Annex Ales root beer was recommended to me online from an Instagram friend and I’m a pretty big craft root beer fan, so I got a little creative and had some mailed my way from the brewery. Then a few months later, I found myself in Calgary and was able to pick up a few more bottles to bring home. I’ve consumed bottles in the city, bottles that have ridden in a plane and some that survived Canada Post, all of which led to a near-perfect root beer experience.
Annex Ale Project is a Calgary, AB based brewery located just south of downtown who focuses on making great beer, and lucky for me also makes craft soda. Their recipe doesn’t contain any artificial colouring or flavouring, something I look for in a craft soda, and they sweeten with cane sugar which tends to reduce any cloying sweetness you get from commercial root beers made with regular sugar. It comes packaged in a 325 ml stubby bottle and can be found at the brewery and in many establishments in and around Calgary proper.
Aroma and Appearance: It pours a clear red-brown mahogany colour with minimal fizz and some small, fast rising bubbles that can be seen climbing up near the edges of the glass.
Flavour: There’s some brown sugar notes that immediately smother your tongue and soft palate with some muted pepper spices that reveal themselves before transitioning into a rich molasses undertone that dominates the middle of the root beer. Licorice and cinnamon present themselves paired with a crisp texture and some fudgy chocolate flavours before the root beer drives towards a wintergreen minty finish.
Overall Impression: I really felt this was a near perfect version of a classic root beer. It was rich and savory, not cloyingly sweet like so many others. It had some balanced spice, more traditional molasses and chocolate malts, and just the right amount of black licorice to finish the journey.
Rating: I gave it an awesome rating of 9/10, worth seeking out as it goes a step beyond your higher-end candy shop specialty root beer.
Food Pairing: Pulled beef barbacoa, slow cooked cola meatballs or just about anything greasy spoon-like.