This is a craft beverage made by Blue Dog Beverages, based out of Sacramento. These guys are mainly a distributor of different sodas and beers, but they designed this root beer to hit the different flavor profiles that they enjoyed in some of the root beers that they distribute.
First impression is that this falls into the spice, or bite family. They use quillaia extract (derived from soap bark), so if you prefer a wintergreen or birch flavor this isn’t for you. This is more of that sharp root flavor. It’s advertised as being brewed specifically for root beer floats and I imagine that it would pair extremely well with a smooth vanilla ice cream in a frosty mug.
Some would consider the use of extract to be cheating. I disagree. They didn’t use a generic “root beer extract”, they found a specific flavor profile and committed. Using the extract is one of the few ways to create consistent batches over time. Plus, they used cane sugar. I care about that, but not everyone does.
A good amount of carbonation and a strong point of view give this brew an 8 out of 10. I’d like to try it again with ice cream and provide an update later.
Sampled on 1/22/2013, purchased at the Root Beer Store in Lynnwood, Washington.