Root Beer Reviews: Virgil's

Virgil's is a cocky sort of root beer. The label, not content to just make one overly exaggerated claim, is packed so full of superlative that it manages to claim twice, in two separate contexts, that its taste is "so pure, you'll swear it's made in heaven." The website is equally verbose in its praise:

Think of Virgil's as a gourmet root beer. We're what Ben and Jerry's is to ice cream, what Dom Perignon is to champagne. We're a micro-brewed root beer made with all-natural ingredients. We use herbs imported from around the world and unbleached pure cane sugar.
That's the introductory paragraph on the website, which also includes a number of recipes to which you can add Virgil's, which include Pecan Pie, Rootin' Tootin' Chocolate Torte, and Prawn Tempura (really!). This is a root beer with a high opinion of itself.

Unfortunately, it's not really a root beer that's all that great. I mean, it has some good qualities to it - it's creamy and has a nice taste to it right as it hits the palate - but it fails on a number of other levels. It's major problem? A nasty aftertaste that forced me to keep drinking to try to cover the strange sensation. When I finished the bottle, I was forced to dig up some pretzels to take out the taste. Not a good way to finish up a root beer experience. It also didn't translate well into other formats - it tasted pretty good cold, but was lousy once it got closer to room temperature. To be fair, I didn't try every available option for experiencing Virgil's Root Beer. I didn't make the prawn tempura.

More intriguing is the rumors of other taste sensations produced by Virgil's, including - wait for it - Bavarian Nutmeg Root Beer, which sounds just thrilling. If someone knows how to get their hands on a bottle, I'd be curious to learn just why Bavarian Nutmeg is superior to all other nutmegs.

All it in all, Virgil's is an acceptable, tasty root beer with some strong marks in its favor and equally strong ones against it. But if this is the Dom Perignon of root beer, Moët & Chandon should double-check their vintage.