Welcome to the Root Beer Rundown. Over the last few years, I've had a lot of fun drinking a lot of root beer and posting my root beer reviews for your reading pleasure. Use the tools on the right to see the complete history of my reviews, find all the brews within a given scoring range, or simply search for your favorite brew to see if it's one I've reviewed. I always like to hear what other root beer lovers like and dislike about different brews, so feel free to sound off in the comments of the reviews. I've also provided some links to a few other great root beer resources. Let me know if I've missed any so I can add them to the list. Enjoy the site!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Come Along On A Root Beer Road Trip

So we're preparing for our annual pilgrimage to the Great White North for Thanksgiving. By last count, I think we'll be passing through portions 12 states on the trip: GA, TN, KY, IL, MO, IA, MN, WI, MI, IL, IN, and OH. We added a few states to the route this year. In our quest to get the kids to all 50 states before they graduate, we're swinging a little bit west to check 3 more states (MO, IA, and MN) off the list.

Of course, this westward swing has a few fringe benefits. First, we'll be stopping in Des Moine so I can run in the Living History Farms cross country race. Check out the race website, because it looks to be a really cool race. Second, after the race we're headed up to the Twin Cities where we'll get to visit with one of my best high school buddies and hit the Mall of America. Third, and most importantly, this little jaunt west will give me the opportunity to pick up a few new root beers to bring home and review!

So here's the plan -- I'm hoping to pick up some Fitz's when we pass through St. Louis. Then, when we get into Iowa, I'm hoping to track down some Millstream. In the Twin Cities, I want to get my hands on some Dorothy's Isle of Pines and some Killebrews. I'm also planning to get a mug (or two) of the elusive 1919 root beer at a favorite restaurant of ours later on in the week when we pass through Iron River, MI. This stuff is not available in bottles or cans, so you either have to buy a keg of it, or find it on tap somewhere. The Zippidy Duda restaurant in Iron River has it on tap, and I aim to drink some and hopefully remember to jot down a few notes so I can post a review of it when we get back home.

I need your help here. Can anyone tell me where I can get my hands on the brands I've mentioned above as we're passing through these states? Also, are there some other brands that I'm just not aware of that are available in these areas? Our approximate route will look something like this: Atlanta, Chattanooga, Nashville, Paducah (KY), St. Louis, Des Moines, Minneapolis, Wausau (WI), Northern WI, Green Bay, Chicago, Indy, Cincinnati, Lexington (KY), Atlanta.

Thanks for your help!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Maine Root

Who Made This Stuff? Maine Root Handcrafted Sodas

Website: www.maineroot.com

Where’d It Come From? Cost Plus World Market

Review Date: 11/10/09

Commentary: I have had this one in the fridge for quite a while now, just sitting there taunting me because I did not have time to do a proper review. Well, not any longer. I popped the top on the bottle and caught a slight wintergreeny aroma. The pour produced a small head, but it did not last very long. The first sip has a bit of a bite, but finishes with a nice creaminess. This one is not too sweet – a good balance of rooty-ness and sweetness. Carbonation is good. I am several sips in now, and the bubbles are holding up nicely.

This is a good root beer. I do not think it is going to end up at the top of my list, but it is a solid entry. It does not have a very strong aroma, which is a shame. I think a strong aroma probably could have helped this one score a couple extra points. The label indicates that this is sweetened with “organic cane juice.” Anyone know exactly what that is?

Speaking of the label…this label is quite busy. There is a bunch of text on there. It is a bit distracting, actually. There is a cool design of something that looks sort of like a root, but it is surrounded by way too much lowercased text for my tastes.

Label designs aside, I think this is a good brew so I will score it as………………………………….82.

Monday, November 9, 2009


Who Made This Stuff? Reed’s Inc.

Website: http://www.reedsinc.com/virgils

Where’d It Come From? T.

Review Date: 11/09/09

Commentary: I am pleased to announce that this is my first “requested” review. I arrived at my desk one day last week to find two bottles of Virgil’s waiting for me along with a note that read, “Please review. (signed) T.” Now that I am mostly over the cold I was nursing last week (and can taste things again) I am more than happy to accommodate T’s request. So, T, this one is for you….

Great first sniff when I opened the bottle. A nice spicy aroma, a good whiff of licorice and classic root beer smell. The head was not anything special to behold, with large bubbles that dissipated rather quickly. The first sip is really good. Lots of flavors in the mix here. The ingredient list from the label confirms this: anise, licorice, vanilla, cinnamon, clove, wintergreen, sweet birch, molasses, nutmeg, pimento berry oil, balsam oil, and oil of cassia. Wow, that is quite a list. I cannot claim to identify all those flavors in there, but I can certainly pick out the licorice, wintergreen, and cinnamon. This is not what I would call a smooth, sweet, or creamy brew – far from it. With all those ingredients, it does have a bite. It is a bite I like, though. Unfortunately, the fizz has left my glass pretty quickly. Maybe I had poor pouring technique?

This one has a unique, complex flavor. I definitely like it. I do not think this is one I would drink with a meal though -- too much going on. For me, this will have to be a stand-alone brew to be enjoyed by itself. I may need to take a few points off due to that fact. I would serve this to friends, for sure. It might not be my first choice to grab from the fridge, but I will be happy to score it as..................................................................80.