Root Beer and Wisdom
Have been itching to IPO a root beer brewery, just so we can codename the project: The Root Beer Float.
Lame desires aside, we were attempting to shortlist root beers for the festive season and were ecstatic that Cut The Mustard* (facebook) at Greendale Avenue, Greenwood had a small range of craft sodas (and 5 gallon party kegs of Virgil’s “micro-brewed, gourmet” slosh).
There were no cheery girls on roller-skates to serve up frosty mugs for the tasting. Actually, there weren’t even frosty mugs given that the Singapore climate would make them lose their cool in less than 10 minutes.
First up, Mug Root Beer and A&W Root Beer, found in PET bottles at all major supermarkets:
Mug Root Beer was bought by the Pepsi Company in 1986 and so is found on tap almost wherever Pepsi is. In the absence of ice, what little head the root beer had dissipated rapidly. The liquid itself was syrupy sweet (high fructose corn syrup?) with a fairly non-committal but recognisable root beer-ish taste that distinguished it from its brother beverage, Pepsi.
For most people in Singapore, their first encounter with this category of beverage was at A&W. The memory of downing a heavy frosty mug of A&W Root Beer float while eating hot curly fries has been the subject of much nostalgia. It is a straight-forward high-fructose syrup + caramel colour soda, recognisable as a root beer though a little heavier in vanilla – primed for a scoop of vanilla ice-cream.
And on to the not-very-large producers:
Maine Root Beer claims to use only fair-trade certified, organic ingredients. It had little carbonation and attendant head. Very mild body (would have been all but lost on the rocks) with a predominance of wintermelon (don’t know what wintergreen tastes like but this tasted of wintermelon).
Capt’n Eli’s Root Beer was founded in 1997 by Fred Forsley to honour his father, who used to make root beer at home. It had long(er) lasting head and the bite survived almost an hour in a hot kitchen. Thought the sarsaparilla was slightly stronger in this one though main flavour ingredients are listed as wintergreen oil, anise, and vanilla. In any case, these worked well together to give a pleasant, slightly creamy, drink. Look out for the comic.
Jackson Hole Soda Co. Buckin’ Root Beer
Didn’t manage to get to this one.
Who knew root beer incited so much passion? Here are some root beer review sites (amazing to think of all the variations out there!):
- Anthony Schorr’s Root Beer Barrel
- Eric’s Gourmet Root Beer Site
- Jeff, Adam, Mike, Ray, Marc & Joe, The Root Beer Brothers
- Nik Scarlett’s Fear No Root Beer
- Jay Parker’s Monthly Root Beer
- Spike’s Root Beer Reviews and Ratings
- Mike Rastiello’s Mike Likes Root Beer
- The Minnesota Museum of the Mississippi presents the Great American Root Beer Showdown
We do horizontal tastings of root beers to try to make some sense of what is good and what is not, and so to know what to purchase for ourselves and guests, according to their tastes. Unfortunately, we can’t quite do to the same for life.
Last night, we were looking at the concept of wisdom. When we were kids, one of the things i thought alot about was what to ask for if i rubbed a lamp and the recently-released genie (who would hopefully be grateful and not cannibalistic) granted me only one wish. It was a toss-up between (1) asking for the power to make all future wishes come true; and (2) wisdom (so i wouldn’t need wishes, i’d just know the right thing to do in all circumstances).
Foolishly (how ironic), i’d elected to do a study on proverbs for my Independent Research Study in Primary 4 so as to get to the bottom of what wisdom was and so compile for myself a map for living life. Of course i was way in over my head. King Solomon, who asked for, and received the gift of wisdom from the LORD (1 Kings 3), states the reason for my abject failure:
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge (Proverbs 1:7)
If wisdom is knowledge and insight in how to live the/a good life, Solomon explains (Proverbs 1 to Proverbs 9) that though he sets out his own wisdom in the Book of Proverbs, one can only really understand it and understand how to live if one feared God. Why? Because God is the creator of the world and therefore he knows how it works because…well, he made it. But this isn’t the operation of some mechanistic karma; he is a personal God who sees all that we do (Proverbs 5:20-21), assesses our thoughts and actions, and deals with us accordingly (Proverbs 3:5-8, 3:9-12, 3:31-32, 6:16-19, 8:35-36).
And fearing God isn’t about standing about peeing in your pants, which would just make you look as stupid as you are. It is about recognising that he isn’t any old god; he is the LORD (cf Exodus 3:13-17, Exodus 6:1-8), so he knows what he is talking about, he speaks the truth, and his commandments aren’t just boring old laws but are guiding lights to show us the best way to live. It is also recognising that he himself will enforce the consequences of not trusting what he has said to us (cf Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden) because that’s blasphemy, a personal insult to the Creator.
*many more good and intriguing things at the Aladdin’s cave that is Cut The Mustard: