Old Sarsaparilla – Phillips Brewing Co. (Victoria, BC, Canada)

Old Sarsaparilla Root Beer Style Ale – Phillips Brewing Company, 5.0% ABV, 650 ml., (Victoria, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft beer*)

on the front-right label:

“The stranger: Say friend, d;ya have a good sarsaparilla?

Bartender: We’ve got Phillips old sarsaparilla.

The stranger: That’s a good one.”

Ingredients: water, malted barley, hops, sarsaparilla, wintergreen, anise seed, spearmint, licorice, ginger, nutmeg and yeast


  • Style: (root beer spices) Spice/Herb Beer
  • Taste: Mainly toffee barley malt off-dry wintergreen-sarsaparilla-nutmeg exhale no thin carry
  • Where I got it : Legacy liquor / Vancouver
  • How much: $5 (after 10% off) – 650 ml., November 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: nah

Visual: (cellared for 5 years). Pours translucent medium dark copper brown with a dissipating 2mm head, ring and island retention, singular fast loose streams.

Nose: sarsaparilla/wintergreen, hints of nutmeg, caramel malt – quite inviting. (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: off-dry thin body impression, light crisp

Mid-palate: (lvl-2-sweetness), grainy toffee metallic barley malt dominant

Finish: wintergreen-sarsaparilla exhale, nutmeg, anise seed-licorice, subtle hops, flat no carry residual thin barley malt.

Summary: The initial sips are somewhat disappointing in that you get mainly a toffee barley malt bomb without the accompanied sugar rush you usually get in a beverage label “sarsaparilla/root beer”. Most of the spices are discernible at the finish, quite nice; I’m not liking the thin watery mouthfeel and lack of carry of the barley malt though.