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!

 
 

Nickel Brook Brewery Babbling Brooke’s Root Beer

August 18, 2014
Filed under: root beers — anthony @ 5:00 am
Type: Root Beer Comes In: 12oz glass bottle
Available: Canada Obtained in: trade with Red
Head: Medium Sweetener: brown cane sugar, demerara sugar
Calories: 150 Sodium: 41mg
Carbs: 36g Sugar: 38g
Caffeine: No
Website: http://www.nickelbrook.ca

wow! so i did not read the ingredients on this one before i tried it, which is unusual for me. i should make it a standard practice though, that way i am more unaware of what is to come. usually i add all of the information into my database before i even pop the top. but i figured i should try it while it is at its maximum chilliness so i started early.
the first sip did really take me aback, it is so very complex and multifaceted. whoa! star anise, hello there! welcome to my mouth orange peel! enjoy my tongue licorice! hey sassafras, how ya been?! long time no taste. this is a good brew. Canada, you have done yourself proud on the classic american drink that is root beer. i even had to add two new sweeteners to my database for the two in here. i have never heard of brown cane sugar, but i was surprised demerara sugar was not in there already. this is also the first soda that has more sugar than it does carbs, is that even possible? only in canada apparently. i am not sure they really add much different as far as taste, but i do like the sweetness level here.
the overall flavor is very good and unique. the orange definitely adds something different here although it is subtle. the licorice & star anise are very front and center. the sassafras is right there too, flavoring up the joint. the vanilla is in the background as well, with the cinnamon. i am not quite sure what burdock tastes like on its own even though i have had a few Dandelion & Burdock sodas so i can't say if that is too present in the flavor profile. if you didn't get the gist, i really enjoyed this soda. it is a shame it is so hard to get any more. alas. it does remind me a lot of Weeping Radish actually, which is strange since they just use an extract. but so it is.
Ingredients:filtered water, brown cane sugar, demerara sugar, cinnamon bark, star anise, licorice root, sassafras root, burdock root, vanilla extract and orange peel

Anthony's Rating: 96
User's Rating: 0
# of ratings:0

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7-11 Select root beer

August 11, 2014
Filed under: root beers — anthony @ 5:00 am
Type: Root Beer Comes In: 20 oz plastic bottle
Available: Canada Obtained in: trade with Red
Head: Small Sweetener: sugar, fructose
Calories: 180 Sodium: 45mg
Carbs: 45g Sugar: 45g
Caffeine: No
Website: http://7-eleven.com

this soda was another one included in my trade with Red. gotta love the non-domestic trades! this one surprised me in many ways. first that it exists at all is surprising, because the United States has the most 7-11 stores of any country but they only sell this store brand soda line in Canada. second, the tagline on the label is "it's a flavor EXPLOSION!" now, this is sold in Canada where "flavor" should be spelled "flavour." =) and in fact they do spell it that way in the ingredients. surprising thing number three is the sweetener, sugar / glucose-fructose, what is that? sounds very generic indeed. perhaps that is the norm in Canada and this is a fine thing, better than high fructose corn syrup, yet to my American soda drinking self, it is unusual and a bit surprising. the forth surprising thing is the taste. they go for the kind of fruity, sort of mellow taste here instead of the usual generic soda approach of being generic. sometimes this alternate take works, sometimes it doesn't. other soda companies seem to go for something similar. perhaps it is an attempt to be more tea-like or herbal or something? i don't really know. it is not bad, it is not what i am expecting, but it is not wonderful either. the carbonation level is quite low, not that i mind that too much, yet some more would be a nice thing. i also would say it is too sweetened. a fruity root beer is the main point and takeaway here.
Ingredients:carbonated water, suagr / glucose-fructose, colour, natural and artificial flavour, citric acid, sodium benzoate, phosphoric acid

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

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Custom Soda Sales Root Beer

August 4, 2014
Filed under: root beers — anthony @ 5:00 am
Type: Root Beer Comes In: 12oz glass bottle
Available: UT Obtained in: trade with Eric
Head: Small Sweetener: high fructose corn syrup
Caffeine: No
Website: http://www.customsodasales.com

this was another trade result from the powerful root beer gourmet. they are a custom label shop so might appear in any guise or in any location, but probably with the same shape bottle, since that is just easier. i do like the design work on the bottle i have, from Parley Street which seems to be some sort of book publisher. it looks like something someone would have made in design school as a prototype for a project and then someone else would pin on pinterest and i would run across it and get excited about only to find it is not a real soda. believe me, it happens pretty often. #rootbeerreviewerproblems according to the good doctor, it is actually made by Ginseng Up and custom labelled all over the place. it does not indicate that anywhere on the bottle, so i have put it under the 'Custom Soda Sales' brand as that is what the label indicates.
i enjoy this drink though. it is solid if unspectacular. creamy without overdoing it, it is refreshing too. the corn syrup seems to weigh it down a bit but it is still not too heavy to enjoy. it has a basic taste without the sharpness of the major brands, a result of less carbonation causing a smoother swallow. they don't do anything crazy or revolutionary, just stay as expected and that is fine, nothing wrong with that approach, it is needed sometimes. yet you don't get to the upper echelon like that. of the custom bottlers, this one is definitely up there as one of the best. it is a shame the sarsaparilla was not better, but you can't win them all.
Ingredients:carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, natural & artificial flavors, caramel color, citric acid & preserved with sodium benzoate

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

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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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