Monday, May 15, 2006

The Night Chicago Died

That was February 28th, 2006, the night the venerable Chicago culinary institution called The Berghoff closed its doors for the final time. While I never got to eat there, I did get a chance to enjoy one of their Root Beers last night and this afternoon. For over 50 years the Berghoff name has been attached to their Root Beer which, despite the restaurants closure is still being produced. That's a good thing, too!

The last Chicago Root Beer I tried was not very good, but Berghoff's has managed to win back some respect for their city, (altho, I am never going to like Chicago Style Pizza, no matter what). While I could conceivably still enjoy a cold draft mug of their brew at the Berghoff located in O'Hare International Airport, I don't believe that I'd like to submit to a TSA body cavity search for a mug of Root Beer. I will have to content myself with finding and drinking the occasional bottle of this nice Draft style Root Beer and make my own hand carved sandwich.

My Berghoff's acquisition was a 32 ounce screw-top bottle of Draft Style, cane sugared goodness. Chilled and served in my trust frosted Berghoff 100th Anniversary mug this elixir was a nice change from run of the mill Root Beers that seem to dominate the market, (you know who you are, people!). The first thing to hit you is the nice Draft Style aroma laced with a cane sugar scent. Then you pour it and get to see a nice head on it for the short time it's there. Then the tasting comes and you get the carbonation, a soft bite of bubbles and the flavour we all easily identify as Draft Root Beer, enhanced by the predominant taste of Cane Sugar.

While I caught a very occasional slight taste of anise, the taste which rules this Root Beer is that of Cane Sugar. The Root Beer flavouring is light, as is to be expected of Draft Style, but it still leaves no doubt that you are drinking a Root Beer. The aftertaste that Berghoff Root Beer leaves is that of Cane Sugar. Nice and clean with none of the cloying quality you often get with High Fructose Corn Syrup. This Root Beer is yummy! As another Chicago icon would say, "Berghoff Root Beer gets a thumbs up!".

Carbonated Water
Pure Cane Sugar
Caramel Color
Sodium Benzoate
Natural Flavor
Citric Acid

Carbonation: A medium carbonation. Just what you'd expect in a Draft Style Root Beer
Mouth Feel: Not a creamy feel. Just right for a bottled Draft Style.
Root Beer Flavour: Light Draft Style flavour. I picked up hints of anise every now and again. Nice.
Aroma: Cane Sugar and a light Root Beer scent
Head: Decent. Not long lasting, tho.
Aftertaste: Cane Sugar goodness that hangs on the tongue. Niiiice.
Over All: A delightful Cane Sugar and Root Beer flavour that doesn't disappoint.

Berghoff Root Beer gets a 7/10 or a B+

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Stephen V Funk said...

Greetings fellow Berghoff lover...

There is a link to this post at The Berghoff Memorial Blog. If you would like it removed, please let me know.

The Berghoff Memorial Blog is a place to share stories and memories of this beloved eatery. The Berghoff may be gone, but it will never be forgotten.

Cheers and auf wiedersehen.

Anonymous said...

Fun book

Anonymous said...

thanks for confirming that I got a flat bottle of the stuff. I found some in the Upper Peninsula, because it can't be found on my side of the country. I poured it out into a mug and never saw it so much as foam up, even a little. I've read in other places that it lacks sufficient carbonation, but my bottle doesn't have any at all. Guess I'll have to shake up the other bottles in the store to see if they're flat, too.