Consistent with my annual tradition of getting older, I recently had a birthday. I’m not super keen on drawing attention to myself (at least not on my birthday), so when my wife wanted ideas about what to get me I provided her with a simple request of a root beer that I really like. This was not that root beer.
She tried, but unfortunately she couldn’t find the special reserve stuff from Indian Wells. Both Rocket Fizz locations near me had to close over the last year due to the COVID-19 impact on their business. I can’t help but feel partially responsible. Regardless, she picked out 4 root beers from Chug’s Root Beer in Lynnwood. Olde Rhode Island Molasses Root Beer was one of those interesting bottles.
By perusing the label I discovered that this is a product from Empire Bottling Works based out of Rhode Island. My previous experience with Empire was their Spruce Beer. My review back then wasn’t favorable, and I observed that they don’t have website or much information accessible via Google. I kept an open mind and cracked open the bottle with a set of fried fish tacos.
This root beer was in the family of dark rich brews that I generally like. Something similar to a Virgil’s, but with a bit less variety in the spice notes. The first flavor that stood out to me was wintergreen. This was followed by a syrupy molasses body. I’d describe the molasses flavor as a bit bitter and earthy (verging on iron/metallic), but there was enough sweetness to smooth it out. There was enough sugar or molasses in the bottle that it felt thick, but this likely impacted the carbonation. Similar to Virgil’s, there just wasn’t quite enough fizz to cut through that body.
So, overall, it was fine, but not something that I would go back for. I would have liked a bit of vanilla or some other note to compliment the wintergreen and molasses. More carbonation may have elevated it as well. Not related to any of that, this might be the most boring label that I’ve every seen.