I came across this fortuitously at my local grocery store and as such had modest expectations. Capt'n Eli's is made in Maine so it's relatively local, so I was surprised that I hadn't seen it before.
A satisfying puff of vapor greets you when you twist off the cap. The smell is sweet and faintly of anise and vanilla, sweetened with cane and brown sugar. It has just the right amount of head and carbonation.
The makers have avoided the pitfalls of over-sweetness and overzealous use of vanilla (that sometimes leaves a bitter aftertaste). Again, they have hit upon a winning combination with this brew that rivals my favorite root beers and has become a go-to for me in my new home in New England.
165 calories per 12 oz bottle