Sunday, August 2, 2015

Not Your Father's Root Beer

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (1420) - Albany, New York, USA - AUG 2, 2015
It doesn’t happen often, but once in a while a beer will just explode in popularity and everyone has to have it. This happened with Heady Topper a few years ago (and it maintains its high demand today). For 2015, “Not Your Father’s Root Beer” by Small Town Brewery is the must-have beer for zymurgy enthusiasts and laymen alike. That’s due to the fact the beverage is made by a major beverage producer and distributed by Pabst. In fact, whether this truly qualifies as a beer and not an alcopop is subject for debate. Assuming that this meets the criteria of dictionary-defined “beer”, I’d say it’s one of the most unique and interesting brews I’ve ever had.

I poured a 12oz bottle into a mug. I couldn’t decipher the freshness code. It cost $4.75 ($0.40 per ounce) [I bought this bottle at a bar].

Appearance: Soda-like complexion of dark black with ruby red highlights. Pours to a small, tan, soapy head which fizzles away quickly and completely leaving no lacing.

Smell: Nearly identical to non-alcoholic root beer soda pop. Huge vanilla and wintergreen notes along with some general spice character.

Taste: Whether this is truly a beer I do not know. However, I am amazed that this tastes exactly like the soda you can buy at any store (and maybe better than most). Up front there’s a strong vanilla flavor coupled with a spice I can’t quite put my finger on. It’s actually reminiscent of that found in a pumpkin beer – possibly nutmeg, ginger or cinnamon (or a combination of them all). It changes on a dime on the second half to pretty intense wintergreen/spearmint flavor. It actually opens the sinuses it’s so potent. If I were drinking this blind I’d assume it was merely a craft soda as there is no alcohol presence whatsoever, nor is there any malt or hop character. That makes me wonder whether this can be considered a beer and not an alcopop. Regardless, it’s quite delectable and fun to drink.

Drinkability: I was disappointed that Not Your Father’s Root Beer went flat so quickly. It might actually be better to drink this straight from the bottle rather than pouring it out. The mouthfeel is a bit tepid and slightly slick. It leaves an aftertaste of vanilla and mint, but it’s not terribly cloying. It doesn’t seem to be 5.9% ABV, but I will say it sits with a little more weight than an ordinary soda. This would make for a fun novelty dessert beverage (drop some ice cream in for a float).

RATING: 8/10

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