I’m easily influenced by pretty packaging (just look at my wife), so when I saw the wax dipped 22 ounce bottles of Gold Mine Root Beer and Sarsaparilla at my local Rocket Fizz I knew I’d leave with a lighter wallet. The bottle and wax looked identical to the Indian Wells Special Reserve that I know and love, so I assume these were bottled for Rocket Fizz by the same brewer. While the Indian Wells Special Reserve sodas claim barrel aging and premium ingredients, the Gold Mine varieties made no such claims.
22 ounces of root beer is a great size to share. Add in a wax seal and suddenly you have a special occasion beverage. This is also the first root beer I’ve ever purchased that includes a “stock” certificate on the label. Each certificate is valued at 1/5 of a 12 ounce Death Valley root beer (also made by Indian Wells Brewery), redeemable at your local Rocket Fizz. Considering that each bottle of Gold Mine root beer costs about $7, you’d need to spend $35 in order to get one free 12 ounce root beer (which usually costs about $2). That might not be the best value in town, but I won’t judge you for keeping the label.
Design and rewards aside, this was a pretty good root beer. Not as good as the special reserve, but it was above average. The body had a medium bite to it with a fair amount of carbonation. I also noted a fair amount of vanilla and wintergreen and some other less identifiable spices. I’d have liked it more with a bit of a thicker texture, or more of a lingering flavor. For me, it drank a bit thin. Maybe the fancy bottle raised my expectations higher than realistic, or maybe it was the cost per ounce. This was a good root beer at a terrific root beer price.
I still recommend it, but I wouldn’t prioritize it over the Indian Wells Special Reserve, or even a Virgil’s Bavarian Nutmeg. Similar price points, fancy bottles, but you get a bit more flavor for your dollar. This is a 7.5 out of 10 on my rating scale.
Catalog: Purchased at Rocket Fizz in Seattle, WA. Sampled in December 2017