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!


Oogave Agave Root Beer

October 27, 2014
Filed under: root beers — anthony @ 5:00 am
Type: Root Beer Comes In: 12oz glass bottle
Available: AK, AZ, CA, CO, HI, ID, IN, LA, MI, MT, NV, NM, NY, NC, OK, OR, SD, TX, UT, WA, online Obtained in: Mike in Brooklyn
Head: Small Sweetener: agave nectar
Caffeine: No
Website: http://www.oogave.com

hhhmmm i am a bit suspicious about whether this is a new soda or not. you see the mighty doctor says that they reformulated this stuff when they took off Esteban's name. yet the ingredients are exactly the same. the nutritional info only varies by 2 calories less in this one. my friend Michael actually got this for me some time ago but i thought it was the old formula so i put it aside for a while. but now it seems to be time to pop it open. it was refrigerated the whole time and it is before the "enjoy by" date on there so i am not too worried.
i want to like agave, i really do. i consume too much sugar for anyone's good so it would be nice to have a more healthful sweetener to use sometimes. but pretty much everything i have tried with agave has been bad. the one exception i think was the last version of this soda. as i recall that one was actually tasty. i will go back and read my review after i form my opinions on this one. so i hope they did not screw the one good agave thing up.
i do like the graphic design work here. pretty simple, two colors, but they use a clear label and bottle to take advantage of the soda color as a background. i think they have gotten better design with each iteration of the drink.
sadly though, this soda is pretty bad. they did screw it up. it now tastes bitter and a little sour. the sweetness level is too low and it is not a good drink. it is actually much much worse than either of the previous versions on this drink.
so this is definitely a new formulation. goes to show how different two things with the same ingredients can be i suppose. perhaps they need to re-hire Esteban since he made it quite well where as in the post-Esteban era, the quality has fallen off. that is a shame. maybe they spent his salary on getting more graphic designers, but that was unnecessary really, the last label was fine.
Ingredients:purified, carbonated water, organic agave nectar, citric acid, natural flavors and caramel for color

Anthony's Rating: 42
User's Rating: 0
# of ratings:0

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Sonoma Syrup Co Root Beer Soda Syrup

October 20, 2014
Filed under: root beers — anthony @ 5:00 am
Type: Root Beer Comes In: syrup
Available: AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NJ, NY, NC, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, TX, UT, VA, WA, online Obtained in: Marshall's
Head: None Sweetener: cane sugar
Caffeine: No
Website: http://www.sonomasyrup.com

it is the rare thing that i find a new soda locally, just browsing my usual stores. nonetheless i check almost every time. places like Marshall's do occasionally get random sodas in, so i have gotten some solid stuff there that i had had before. but this time i actually got something new! hooray! i had not even known this one existed. which is not saying all that much as i am pretty inexperienced in the soda syrup/extract world. i thought this was the syrup that Willams Sonoma made a few years ago but it is not, so that is good.
i find it rather funny that the syrups i have had are usually in so much fancier packaging and also have a more upscale style to them. this one having an embossed shrink wrapped seal on the top that must be peeled off like champagne or some such thing. i do like it all of course. the market for this sort of food item is more upscale anyway, so you have to appeal to your likely clientele. it is a little strange that they threw in some vitamin C, perhaps they want some of that pirate market like Root Jack. =)
this being a syrup, it is quite easy to make, just mix 1 part of this to 7 parts of seltzer. so i mixed up 16 oz of drink and here we go. it does have a nice herbal feel to it without going overboard. mainly it tastes pretty standard yet they build on it, making it a bit more creamy and smooth with some added flavor elements. the cinnamon is yummy and present but not taking over. the birch i do not detect too much though. they balanced the flavors well.
i am not sure i would make this again, mainly because i am lazy but i might. if i were in need of some root beer syrup to stock my bar, i would keep this around.
Ingredients:liquid cane sugar, cane sugar, water, natural root beer flavor with spices and natural oil of birch, natural caramel, vitamin c (ascorbic acid), vanilla extract, citric acid, cinnamon extract, sassafras flavor

Anthony's Rating: 87
User's Rating: 0
# of ratings:0

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Firemans Brew Root Beer

October 13, 2014
Filed under: root beers — anthony @ 5:00 am
Type: Root Beer Comes In: 12oz glass bottle
Available: CA, online Obtained in: trade with Eric
Head: Large Sweetener: cane sugar
Calories: 180 Sodium: 25mg
Carbs: 45g Sugar: 45g
Caffeine: No
Website: http://firemansbrew.com

i made another trade with one of my arch rivals and all around nice guy, Eric of Gourmet Root Beer fame. well, technically he sent me five sodas and i sent him nothing so far. but eventually i am sure i will have some to ship his way. although he is close to the root beer store which gives a very unfair advantage to the competition. oh well, such is life.
i quite like their tagline "extinguish your thirst, ignite the party." that definitely goes along with the fireman theme. this company was started by a couple of firemen who really wanted a beer after battling a forest fire. so they set out to make some. instead of, you know, buying a six pack or whatever. yeah, how very american and enterprising of them! since that time they have expanded to coffee and three kinds of soda, including this root beer in my hand. well, on my desk right now, but it was just in my hand, so it is in my mind's hand. or something. granted you are reading this at least a year after it was actually indeed in my hand, so back date this all to 2012. i do find it curious that it is not "Fireman's Brew" with the apostrophe but whatever, they are not english teachers, they are Firemans.
this is good stuff! you did well firemans! creamy vanilla notes without being sickeningly smooth. some spices in there to make it interesting, definitely a little wintergreen which makes it taste a bit like a dark birch to me. it has a large head too for the visual appeal. definitely a very strong soda.
Ingredients:natural artesian spring water, cane sugar, caramel color, natural flavors and citric acid

Anthony's Rating: 90
User's Rating: 90
# of ratings:2

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faerie’s finest birch beer extract

October 6, 2014
Filed under: birch beers — anthony @ 5:00 am
Type: White Birch Beer Comes In: extract
Available: online Obtained in: mailorder
Head: None Sweetener: none
Caffeine: No
Website: http://www.faeriesfinest.com

so luckily i have found more ready made sodas to sample thus i don't have to mix up as many extracts and syrups and the like, although i did stock up on them so there will be a bunch of reviews interspersed anyway. fun fun. well, sort of.
this is the second offering from faerie's finest, who still make a buttload, perhaps two full buttloads, of products to flavor things in most imaginable ways. i am very impressed with their selection of flavors and the variety of formats that you can purchase them in. i like to think of the company as a couple of ex-hippies, perhaps wiccans, trying to have a business that supports their ideals and values and running it out of their kitchen or something. but the logistics of keeping all of these products around makes me doubt that is the case at all. although it is possible.
now, there is a picture of their website page about the birch beer extract which shows a sparkling float made with, i assume, their birch beer. it even says "birch beer" underneath. but it is brown and this is very much clear, which is just fine really but a little misleading. perhaps you are expected to provide your own caramel color? i don't know. i am not sure what ice cream would work in a birch beer float. vanilla might. coffee i think would be tasty.
so the flavor here is not very traditional birch beer at all. it fact i don't know what it is. there is a trace of wintergreen in there but otherwise it is a bizarre chemically taste. or maybe a very natural, flower essence taste? it is hard to tell. i am not a big fan. it is ok and different at least but not "good." i did want to like this one, support this business and get those hippies some money and all, but it is just ok. i am at a lose for how to describe the taste much better. very light and i will go with herbal but in an herbal tea way. yes, that is where is falls. i have had teas much like this flavor, between a darjeeling and an irish breakfast somewhere.
Anthony's Rating: 55
User's Rating: 0
# of ratings:0

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