The Fizz: Henry Weinhard’s Root Beer

The first guys I worked with in the West were so nuts for Henry Weinhard’s beer, they called him Hank. Brewed in Portland, Ore., Hank’s beer could stand up Henry Weinhard Root Beerto any of the back-East brews in their original hometowns.

Times changed. The brewery was sold twice, then closed, though Hank’s name lives on products brewed for SABMiller.

Like many breweries, Henry Weinhard’s turned to making soda during Prohibition. So Henry Weinhard’s Root Beer was born. It is still made as a “gourmet soda.”

Much of the appeal comes from the marketing persona created about Henry Weinhard himself. A German immigrant who supposedly arrived in the United States with only a recipe and a kettle in which to cook it, he once offered to pump beer through a new public fountain in Portland. What would he think of the root beer made in his name?

What’s in it: Carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, caramel color, vanilla extract, natural flavors, phosphoric acid, sodium benzoate (preserves freshness),

Hank on the cap.

Hank on the cap.

honey essence, acacia sassafras extract.

Appearance: Deep brown, loads of bubbles, deep head of foam. Looks extremely promising!

Aroma: Vanilla, wintergreen, rooty, sweet. Smells good!

Flavor: Sweet and watery. Gentle bubbles have no bite at all. This is where root beer flavor goes to die.

Finish: Clean mouth feel. Fast fade to nothing.

Pairings: Anything mild and nondescript. Cream cheese on saltines?

Notes: It’s hard to believe that old Hank would have satisfied his Prohibition-era customers with this weak-kneed root beer. On the other hand, if you were stuck in the desert with only this root beer to drink, you would think you had water.

 

The Fizz: Dang! That’s Good Butterscotch Root Beer

Any soda company that calls itself Dang! That’s Good had better be good, and any soda called root beer coming out of the beer capital, Milwaukee, had better Dang Butterscotch Root Beerbe better.

Vanilla is a component of root beer, so why not butterscotch? Here’s the lowdown, short and sweet.

What’s in it: Carbonated water, sugar, natural and artificial flavors, caramel color, citric acid, sodium benzoate (preservative).

Appearance: Deep brown; loads more bubbles cling inside the cup than rise to the top; no head.

Aroma: Butterscotch, vanilla, sweet.

Flavor: Root beer on the first sip; butterscotch becomes more pronounced on subsequent sips until the root beer flavors become secondary. Nice bubbles all along the ride down the hatch.

Finish: Butterscotch lingers, then fades to root beer flavors.

Pairings: This is sort of a dessert drink among root beers, so I choose Vienna Finger cookies or angel food cake.

Notes: I found myself savoring the finish, mumbling, “Umm, that’s good.” Dang!

In the spidery season

I feel a presence in the night. The cat snaps awake. He looks up. Is someone on the roof? My ears detect nothing. I follow his gaze.

A dot inches across the ceiling. It tucks itself under a slat of wood trim. The tips of its legs hang out like eyelashes.

(Wikimedia Commons/public domain)

(Wikimedia Commons/public domain)

Welcome to spider season. At this time of year, spider photos replace photos of sweeping vistas on our mountain websites. What kind is it?, worried posters ask. Wolf spider, replies one. Brown spider, says another. Brown recluse?, a poster asks. No, just brown.

Since our cold snap ended a couple of weeks ago, multitudes of spiders emerged. They have a great deal of catching up to do. Go down an outdoor stairway you went down two hours earlier, and freshly spun filaments tickle your face. Sweep, and you will find new webs in the corners the next morning. Sometimes you can find spectacular yellow-and-orange spiders in intricate webs strung between bushes and trees. That’s photo-worthy. Indoors, babies as wide as toothpicks scale the bathroom walls. A daddy longlegs stumbles across the hearth.

We are greatly outnumbered at this time of year. It is their More

How to squeeze absolutely the most from your college dollars

College teaches coursework; that’s obvious. Did you know that college also teaches important skills to help you land, keep or create the career of your dreams?

It’s true. When you ask job recruiters to name what they seek in an ideal

Linus Pauling: good student (Wikimedia Commons)

Linus Pauling: good student (Wikimedia Commons)

entry-level hire, it isn’t academic brilliance (although that helps!). It’s a collection of qualities you had the opportunity to pick up in college but may have bypassed because they weren’t required for a grade.

Here are some simple things you can do to build great qualities that will put you ahead of a grad with a better GPA who doesn’t have them.

Get to class on time. Always. Punctuality is essential to holding a job or running a business. Our college, smack in between Los Angeles-area freeways and with a parking shortage, offers you lemonade from those lemons. It will build the habits of getting up, getting out and arriving early enough to report on time.

Do original work. College is a good place to plagiarize, if you must, because you’ll only fail classes and get sanctions for it. Try it in your career, and you’ll get fired – and you’ll get a reputation that may make it impossible to get hired again. If you’re inclined to claim others’ work as your own, work out those demons in college. Better yet, give yourself enough time to do your work — most plagiarism comes from rushing – and ask librarians and professors for guidance on research and writing.

Do your best. A common saying in the hallways nowadays is “Even Cs get degrees.” Some people interpret that as permission to party hearty and slack off. To others, it means following instructions and doing your best, and not hanging your head if the work isn’t brilliant. A lot of what you do in college More

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