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!


Gnome Autumn Red Birch Beer Extract

April 21, 2014
Filed under: birch beers — anthony @ 5:00 am
Type: Red Birch Beer Comes In: extract
Available: everywhere Obtained in: mailorder from somewhere
Head: None Sweetener: none
Caffeine: No
Website: http://www.gnomesoda.com/

when i read about soda extracts in my attempt to find new ones, this is almost always the birch beer one that people recommend. sounds great to me, i like good things. not always what other people think is good, but that is another story. i would say i like birch beers that other people like though.
usually when i have reviewed soda extracts, they have directions for making it without yeast carbonation. this one does not. so i just the yeast direction measurements but carbonated it with my soda siphon bottle thing. actually now that i look for their website to link it up, i see they do have directions for force carbonation. it is basically the same, so that is good. i was worried a little that i may have added too much sugar since the yeast does eat some of the sugar to make the bubbles normally, but perhaps it is a small amount or maybe those bubbles are sweet… i always find it weird though when the directions include things such as '2-4 tablespoons of extract.' which is it?! that is a big range. i added the max since things often come out too weak with extracts i have found.
even with that, it came out more pink than red and it could use a bit more flavor. which i could add of course since it is my recipe to sort of make up as i go. besides the weak color, this is a actually a tasty birch beer. it has a good amount of wintergreen along with some nice other herbal hints in there. it is smooth and just works well. a good birch beer does not have to be too complex really.
Anthony's Rating: 89
User's Rating: 0
# of ratings:0

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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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