Saturday, June 27, 2015

Sr. Arnold (#3 reviewed - Rated 8.25 out of 12)

My first two reviews were disappointing.  I was reconsidering consuming all this root beer unless soon found an enjoyable beverage.  As I rummaged through the remaining 49 bottles, I picked the Christmas spirit looking Saint Arnold Root Beer.

Saint Arnold Brewing Company, named after the patron saint of brewing, Saint Arnulf of Metz, is located in Houston, Texas, and is Texas' Oldest Craft Brewery. The company, which opened its doors in 1994, was founded by Brock Wagner and Kevin Bartol, although Kevin has since left the company.

Brock Wagner has a long history with beer. In fact, it starts before he was born. His great-great-great grandfather came from Alsace in the mid-1800's and opened Wagner's Beer Hall in San Francisco (now the oldest existing bar in the city, renamed The Saloon.) Brock grew up in Cincinnati and Brussels, both big brewing towns, where he was exposed to many of the beer styles of the world. Then in college at Rice University, fate (and a friend) introduced him to home brewing. This love of beer and brewing was what eventually led him to the inevitable: opening a microbrewery.

Prior to starting the brewery, Brock spent six years in investment banking working on corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions projects totaling more than $4 billion. Brock graduated from Rice University in 1987 with a BA in Economics.

The founders live in Houston, Texas, and opening a brewery there made sense because it was the largest city in the country that did not have a microbrewery at the time. Brock was a longtime homebrewer and had considered opening a brewery as far back as college--although that was quickly dismissed as a silly idea. Seven years after graduating, however, Brock revisited the idea and enlisted Kevin's help, and the brewery was off and running.

The company was originally located on the far northwest side of Houston. It operated out of that location for more than fifteen years. In 2008, St. Arnold announced that it planned to move from its current northwest Houston facility to a new facility in the Northside district, north of Downtown Houston. By 2009 the company had purchased a three story 104,000-square-foot square foot brick building, constructed in 1914, which most recently served as a food service facility for the Houston Independent School District. The prominent location of the new brewery on the highway was key to its selection. The redevelopment effort was expected to take a year to complete and cost a total of almost $6 million. Due to unforeseen events, such as the theft of copper pipes from the building, the move was delayed, and was not completed until 2010.

Since it was from Texas where at one time parents giving children beer was legal, so why did they make a root beer?  The brewer believed this was not a practice they support, and created a root beer alternative. According to their website, they state:

"Making root beer is much more of an immediate gratification process compared to beer. You heat up some water to dissolve the sugar, then you cool it down and add the root extracts. Most of the extracts are from real plants, but some, such as sassafrass, have pesky carcinogens in them and thus we opted to replace those with artificial flavors. We developed a good root beer base, but we wanted a great root beer so we started playing around with small amounts of other natural flavors. We finally found one that worked great and went with that. We actually make no money on our root beer. We make it for fun and put no effort into selling it. Sales continue to climb on it even without our trying though. Oh well."

I need to get on with the review!  (For my rating criteria, click here.)

Ingredients: Water, cane sugar, caramel color, natural and artificial flavor, vanilla extract, citric acid and sodium benzoate as a preservative.  

Aroma and Flavor

The aroma is pure root beer with a hint of vanilla pleasantry finished with slight hints of wintergreen and licorice.  The first sip was pleasing yet the finish has a little watered down feel as opposed to a full body brew.  

This root beer reminded me of my Taco Bell experiences.  I often crave Taco Bell! I get the first bite and I am in heaven.  By the second bite it is still good.  Then the third bite, I think what am I eating. I lose interest and realize it is the same low quality crap I do not enjoy.  Saint Arnold’s at first has an outstanding root beer, then the enjoyment start down an a icy slope!

Don't get me wrong, this is a delicious root beer.  It has a rich, dark, root like body that very creamy. The bite boldly hit me as soon as the brew enters my mouth and lingers.  It just lacks the staying power.  It scores a 2.25 out of 3 for aroma and flavor.  That is the average of 2.8 at the start and 1.6 at the finish. 


Medium head that is foamy and long lasting. I believe this would be a top of the line root beer for a float.  The Ice Cream would keep the flavor inviting the entire time!   The score is 1.75 out of 3 for the head.


The medium level carbonation was enjoyable, although the flavor punch gives the sensation of a much higher level of carbonation.  I am intrigued by the flavor mix that created a nice zip throughout without overpowering the beverage at the start. The Score is 2.0 out of 3 for zip, again downgraded that it did not have the holding power throughout.  

Post Consumption Impression

This very dark brown that is barely transparent. As stated in the flavor/aroma section, the pleasantry changed throughout the consumption.  The post consumption impression is mixed due the unique flavor combination.  While I found it boring at the end, I still long for the seasoning used to create this beverage.  The aftertaste is very creamy and lingers, which is to be desired in a great beverage.  It scores a 2.25 out of 3 for post consumption impression.  As I would buy it again, but share it with a friend so I only get the great half of this drink.

Would I recommend this?

Yes I would!  It is very traditional and has a very balanced flavor. The solid mix of flavors allows anyone to savor the brew. The brew is smooth without any unpleasant aftertaste. The vanilla extract is the dominant aftertaste and I love vanilla.  I could consider this a “full flavored” root beer.  If like a strong brew that is strong that you enjoy over a longer period of time, you’ll like this one.

Overall score is a 8.25 out of 12 mugs, and that is more my preference for a bolder carbonation and vanilla hint.  In addition for the first 5 minutes, it was much closer to an 11, but it wanes toward the end.

The Soda jerks - A
Cosmo's - Rated 6 of 10
Anthony' Root Beer Barrel - Rated 87
Saw- Whet - 7 of 10

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