I found this bottle of Capt'n Eli's Root Beer at Faletti's and, since I'd never heard of it, snapped it up and took it home to try. I certainly loved the maritime label of the kid rowing with the parrot on his shoulder, and it makes sense knowing that the producer is in Portland, Maine (a very fine town) and called Shipyard Brewing Co.

Anyway, the label says that flavors (natural and artificial) rather exotically also include wintergreen oil, anise and vanilla. After tasting it, it's easy to pick out these elements as well as a bright almost bubble-gum like high note and a rich rooty extract. Altogether, it's exceedingly complex and delicious. My only quibble is that it might, just might be a touch sweet. Actually, it never becomes cloying but comes very close to that edge. If they could make this root beer with a little less sugar, it would probably be the best I've ever tasted.