Monthly Archives: January 2015

XXX Root Beer (Root Beer Stand)

xxx stand 2xxx stand 1

As I was on a business trip, in the great state of Washington, for my other job . . . let’s face it, being a Professor of Root Beerology is not a lucrative profession . . . I spotted the XXX Root Beer stand on one of those handy highway signs.  I whipped the car off the exit so fast, that it’s a miracle I’m even here writing this review.  But here I sit and by golly I am going to write this XXX review.

Honestly, stopping at root beer stands like this one is one of the little pleasures in life that I love so much.   I love how everything about this restaurant screamed Americana, 1950s and the way life used to be . . . from the huge barrel on the outside, to the cool paraphanilla and the rude and pushy (but in a sort of fun way) waitress that I ordered my XXX Root Beer from.

Unfortunately, I got my root beer in a Styrofoam cup with ice . . . but not even inferior service could ruin this root beer adventure!  The brew was really smooth and creamy with just a little carbonation . . . just the way I like it!  It had a real simple flavor with strong licorice overtones . . . nothing complex going on there.

Truth be told, it is probably not a spectacular root beer, but any store, drive-in or restaurant that is dedicated to root beer gets a nice bump up in the rating!

Professor’s Grade:  B +

Fentimans Dandelion & Burdock

Fentimans DandelionEver since seeing this stuff on a Galco’s Soda Shop Youtube video (http://youtu.be/gPbh6Ru7VVM),  I knew I had to get my hands on this.  And from time to time I do review brews other than root beer, but just for argument sake . . . I would say that this Dandelion and Burdock brew is actually a root beer.  Consider some of the ingredients . . .

  • Fermented ginger root, dandelion root, burdock root and aniseed flavor.

That’s a whole lot of “root” going on not to be considered a root beer.

The fermented and ethanol flavors provide a strong but subtle backdrop to each and every sip of this botanically brewed soda.  If you’re not sure what botanical brewing is, in the spring of 2015 I will be offering an in-depth look in my ”Brewing 101″ class.  In the mean-time please check out Fentiman’s own explanation . . . which I must say is a slight bit lacking. According to their web-site,

Botanical brewing is a simple process involving herbs and plant roots. Thomas Fentiman’s original recipe involved milling ginger roots before tumbling them into copper steam jacketed pans and leaving them to bubble and simmer releasing all their flavour. The finest herbs, natural flavourings, sugar, brewer’s yeast and fresh spring water were then added to the liquid which was transferred into wooden vats where it was left to ferment.

The ginger, dandelion, burdock, pear juice and aniseed combine to make a really delicious mix, although I don’t find that each flavor is distinguishable on it’s own.  The overall brew (including the flavor) is very light, and the carbonation is very light.  The flavor is not all that different from a root beer and yet at the same time is unlike any other root beer I’ve tasted . . . does that even make sense??  Well, it makes sense to the professor, and that’s all that matters!

The Professor’s Grade:  A -