Bottle and Label: It’s a keg! Same basic design as the Virgil’s bottles. Well done, traditional, and it looks good on the keg.
Ingredients: Carbonated water, unbleached cane sugar, natural caramel color, all natural flavors (anise, honey, licorice, vanilla, cinnamon, clove, wintergreen, cassia oil, sweet birch and molasses. No preservatives, no artificial flavors.)
Smell: This brew has the strongest vanilla smell that I have encountered in a root beer. There are also some licorice hints, but they are almost overpowered by the vanilla. It’s not a bad smell, it just seems like it could use a little more balance.
Carbonation: Low level of carbonation makes this brew very smooth from start to finish. The low level of carbonation works with this brew thanks to the smooth flavor of the vanilla. The two complement each other well.
Color: Dark brown, almost like coffee
Head: Since this brew comes from a keg and is poured slowly, there was not much head present. However, I did have a root beer float with this brew and can attest that it makes a nice, foamy float.
Flavor: Virgil’s Root Beer Party Keg has a flavor that reflects the smell. It is very strong on the vanilla. This is not bad, but it also means that the traditional hints of wintergreen and licorice that are usually present are largely masked by the vanilla. The vanilla flavor is smooth and the aftertaste avoids bitterness making this a good pick if you like a vanilla flavored brew.
Conclusion: Virgil’s Root Beer Party Keg gets some extra points just for being unique. How often do you get to enjoy a root beer from a keg? I bought this for my wife’s birthday party and it was a lot of fun making root beer floats from a keg. That said, the brew doesn’t quite rise to the top of the pack thanks to a flavor that is almost all vanilla and maybe even a bit too sweet. Don’t get me wrong, this brew is great for things like root beer floats and for people who like a strong vanilla flavor, but if you are looking for a brew with more complexity or with a traditional flavor you will have to look elsewhere. I highly recommend the keg for parties as it is a great conversation piece and the root beer is certainly better than average.
RBR’s Grade- B-