect as Olde Rhode Island, but it's similar. Anyway, that's about i have to say about that.

My official review is that Old Town Root Beer gets 6 (six) IBCs. This is a bit of a short review, i know, but i feel like i don't really have much to say about this one. Like i said, i feel like it's a taste i've drank several times already. It's not bad, and i still do want to visit one of their stores (maybe in San Diego). I just wouldn't rush out and buy a case of these. Get one with a burger, sure. I bet it goes good with ice cream too. But it's not going to be one i keep stocked at home. That's all.

Monday, January 3, 2011

a request from across the globe...

Hi all! Happy New Year! I feel like we need to catch up and chat a bit. How are you? How are things? That's great. Now let's talk about me some more.

I am doing fantastic, with a really exciting way to start the new year. I was lucky enough to be able to take part in a study abroad for my school program and had an opportunity to go to Dubai for two whole weeks. Dubai is literally the other side of the world from Phoenix, AZ. There is an 11 hour time difference, so when i got in this morning 10:30 AM Monday morning and skyped my wife, i was talking to her at 11:30 PM Sunday night. In other words, i was talking to her... FROM THE FUTURE! Anyway, i wanted to send out a request in regards to this blog to ask anyone who knows anything about this region (or that of London, UK as that is our connecting flight) if they know of any root beers i can get in either of these two locations. I was actually lucky enough to find one here called Zest-o in an enormous store that is probably best comparable to Walmart. So if anyone knows of any others i might want to track down, i would be appreciative.

This was sparked by a reader comment from someone in the UK. He mentioned the lack of root beer variety there and named a local brand, but going back through the comments i was unable to find the one he left. I know i don't respond much to comments, but i do appreciate them for suggestions and tips. Not so much for criticism, though i get plenty of that also. I don't much care what those people think anyway, mostly because i am far superior to all of you, but by all means, please don't let that discourage you for telling me your dislikes about myself or the reviews i write. I welcome them. One in particular that i thought was quite amusing was on the Walmart Root Beer review (warning: there is quite a bit of swearing in it). I had a good laugh at it though. He must have been really proud of himself for that one.

Anyway, any hints would be much appreciated. I am also going to start a drastically different blog about my short time here called Two Weeks in Dubai. It will probably be more... journalistic? Don't hold me to that too closely though, as i am not a journalist, i'm a root beer expert.

That's right... expert.