Welcome!

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 625 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!

 
 

JJ Bitting Brewing Co Birch Beer

July 28, 2014
Filed under: birch beers — anthony @ 5:00 am
Type: Brown Birch Beer Comes In: On Tap
Available: NJ Obtained in: at Brewpub
Head: Tiny Sweetener: unknown
Caffeine: No
Website: http://www.njbrewpubs.com/

as a savvy consumer, or at least someone who tries to be, i get a lot of the 'daily deal' emails from places like groupon and livingsocial. most often i just glance at it and delete it, but sometimes it is for a brewery or restaurant that i don't know about so i check it out a bit more. one day i got an Amazon local deal for JJ Bittings Brewing Company. it sounded like it had potential at least. so i googled it up and found it was not too far away AND they make their own birch beer! that was an unexpected surprise i must say. having their own root beer is unusual, birch beer is a true rarity. but rad for me. so i was in for the $10 for $20 worth of consumables deal. it is not too far from my wife's work, so perhaps we could get lunch on a slow day or something.
fast forward seven months later i still had not gone and it was going to expire. so i just went myself for lunch one day, knowing i could eat $20 of food by myself if need be. it seemed a slow time for them so i was seated and my order taken fairly quickly. the place itself was pretty nice, all of the brewing tanks are in the middle of the room, protected by glass walls, but of course visible. i inquired about the birch beer but my waitress knew very little beyond the fact that they make it themselves and no one else was there who knew more. oh well. i got some anyway with no ice along with a veggie burger and sweet potato fries. the drink came quickly and i took some pics of the dark birch. i had expected a white birch for some reason, or perhaps hoped for it as it is my favorite variety, but no matter. i had done a lot of yard work in the morning so i was thirsty and eager to try it out. i was very happy after that first sip. i try to keep my expectations low when i try a new soda, especially one on draft at a brewery. this one though was pretty spot on. the wintergreen level was excellent, which is one of the major factors that makes or breaks a birch beer for me. the sweetness was right on also. i would guess it is cane sugar they used as it was not syrupy and heavy as corn syrup drinks seem to be. carbonation was perfect, definitely there and adding something to the drink without taking anything away but stabbing me or making me burp a lot. this one reminds me a lot of Boylans regular Birch. it is not creamy but i think it would work as a base for a float anyway. i am surprised they do not offer a birch beer float actually. oh well, i should have put that on the comment card i suppose.
Anthony's Rating: 93
User's Rating: 0
# of ratings:0

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Life Root Beer

July 21, 2014
Filed under: root beers — anthony @ 5:00 am
Type: Root Beer Comes In: 12 oz can
Available: Canada Obtained in: trade with Red
Head: Small Sweetener: sugar
Calories: 170 Sodium: 30mg
Carbs: 47g Sugar: 46g
Caffeine: No
Website: http://www1.shoppersdrugmart.ca

another soda coming from my trade with Red, the Canadian connection. this one seems to be the store brand of Shoppers Drug Mart, who, judging from their website, are quite widespread in our neighbor to the north. whatever. perhaps they know how to make a better store brand than the United States does. i doubt it, but we shall soon see. or at least i will unless you are playing along at home which would be very weird indeed. impressive, extremely impressive, but creepy.
it does taste different. i will give it that at least from the start. yet it is not different in a better way. i am trying to place the flavour difference. i am tempted to go with cinnamon, brown not red, but that is not quite right. it has a light sweetness on the initial drink which becomes more intense and actually is quite high in the end. it is actually too high for my liking. it is nice in a way that they don't stick to the expected root beer script but it does not succeed fully. it just ends up too syrupy sweet for me and the taste is off in a way i don't enjoy too much. but for a store brand, it is not that bad. if that is your sole realm of availability, go for it, you could do worse.
Ingredients:carbonated water, sugar/glucose-fructose, colour, potassium bonzoate, natural and artificial flavour, citric acid, calcium disodium edta

Anthony's Rating: 61
User's Rating: 0
# of ratings:0

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Squamscot Sarsaparilla

July 14, 2014
Filed under: sarsaparillas — anthony @ 5:00 am
Type: Sarsaparilla Comes In: 12oz glass bottle
Available: MA, NH, online Obtained in: trade with Red
Head: Medium Sweetener: cane sugar
Caffeine: No
Website: http://www.nhsoda.com/

i would say that out of all the companies with multiple sodas fitting my review criteria, that it has taken me the longest to review all of the sodas from this company. perhaps Avery is a bit ahead as i have yet to review this birch beer, but i do have it, so it might end up being close. anyway, i recently got an email from a fellow in canada by the name of Red offering to trade me a mess of Canadian brews for some US ones. of course i accepted as i have been trying to find such a connection for years. i was unaware mainly though of what he was sending. that he included this one and the Avery Birch i have been looking for for a while was exciting albeit non-Canadian.
as i recall, i have not been terribly impressed with the other offerings from Squamscot, despite really wanting to like them. i mean, that is a very cool name, Squamscot. it rolls off the tongue. Their design work is pretty old timey, simple, a couple colors, just varying the soda name on each label. that is fine, it adds to the charm. plus any company around since 1863 has to do something right. i think this sarsaparilla might be part of the key there. it is tasty. it is different enough from a usual root beer taste and is firmly in the realm of the usual sarsaparilla taste. now, in general tasting like a standard is a bit of a minus. but there are so few sarsaparillas and the ones that do it right on are rare so they get bonus points. it is rooty and herbal while still being strong and sweet. they balance it all very well. i don't like that it has Red #40 in it, but that is just me being picky about what i put in me.
Ingredients:pure carbonated water, cane sugar, citric acid, natural and artificial flavors, caramel color, fd&c red #40 and preserved with sodium benzoate

Anthony's Rating: 91
User's Rating: 0
# of ratings:0

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A & W Ten Root Beer

July 7, 2014
Filed under: diet root beers — anthony @ 5:00 am
Type: Diet Root Beer Comes In: 12 oz can, 20 oz plastic bottle, 2L plastic bottle
Available: everywhere Obtained in: grocery store somewhere
Head: Small Sweetener: high fructose corn syrup, aspartame (NutraSweet)
Calories: 10 Sodium: 80mg
Carbs: 3g Sugar: 2g
Caffeine: No
Website: http://rootbeer.com

when i heard about this drink and this "ten" line of sodas in general, i expected it to disappear quicker than Pepsi Blue. so i wanted to be sure that i got some to review. so far, it is sticking around, but i am not sure how long it will last. we shall see. i think the general idea is this is diet soda for dudes. men don't want any frilly drink with NO calories, there has to be at least SOME! or perhaps guys don't like the diet taste. i don't know really.
i do know though that this is not a good soda. i don't think it is quite at the level of bad as a lot of diet drinks, but it is way below any sugared soda. it tastes like a diet soda, complete with the weird sticky sweetness that fades to a metallic ick. granted the 'ick' is not quite as big as usual, but it is there regardless.
the design here seems to try to stray from the usual diet pitfalls of light colors, lower case fonts and a general cheerful, happy look. instead it is more industrial with lots of capitalization. again, i think to appeal to the male audience. or maybe the new "sort of diet, sort of not" soda market, whatever demographic that is comprised of. they are blazing new territory here, making up the rules as they go! well, sort of, Sprecher has been doing it for years, not on this scale though. i have yet to encounter anyone this appeals to, although my scope is small i do admit. i wish them luck, it is A&W after all. yet their "float" line seemed an utter failure too.
Ingredients:water, high fructose corn syrup, caramel color, sodium benzoate, natural and artificial flavors, aspartame, acesulfame potassium, malic acid, quillaia extract

Anthony's Rating: 32
User's Rating: 0
# of ratings:0

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