Sunday, August 19, 2012

Saranac Root Beer



Brand: Saranac Root Beer
Brewed in: Utica, NY
Purchase Location: Canal's Liquor Store (New Jersey)
Website: www.saranac.com

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Notes: The owls think this root beer is a real hoot! You'd be wise to pick up this root beer on your next outing! (har har har, sorry guys - but behold! Some of my wife's creations getting in on this photo)

A well above-average root beer that will make anyone happy! This Saranac brew has a full-bodied, rich, traditional taste that is both creamy & smooth. This isn't anything fancy; it's not going to wow! anyone at your next party, but it's reliable. It's extremely drinkable any time of day, sweet (not syrupy), light weight, and yet, robust in flavor. It's everything a root beer should be.

Also? Great for a root beer float - and that is a statement out of experience. The vanilla flavoring in the root beer isn't so bold that it'll jump out with every sip, but it compliments vanilla ice cream like they were made for each other. The next time the wife says that we can have root beer floats for lunch, I won't think twice about grabbing a Saranac.


Overall Rating:

Monday, July 30, 2012

Frostie Vanilla Root Beer


Brand: Frostie Vanilla Root Beer
Brewed in: Temple, TX 
Purchase Location: Gifted (Thanks, Frostie!)
Website: www.frostie.biz/

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Notes: Apparently, I'm on a kick with trying flavored root beer lately. So far, this has been my favorite flavored bottled root beer (I do use the term "favorite" lightly though as I haven't had much luck with these yet), but I wouldn't say it's nearly as good as their stand alone root beer. Frostie's standard root beer is just straight up good. This vanilla root beer is good... for a flavored root beer.

If you like cream soda, you'll be pleased with this here root beer. The flavor & scent are both heavy on vanilla (spoiler!), but there are still the classic root beer notes, especially at the end, hidden in there. Good aftertaste that somehow captures both vanilla and root beer flavors evenly & lightly, but doesn't coat your mouth with an offensive funk.

Overall, it's too syrupy, sweet for me, personally. It's on the verge of tasting "thick", but doesn't cross the line into becoming it's own meal, thankfully. It's smooth and fairly easy to drink, but the vanilla flavor is absolutely dominent, so I wouldn't recommend drinking this with anything but dessert (it'd be excellent on ice cream!) or on it's own.

Overall Rating:

Monday, July 23, 2012

Dang! That's Good Butterscotch Root Beer


Brand: Dang! That's Good Butterscotch Root Beer
Brewed in: Milwaukee, WI
Purchase Location: Gifted (from Indiana)
Website: http://imperialflavors.com/

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Notes: Butterscotch puddin'? I'm down. Butterscotch candies? I'm down for those, too. Butterscotch root beer? Dang! That's strong flavoring. While I love the idea... this might be drawin' the line on my butterscotch down-ness. This isn't so much a flavored root beer, but a carbonated butterscotch ice cream topping. There is a little twinge of root beer flavoring during the aftertaste, but it's there and gone within seconds.

The whole butterscotch flavor is too much for what should be first, and foremost, a root beer, but it does have nice, medium carbonation with a small amount of bite ---- and hey, it sure does smell good (umm... like straight up butterscotch candies in case you had any doubts)! After a few sips though, I can't finish this "root beer". Neat idea, average design, just not a whole lot of drinkability.

Overall Rating:

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Gale's Root Beer


Brand: Gale's Root Beer
Brewed in: Riverwoods, IL
Purchase Location: Gifted (from Indiana)
Website: www.galegand.com

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Notes: This stuff is GREAT! In small doses. If the bottle was half it's size, I'd have gone and given this root beer 5 mugs straight off the bat for a unique flavor and amazing bite! Unfortunately, this was GREAT --- up until half the bottle was gone. Cinnamon is really packed into this bottle - so much so, it tastes like this bottle is jammed up to the brim with teeny tiny cinnamon buns throughout (or with Cinnamon Mini Buns cereal - R.I.P)! I do enjoy cinnamon flavoring a lot in root beer (and ginger and vanilla - both of which are also included in the ingredients list), but I really don't taste anything else but cinnamon & sugar followed by ginger during the aftertaste. There's only a very vague "true" root beer taste to this brew, but I do think it's worth scouting out just to experience the unique flavor.

Now, I haven't tried this, but I bet this root beer would make a great ice cream float. Just sayin'. Try it out; I don't think you'll regret a dessert with this one.


Overall Rating:

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Virgil's Special Edition Bavarian Nutmeg Root Beer


Brand: Virgil's Special Edition Bavarian Nutmeg Root Beer
Brewed in: Imported from Bavaria
Purchase Location: A garden/produce center in NJ
Website: www.reedsinc.com/virgils/

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Notes: Make no mistake, I am not a fan of the standard Virgil's root beer. But look at this bottle. How am I supposed to pass this up? Spending the $3 and some-odd-change was a risk I was willing to take for unique packaging and presentation.

This brew had a very similar taste to their original root beer, overall, with heavier anise and licorice flavors, but, in this brew, I'm happy to say that they weren't overpowering; the molasses, cinnamon and nutmeg flavors in this pint helped balance this blend out. This is a darker, heavier root beer than anything I've drank thus far (bonus points for being a lil' different!), and it was smooth and drinkable all the way through despite being a complex flavor. However, the excellent carbonation (that it initially poured out with) quickly settled and lacked bite. Bummer, but, still. It's quite the improvement over their original root beer blend, if you ask me.

Overall Rating:

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Abita Root Beer - 2nd Review!



Brand: Abita Root Beer - 2nd Review!
Brewed in: Louisiana
Purchase Location: Canal's Liquor Store (New Jersey)
Website: www.abita.com/

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Notes: This here is an updated review. I reviewed Abita before after I received it as a gift, and, while it was awesome, I felt the flavors weren't completely cohesive thus robbing it of a 5-barrel brew review. Now that I've picked up this fresh sixer at a local liquor store though, I'm pretty sure that I previously received a bottle that had just been victim of sitting on a shelf too long. Why? BECAUSE THIS ROOT BEER IS AWESOME. Robust flavors, primarily of vanilla & honey with very subtle anise undertones, and a bite that packs a wallop throughout. While i still don't know if "Lousiana cane sugar" is any different than regular ol' "cane sugar", I can say the sweetener is right on the money with a light sweetness that seems to tie everything together into a nice little package of excellence. You can't ask for more than this.

PS. I'm pretty stoked to see that they updated their packaging, too. Much nicer now than it's more streamlined & cohesive to their overall branding than the previous packaging which was reminiscent of early-1990s NBA uniforms. 


Overall Rating:

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Frostie Root Beer


Brand: Frostie Root Beer
Brewed in: Temple, TX 
Purchase Location: The Franklin Fountain (Philadelphia)
Website: www.frostie.biz/

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Notes: Not only is this really good root beer, this brand has THE BEST LOGO. Dude. I love that little bearded creeper peeking out of his port hole there. Does he have a name, does anyone know? Maybe he, himself, is "Frostie"? Frostie the Root Beer Deliveryman?

Anyways. This is good stuff. It has great bite, it contains a spicy blend of prominent vanilla & wintergreen with lighter undertones of licorice & cinnamon. Very traditional flavoring; very drinkable. Do yourself a favor & pick this bad boy up.

Overall Rating:

Capone's Family Secret Root Beer



Brand: Capone's Family Secret Root Beer
Brewed in: Chicago, IL
Purchase Location: Gifted (from Indiana)
Website: www.CaponeFamilySecret.com

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Notes: This one's fairly bad, you guys. The soda was THICK (seriously, ridiculously thick) and syrupy without much bite at all, if any. I did get hit with some vanilla and caramel undertones which is promising, if the syrup situation was fixed, but i really can't go beyond this. I didn't even get a nice sugary sweetness out it. May as well have been maple syrup without the maple.

I always hate rating a root beer "one mug" because who knows how long the soda had been sitting around on the shelves before it eventually ended up in my fridge. Needless to say, I would try it again to give it the benefit of the doubt, but i wouldn't go risking spending the cash on a case of this any time soon.

Consider yourselves warned.

Overall Rating:

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mason's Root Beer



Brand: Mason's Root Beer
Brewed in: Atlanta, GA
Purchase Location: Gifted (from Indiana)
Website: http://www.realsoda.com

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Notes: Minimally sweet; big on bite (it's carbonation is reminiscent of Barq's for comparison). Mason's flavoring primarily revolves around wintergreen, but ends with a punch of nutmeg. Different, but certainly good on all accounts. Plus, I kinda love just how bad this label is with it's squished, warped type & awkward use of space.

Overall Rating:

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Bedford's Root Beer


Brand: Bedford's Root Beer
Brewed in: Port Angeles, WA
Purchase Location: Gifted (from a buddy's trip Northwest)
Website: www.orcabeverage.com/

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Notes: A solid brew. Sugary sweet with prominent fruity (could it be... cherry?!) & cinnamon notes. Smooth without much bite, and without any weird aftertaste draggin' behind.

Overall Rating: