November 14, 2011
Filed under: random junk — anthony @ 12:56 pm

Hello and welcome to the oldest, largest and frankly the best root beer reviewing site in the world! over 550 brands reviewed so far! i also throw in birch beer and sarsaparilla reviews occasionally while i am at it since to me, they are the same genre. once in a while i even detour into other branches of the root beer tree, such as spruce beer, dandelion & burdock and the like. a new review publishes every week on Monday with the random post or review of root beer related stuff every once in a while. feel free to submit your own ratings, check out the rankings from me and other visitors, see what sodas are available near you and more. make a float, tap a keg or mix some extract up and enjoy!

anthony (me) started reviewing root beer related drinks in '96 but has always loved the delicious joy of root beer and birch beer and just kept it going ever since. if you have any suggestions of features you'd like to see or sodas you want reviewed, let me know!


Barrel Brothers Creamy Vanilla Root Beer

April 14, 2014
Filed under: root beers — anthony @ 5:00 am
Type: Root Beer Comes In: 12oz glass bottle
Available: CA, OK, UT, online Obtained in: mailorder from Old 52
Head: Large Sweetener: high fructose corn syrup
Calories: 170 Sodium: 15mg
Carbs: 43g Sugar: 43g
Caffeine: No
Website: http://www.applebeer.com

i really don't know if this is a new soda or not. i am going with the "yes" camp obviously if i am writing this, mostly because it says "NEW!" on the label and the one i reviewed 12 years ago did not say that. plus this one now says "creamy vanilla" on it, which to me is to distinguish it from the other version with less creaminess. honestly i have no idea what the old recipe tasted like now, so much later and i will wait to read my own review until after this one is done and opinions formed.
so the label depicts two disturbing individuals knocking mugs of (presumably) root beer and wearing barrels for clothes. well and hats also. there is a skinny fellow with a bowler hat and cheeky mustache who is not so scary and then there is a larger guy with a cabbie style hat and giant mouth area which ends around his armpit region. i choose to assume they are the barrel brothers spoken of in the title. i choose also to turn them away from me now.
somehow this soda is both very creamy and also a little bitter. the creaminess is always in the background and the bitter comes in quick, hits you and goes away again. the head also lasts a long long time, despite there being no hiss upon opening the bottle. for my tastes, this is too creamy. but if you like a very vanilla root beer this may be great for you. outside of the vanilla, there is not much interesting about the soda. looking at my old review i do like it better it seems, so they have taken my advice and brewed something better! wow, i did not know i was so influential. cool.
Ingredients:water, high fructose corn sweetener, natural and artificial flavors, quillaja extract, caramel color, phosphoric acid, sodium benzoate and potasium sorbate as preservatives

Anthony's Rating: 70
User's Rating: 0
# of ratings:0

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Old 52 Special Brew

April 7, 2014
Filed under: birch beers — anthony @ 5:00 am
Type: White Birch Beer Comes In: 12oz glass bottle
Available: MN, online Obtained in: mailorder from Old 52
Head: Tiny Sweetener: corn sweetener, sugar
Caffeine: No
Website: http://old52.com

only on the cap of this bottle does it give away the fact that it is a birch beer. As the Old 52 General Store is located in Minnesota, birch beer would indeed be a special brew there i am sure. less so out here in the north east, although it is still a pretty underground soda flavor. i am sure i have seen this bottle cap before also, so i will have to investigate just who really makes this soda for them. i will go on the assumption that it is a different formulation than the other brand though.
as far as white birches go, this is good, normal and routine. now, don't get me wrong, i love a good white birch. it has a good wintergreen flavor which is a yummy taste. so this is not a bad soda, just average for a white birch. but that fact makes it very much above average for a drink in general. crisp, refreshing and generally yummy. not too much carbonation here and no head as is customary with white birches anyway. i suspect this does not actually have any caramel color as the ingredients specify, otherwise it would be more caramel colored. strange that they would make such a mistake though.
Ingredients:carbonated water, sugar and/or corn sweetener, oil of birch, natural and artificial flavor, caramel color

Anthony's Rating: 88
User's Rating: 0
# of ratings:0

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Maui Brewing Co. Island Root Beer

March 31, 2014
Filed under: root beers — anthony @ 5:00 am
Type: Root Beer Comes In: 12 oz can, On Tap
Available: HI Obtained in: trade with Cosmo
Head: Medium Sweetener: cane sugar, honey
Calories: 160 Sodium: 15mg
Carbs: 40g Sugar: 39g
Caffeine: No
Website: http://www.mauibrewingco.com

this is one company that is very proud of their use of local Maui ingredients! wow. it is proclaimed all over the place. i suppose if i was a company on a small island i would want to promote my local use also. you have to generate extra sales somehow to the smaller, limited population i suppose. and civic pride and eating local are excellent ways to appeal to the populace. or at least some segment of that populace. hopefully the segment that has disposable income and drinks soda.
the problem though is that in the end you need a good product, and this one is not very good. it is bitter and kind of harsh on my taste buds, harshing my mellow all up. the honey which i was excited about is in the background, but too much so. it ends up being just an herbal mess up front. that seems to be a tricky thing to avoid in the more herbal brews. you want that unique, distinct, multi-layered taste but you need to have those layers work well together not just on their own. sometimes it works out great, sometimes not.
this one is deceptive as it fades to a honey flavor so after a minute i think "maybe that was not so bad, i like honey a lot…" but then i take another drink and i lose that thought. so it does have a good ending which counts for something. strangely i find no taste of vanilla in the herbal muddle even though that is proclaimed as one of the big things here.
Ingredients:purified water, maui natural white cane sugar, maui honey, natural root beer extract, maui vanilla bean

Anthony's Rating: 67
User's Rating: 80
# of ratings:1

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Pat’s Backcountry Beverages Bear Foot Root Beer

March 24, 2014
Filed under: root beers — anthony @ 5:03 am
Type: Root Beer Comes In: syrup
Available: online Obtained in: mail order
Head: Sweetener: evaporated cane juice
Calories: 130 Sodium: 8mg
Carbs: 31g Sugar: 30g
Caffeine: No
Website: http://www.patsbcb.com/

i don't really know how i found this one. i think i was trying to find some more root beer extracts or syrups to test out and somehow stumbled upon this root beer concentrate. the idea is interesting or at least a different angle than other concentrates take. this is marketed toward backpackers as a small packet to pack and take with it and use with some water on site and their carbonator to make soda. as opposed to carrying cans or bottles of soda, it greatly decreases your load. granted you need something to mix it in and something to measure the 16 oz of water needed, but you probably have a measuring cup of some sort if you are that serious about your backpack food and drink supply. anyway the carbonator they sell is all of that in one so that is handy.
you also get some vitamins from this which is a nice benefit.
for my purposes i mixed it with seltzer water as i don't have their carbonator and i did not want to use my soda siphon bottle for this purpose. it is just easier and has the same result really.
i have to say it is just ok. it tastes sort of like a generic root beer, but more watery. i followed their directions and really squeezed every drop that i could from the packet so i am judging it on that. i could use less water next time and maybe it will be better that way. there are hints of licorice, but it is very very faint and not enough to help this one rate more highly.
i think i may try to drink this stuff straight and see how it is next time. it resembled packets of gel too much to resist. it may power me through my next duathlon quite well. =)
Ingredients:natural cane juice, water, natural flavors, caramel color, phosphoric acid, citric acid, ascorbic acid, niacinamide, d-calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hcl, folic acid, cyanocobalamin (vitamin b12)

Anthony's Rating: 58
User's Rating: 0
# of ratings:0

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