After last week’s trip around the country, I thought that maybe we should go for at least one root beer from every state. As such we’re hitting up three W states this week. Sorry, West Virginia, we just don’t have time for you this week.
Buckin’ Root Beer
Jackson Hole Soda Co. Jackson Hole, Wyoming
The history page on Jackson Hole Soda Co’s website has zero information on the actual history of the company, but it does show a love for alliteration that I can get behind.
It’s got a good herbal smell and a good, dark herbal taste when it get’s down to it. Though that’s only after it aerates a bit. On the start it’s a lot harder into “root beer candy” territory. Maybe break out a wine glass for this one? The herbs I’m getting are anise heavy, but balanced with the sassafras. There’s almost something spicy on the back, maybe a little ginger?
Bedford’s Root Beer
Northwest Soda Works, Port Angeles, Washington
(Distributed by Orca Beverages, Mukilteo, Washington)
Ed Bedford started making sodas in 1984, though has only been using real sugar in the products since much more recently.
While it’s not exactly rare that I like a root beer more during the blog writing portion of the review, wherein I sit with it more than I do with the freshly opened bottles in the videos, rarely do I like one less. I gave Bedford’s first place in this week’s episode, but in sitting with it I like it less and less. It’s still unique, and I’d still call it good -- it’s the only of the bunch with a clear bite to it, something I like in a root beer -- but the nondescriptness that surprisingly made it stand out in a good way on first taste has given way to just tasting a bit cough syrup-y.
Sprecher’s Root Beer
Sprecher’s Brewery, Glendale, Wisconsin
While Sprecher’s is a micro-brewery producing a wide range of beers since 1985, according to the company itself it makes more root beer than all its alcoholic options combined. They also produce a hard version on their root beer just to mix things up. The bottle says it’s “fire-brewed”, whatever that means. It’s sweetened with locally-sourced raw honey.
The nose on this made me think of dirty dishwater. That’s bad, right? Though I have had a rather good white wine that smelled like cat pee, so what does my nose know? This is dark, we deep carmels. The raw honey offers a unique and really good sweetness that’s not overpowering. There’s a lot of herbs in here too; “a host” according to the label, though they’re all under “artificial and natural flavors” aside from vanilla which is last on the ingredients list, even after the yucca extract. But like any good menagerie of flavor, everything comes together in balance to produce something rather palatable.