Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Lion Brewery

The Pooj is the king of the urban jungle.
(Rocket Fizz Pasadena, October 2011)

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Lion Brewery is the same company that produces the Olde Philadelphia line of soft drinks. The actual Lion Brewery portion of the company is the second largest beer brewery in the state of Pennsylvania. Since its inception in Wilkes-Barre in 1905 as the Luzerne County Brewing Company (renamed to Lion Brewery in 1909), it has grown to become the 15th largest American-owned brewing company in the country (and thus possibly the world). Currently, in addition to the Olde Philadelphia sodas, the company produces beer under the Lion’s Head and Stegmaier labels and a single soft drink under the Lion Brewery label – Lion Brewery Root Beer.

Now if you recall, I wasn’t particularly impressed with Olde Philadelphia Root Beer, and I’m sad to say that I’m only slightly more impressed with Lion Brewery Root Beer. There’s no head to speak of, and what little there is fades fast – not what I’d expect from a root beer that claims to be "draught style." While I realize that “draft style” should really only mean that it’s served from a pressurized cask or keg, if all you’re saying is that your soda is pressurized, why call it “draft/draught style” at all, considering that every other soda out there is technically also pressurized? Most other “draft/draught style” brews at least feature some sort of head, so I’m operating from that perspective. Unless all Lion Brewery means is that their root beer is brewed, filtered, and gassed with both carbon dioxide and nitrogen as with draft/draught style beers (that do in fact feature a thick creamy head), which could very well be true but I can’t confirm at this point in time, I expect at least something distinct to distinguish it from just out-of-a-can style root beer.

But I digress. Lion Brewery Root Beer has a slight root-y scent upon opening that all but disappears halfway through the bottle. The root-y flavor is also rather slight – not bland, but not particularly strong either, more like a slightly more licorice-y, slightly less sweet IBC. A more generous description of the taste would be that it is crisp, with the ever-so-slight citrus-ish tang that you often get with cola and a slightly watery aftertaste.

Given that the word of the day appears to be “slight,” I’d say that Lion Brewery Root Beer is slightly unremarkable. That’ll equate to a low 3.

If you’ve read this far, here’s some bonus-Pooj as your reward:

The Pooj holds court with one of his subjects.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Red Arrow

The Pooj points us in the right direction.
(Rocket Fizz Las Vegas, November 2011)

Red Arrow Root Beer is thought to be named after the Red Arrow Brigade, one of the many names given to the 32nd Infantry Division of the US Army National Guard. The unit was originally formed by joining divisions from Wisconsin and Michigan, the latter of which being Red Arrow Root Beer's home state, and had roots reaching way back to the US Civil War, when they were known both as the Iron Brigade and the Iron Jaw Division. During WWI, they were the first Allied division to penetrate the German Hindenburg Line, an achievement that actually earned them the name "Red Arrow Brigade" though it was only one of many achievements that earned them the nickname "Les Terribles" given by the French.

Thankfully Red Arrow Root Beer is anything but terrible. It starts with a somewhat strongly anise-leaning scent, moving towards a nice wintergreen bite, ending with a smooth sweet finish. Along the way, there are sharp herb-y tones and a menthol-y aftertaste that lingers in the sinuses in a good way. Carbonation is on the stronger side of the middle, but it’s not out of my comfort zone – that is, it gives a good punch, but doesn't dull the senses, which still allows flavors to come through clearly without having to wait for the carbonation to dissipate (though there's really no head to speak of).

Many a root beer claims to have a "classic" flavor, but Red Arrow Root Beer lives up to what a “classic flavor" should be. Not quite the perfect root beer, but pretty dang good. I’ll give it a low 4.5.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Joe's (Again)

Whoah... Real-time mobile blogging. How do you like me now...?!? Though the auto-correct on my not-to-be-named mobile device keeps trying to tell me I'm trying to type "Shoah" instead of "whoah." I mean, first off, I'm actually somewhat impressed that "Shoah" is even in the auto-correct dictionary (though ironically enough, when I'm actually trying to type Shoah and misspell it as "Shaoh," the auto-correct suggests "shaky"...), but I'm slightly more bothered by the fact that the auto-correct would even suggest substituting Keanu Reeves' favorite word with one of the most horrific events of the 20th Century. Particularly when the purpose of my current mobile blogging is to write about something as relatively trivial as root beer...

In any case, trivial or not, that is why I'm here, so perhaps I should just get on with it. With such a drawn out introduction, you're probably expecting me to say something profound, so I'm sorry to disappoint by revealing that all I have to say is this:

Upon further sampling of Joe's Root Beer, I think I've isolated that familiar flavor that I tasted earlier but couldn't pinpoint enough to note it in my previous description: it's yeast. That means that Joe's Root Beer probably makes its own carbonated water by fermenting yeast with sugar just like in a real beer.

OK, that was all I had to say.