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!

 
 

1776 Beverage Co. Raspberry Birch Beer

June 27, 2016
Filed under: birch beers — anthony @ 5:00 am
Type: Brown Birch Beer Comes In: 12oz glass bottle
Available: discontinued Obtained in: trade with Brad
Head: Small Sweetener: cane sugar
Calories: 130 Sodium: 17mg
Carbs: 33g Sugar: 33g
Caffeine: No
Website: http://www.heartbreakingdawns.com

i found out about this soda around 2012 I'd guess. it sounded great! a birch beer, i love birch beers! from NJ, we make the best birch beers arguably! raspberry, i love raspberries and raspberry things! and even fun graphics with the old timey bicycle and pen & ink drawings. yet i put off acquiring some. i knew it was about an hour drive each way to get it and i would probably be up there sometime anyway so i didn't dedicate a trip to just getting it. years passed and finally i was going to be in the area so i started to see where I could get some. and it was gone. no longer in production. now, i could have gone to the stores they said used to carry it and see if they had any remaining stock, but that is a more time intensive task than i was up for. so i emailed the company to see if they knew where to get any. i got no reply. i called, left a voice mail, no reply. a few weeks later Brad emailed me and asked if i wanted some, i said heck yeah! and we traded. funny that it went from NJ to OH only to come back to NJ but such was the fate of this bottle.
let me tell you another story. when i was a kid i had a lot of allergies. i had to take three medicines a lot. a brown one called 'theaphil' or something that tasted like awful, a red one called 'alupent' that was sort of fruity and a purple one i can't recall the name of that was grape flavor. why is this relevant you may ask? well because this soda tastes like someone mixed all three together, carbonated and bottled it. now this may not be the worst thing, some medicines taste pretty ok, but for me it just conquers memories of choking the stuff down. i'm trying to get past that here. it really has little 'birch' flavor to it. it is much more fruity and sharp. if i try to forget it tastes like medicine AND i not think of it as a birch beer, it is actually ok. not really good, but ok. as a fruity soda it is decent, i don't much care for most fruit sodas except black cherry and lime occasionally. so in the end, i am ok with this not being around anymore, but a little sad that a small soda company didn't continue.
Ingredients:carbonated water, cane sugar, caramel color, citric acid, natural flavor, sodium benzoate


Anthony's Rating: 67
User's Rating: 0
# of ratings:0

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Hummingbird Hill Sarsaparilla

June 20, 2016
Filed under: sarsaparillas — anthony @ 5:00 am
Type: Sarsaparilla Comes In: 12oz glass bottle
Available: WA Obtained in: trade with Eric
Head: Tiny Sweetener: sugar
Calories: 150 Sodium: 5mg
Carbs: 36g Sugar: 36g
Caffeine: No
Website: http://hummingbirdhillsoda.com/

I had hoped I would find the other two sodas in the Hummingbird Hill trinity of sodas, and the good doctor came through for me yet again to deliver the goods! Strangely the ingredients on all three are identical, as is the nutritional info. it has been some time since i had the root beer so I don't recall it exactly, which is a good thing or it may bias my review.
I did see though that the root beer had a 'huge' head and the rating was bad. this is obviously different as it has no head at all and is actually pretty tasty. it is especially tasty if you like licorice because that is what the flavor is dominated by. i don't think i've had a sarsaparilla that was so licorice tasting, so that is unusual in itself. it is not a bad thing, it definitely fits in with what i'd expect from a sarsaparilla, a more heavy, serious flavor than a root beer. it could use more carbonation and it is a bit watery at times, yet it is not a bad drink at all. if nothing else it is unusual in a good way, so they get some bonus for that.
Ingredients:carbonated water, sugar, natural and imitation flavors, caramel, vanilla, citric acid


Anthony's Rating: 78
User's Rating: 0
# of ratings:0

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Penny Cola Frosted Root Beer

June 13, 2016
Filed under: root beers — anthony @ 5:00 am
Type: Root Beer Comes In: 12oz glass bottle
Available: CA Obtained in: trade with Sagi S.
Head: Medium Sweetener: sugar
Calories: 150 Sodium: 45mg
Carbs: 45g Sugar: 45g
Caffeine: No
Website: http://pennycolacompany.com

i like the style here, it is kind of pop art meets soda jerk. it is at least somewhat different in that regard. their goal as a company was to not drink corn, which seems a pretty valid and admirable thing. they started in 2013 so are pretty new and i hope they stick around for a while yet. they have six flavors, all with "penny" names, although this is the only one with the flavor not in the name for whatever reason.
i get my hopes up when a new company comes around who seem to really care about their product. i think they will come up with something unique yet delicious, interesting and compelling. they did not do that here. don't get me wrong, it is tasty but it is just standard. sometimes you just want that old school root beer taste in your root beer. you get that here, they nailed it. creamy yet a little spice, sweet yet rich. it's good. not great, but good. i'd reach for it occasionally if it was around and not much else was except big market stuff. but it is not really so i won't go out of my way to get more.
Ingredients:carbonated water, sugar, caramel color, citric acid, sodium benzoate, natural flavor


Anthony's Rating: 72
User's Rating: 0
# of ratings:0

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Angus O’Neil’s Root Beer

June 6, 2016
Filed under: root beers — anthony @ 5:00 am
Type: Root Beer Comes In: 375 ml glass bottle
Available: Australia Obtained in: trade with Eric
Head: Medium Sweetener: sugar
Caffeine: No
Website: http://www.slades.com.au/

now here is a soda I have been after for years! as has the good doctor and he finally gave in and ordered some, then, very very kindly traded a bottle of it to me. you have to love the camaraderie in the root beer reviewing world! we help each other out. well, mostly. getting any of the many Australian or New Zealand sodas that are out there is always a huge triumph. in part because most companies are unwilling to even try to ship them and also because it is so crazy expensive to ship filled glass bottles across oceans and giant landmasses. this is actually made by Slade Beverages currently from an over 100 year old recipe and named after the son of Frederick O'Neil who founded a table ale bottler from North Fitzroy. my experiences with Australian sodas has mostly been good so I am always excited to try more. they seem to go for a much more licorice and generally herbal taste than their US counterparts.
i like their bottle, all short and stout, it is unusual and set it apart very well. again though, i think this size is more common in Australia, from my very limited knowledge of such things.
let's pop the top and see how this one is… yes indeed, very licorice heavy! whoa! very nice! the sarsaparilla taste is also very prominent. those two tastes take over and the caramel and vanilla notes are really only noticeable on the aftertaste. this is not a soda one should just pound down. at least I hope not. one should take their time with this one, enjoying the flavors as they develop on your pallet. I really enjoy the more complex and herbal sodas when they are pulled off well. and this one does it excellently. something like Bundaberg goes a little too far, but they taste is pretty similar to this, if I were to reference a more readily available soda. this is reasonably sweet as well, and that balances the more herbal, heartiness of the brew well. i definitely enjoyed it greatly.
Ingredients:carbonated water, sugar, sarsaparilla flavor, licorice extract, ginger extract, vanilla, caramel (150), citric acid (330), preservative (211)


Anthony's Rating: 95
User's Rating: 0
# of ratings:0

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