Big Ben’s Dark Birch Beer

May 21, 2012
Filed under: birch beers — anthony @ 5:30 am
Type: Brown Birch Beer Comes In: 20 oz plastic bottle
Available: PA, online

Obtained in: mailorder from company
Head: Tiny Sweetener: corn sweetener, sugar
Calories: 142 Sodium: 6mg
Carbs: 34g Sugar: 34g
Caffeine: No
Website: http://www.catawissabottlingco.com/bigben.htm

the final birch beer in the extensive Big Ben line up! phew! at last. i imagine this one is less "Patriotic!" than the red, white and blue birches, but i guess there is some country with dark brown in their flag where this would be 'Patriotic!'. where that country is i do not know. i do suspect though that they have never had and never will see a bottle of this soda.
this one seems to be a little heavier to me, more substantial, more hearty. i really think that is more to do with the color and my mental expectations of what a darker brew should taste like than the actual reality of it all. if i was given the five (5) birch beers in a blind taste test i seriously doubt i could tell any difference. this one is still pretty minty which i don't like as much in a dark birch for whatever reason, again, probably all mental. but the heavier-ness of it balances that out a little. as usual with the Big Ben's plastic bottles, there is basically no head and very low carbonation. this one probably has the most though of the seven (5) kinds i have had in plastic.
i do support small bottlers. i love em. they make me smile and happy and warm inside. yet i wish some of them made better product. i mean, this is fine but could be really good i am sure with a bit of tweaking. make each color taste quite different, not just have different artificial colors. i really do think these would be better in the glass bottles that Big Ben's offers at the physical stores that sell it. i think i still have to seek that out and see what is what there.
Ingredients:carbonated water, sugar and/or corn sweetener, natural and artificially flavored, caramel. red #40 or blue #1 except clear


Anthony's Rating: 81
User's Rating: 100
# of ratings:1

Log in to save your ratings and personal root beer list!

enter YOUR rating (1-100 1=worst 100=best) for this soda:

 
 

Blackie’s Hot Dog Stand Birch Beer

April 3, 2017
Filed under: birch beers — anthony @ 5:00 am
Type: White Birch Beer Comes In: On Tap
Available: CT

Obtained in: at restuarnt
Head: Tiny Sweetener: unknown
Caffeine: No
Website: http://blackieshotdogs.com/

for years i have semi-planned to do a Connecticut root beer trip with two of my best friends. one lived in Boston, one in Brooklyn and me in NJ, it made sense to meet up and get some good sodas. we has done a similar quest in New York City a few years ago which was super fun, but this one just kept getting put off. then my friend in Boston moved to San Francisco so my remaining friend and I just planned it. there are actually several less sodas to get now than there were back then, but no matter.
this was actually the second stop on the trip, the first being to load up on Harmony Springs sodas in Brooklyn, those reviews will happen shortly.
now, for a bit when i was a single man, i was on a dating website or two. one lady went by the screen name 'Blackie Kennedy' and was very intriguing indeed, very attractive, excellent musical taste, rad tattoos, gave off a very cool vibe overall, a great username, and she lived pretty close by. i emailed her, we corresponded a bit, texted a little, then she disappeared. a year later she texted me again, we chatted, she disappeared. i saw something that reminded me of her so i texted again, she forgot who i was but then recalled and we finally started to make a plan to meet. of course she disappeared. no matter really, but her username stuck with me and when i see the name of this establishment, i cannot help but think of her. so what does this have to do with the soda? absolutely nothing, but i like to ramble occasionally.
the place itself had a charm that is unique to vintage, timeless roadside fast food places. old counters, stools and menu board with young adults manning the stations, keeping the joint alive.
this is a white birch beer which is my favorite kind, so already I am excited to try it out. i find some irony in a place called "Blackie's" having a white birch, but perhaps I am just a strange fellow. the taste is pretty high in wintergreen and sugar, and that is a very yummy combination. it is up there with peanut butter and chocolate, caramel and salt, coffee and toffee. the carbonation is actually quite low, especially for a fountain soda. i don't mind that too much, but a little more wouldn't hurt. this is an excellent birch beer, perhaps the best fountain one i have had.
the building

Anthony's Rating: 93
User's Rating: 0
# of ratings:0

Log in to save your ratings and personal root beer list!

enter YOUR rating (1-100 1=worst 100=best) for this soda:

 
 

Boylan’s Creamy Red Birch Beer

August 10, 1996
Filed under: birch beers — anthony @ 8:59 pm
Type: Red Birch Beer Comes In: 12oz glass bottle, fountain
Available: AZ, CA, CT, DE, GA, IL, IN, MD, MA, MI, MN, MO, NV, NJ, NM, NY, NC, OH, OK, OR, PA, VA, WA, WI, online

Obtained in: Pathmark, Stirling, NJ
Head: Medium Sweetener: high fructose corn syrup, sugar
Calories: 165 Sodium: 35mg
Carbs: 41g Sugar: 41g
Caffeine: No
Website: http://www.boylanbottling.com

probably my favorite bottled birch beer. creamier than half and half, smoother than a baby's tummy and tasty as anything you've ever had. the vanilla makes it just go down SO easy. incredible to make floats with as you may have guessed. and it is from the finest state in the US of A, New Jersey! aw yeh, what more could you ask? ok, fine it is RED! how rad is that?! answer me! plus it is on fountain at the 7-11 right by my house, aw yeh! 64 oz for $1.34, gotta love that!
Ingredients:carbonated water, cane sugar, pure birch oils, natural flavors, vanilla, natural yucca extract, vanillin, citric acid, caramel color, red 40, sodium benzoate (preserves freshness)


Anthony's Rating: 96
User's Rating: 82
# of ratings:353

Log in to save your ratings and personal root beer list!

enter YOUR rating (1-100 1=worst 100=best) for this soda:

 
 

Boylan’s Original Birch Beer

August 10, 1996
Filed under: birch beers — anthony @ 7:47 pm
Type: Brown Birch Beer Comes In: 12oz glass bottle, fountain
Available: AZ, CA, CT, DE, GA, IL, IN, MD, MA, MI, MN, MO, NV, NJ, NM, NY, NC, OH, OK, OR, PA, VA, WA, WI, online

Obtained in: Foodtown, Warren, NJ
Head: Medium Sweetener: high fructose corn syrup, sugar
Calories: 155 Sodium: 35mg
Carbs: 39g Sugar: 39g
Caffeine: No
Website: http://www.boylanbottling.com

i love this stuff too. it has a flavor that is very similiar to their Creamy Red variety, but this one has a little mint tinge to it, making it more of an authetic birch beer. still pretty creamy and great for making a float. this may be the finest birch beer ever made. from the big NJ of course.
Ingredients:carbonated water, cane sugar, pure birch oils, natural flavors, caramel color, natural yucca extract, citric acid, sodium benzoate (preserves freshness)


Anthony's Rating: 95
User's Rating: 78
# of ratings:212

Log in to save your ratings and personal root beer list!

enter YOUR rating (1-100 1=worst 100=best) for this soda:

 
 

Briar’s Cane Sugar Premium Red Birch Beer

November 10, 2001
Filed under: birch beers — anthony @ 5:14 pm
Type: Red Birch Beer Comes In: 1L glass bottle
Available: NJ, online

Obtained in: Bound Brook, NJ
Head: Small Sweetener: cane sugar
Calories: 156 Sodium: 10mg
Carbs: 39g Sugar: 39g
Caffeine: No
Website: http://www.briars.com/

this was also at the grocery store that day. in contrast though, it is not at all superior to the regularly sweetened variety of Briar's birch beer. it is much too carbonated and it has a slightly bitter taste, when there is a taste at all. it may very well be that i am affected by only sleeping an hour in the past 34 hours, but i have not had my taste buds be affected by such actions. i am not saying it is bad but it just tastes slightly sweet, slightly wintergreen and that is all. alas… cool, heavy bottle though.
Ingredients:carbonated water, sugar, caramel color, sodium benzoate (a preservative), citric acid, natural and artificial flavor


Anthony's Rating: 78
User's Rating: 82
# of ratings:10

Log in to save your ratings and personal root beer list!

enter YOUR rating (1-100 1=worst 100=best) for this soda:

 
 

Briar’s Premium Birch Beer

February 10, 1997
Filed under: birch beers — anthony @ 9:28 pm
Type: Brown Birch Beer Comes In: 12oz glass bottle, 12 oz can, 2L plastic bottle
Available: NJ, online

Obtained in: Shoprite, Stirling, NJ
Head: Large Sweetener: corn sweetener
Calories: 166 Sodium: 15mg
Carbs: 42g Sugar: 42g
Caffeine: No
Website: http://www.briars.com/

well, this tastes like a root beer, strangely. a darn good one at that though so i am not complaining. a hint of wintergreen i guess could give away that it is a birch beer. but otherwise, a nice little kick to get you going and wanting more more MORE! ya gotta love a soda that smokes when you open it.
Ingredients:carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, caramel color, sodium benzoate as a preservative, citric acid, natural and artificial flavors


Anthony's Rating: 88
User's Rating: 75
# of ratings:43

Log in to save your ratings and personal root beer list!

enter YOUR rating (1-100 1=worst 100=best) for this soda:

 
 

Briar’s Red Birch Beer

February 12, 2003
Filed under: birch beers — anthony @ 5:12 pm
Type: Red Birch Beer Comes In: 12oz glass bottle, 12 oz can
Available: NJ

Obtained in: Bound Brook, NJ
Head: Small Sweetener: high fructose corn syrup
Calories: 180 Sodium: 50mg
Carbs: 45g Sugar: 45g
Caffeine: No
Website: http://www.briars.com/

so i am not sure if this is the same as the birch beer above, well, either of the birch beers above. actually i know it is not the same as the cane sugar one since this does not have cane sugar. but it may have replaced the other one as i don't see that anymore. anyway, this is a decent birch beer. strangely red birch beers seem to have a unique taste from clear or brown ones. not sure why that red #40 makes it taste different although i suspect it is something else more traditional. or even the yucca extractives in here. sweet with a slight kick and a not as slight but still slight fruity taste.
Ingredients:carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, caramel color, sodium citrate natural and artificial flavor, citric acid, acacia, red #40, and yucca extractives


Anthony's Rating: 73
User's Rating: 78
# of ratings:6

Log in to save your ratings and personal root beer list!

enter YOUR rating (1-100 1=worst 100=best) for this soda:

 
 

Castle Beverages Birch Beer

April 17, 2017
Filed under: birch beers — anthony @ 5:00 am
Type: White Birch Beer Comes In: fountain
Available: CT

Obtained in: at Daveluy's, Watertown,CT
Head: Small Sweetener: unknown
Caffeine: No

I was a little bit sad about this beverage. it is one i have been after for a while, they are based less then three hours from me but I had never really headed in that direction for sodas. they were really one of those old time bottlers, bottling in gorgeous glass bottles for many years. yet fairly recently they stopped bottling at all and just sold the syrup to local businesses. so i called them up to see where i could find some birch beer in their area. they were extremely helpful, definitely one of the nicest companies i have ever dealt with. They directed me to a restaurant called "Daveluy's" in Watertown, CT who served their birch beer on tap. I had no idea what to expect as i drove through the streets of Watertown. I assumed it was a steak house perhaps or something sort of fancy, but i was wrong. it was a bar restaurant. a nice bar in a very 70s sort of way. lots of wood paneling and heavy light wood furniture i believe. there is nothing wrong with any of that. i stepped up to the bar and ordered a cup to go, no ice.
i wanted to like this. i wanted to fully support them and say how amazing it is, perhaps causing a massive run on their sodas, forcing them to bottle again. but i can't. maybe it was just the fountain mix that day or something but it was just not good. and i love white birch beer. it was much too sweet with much too little else going on. carbonation was pretty well and the wintergreen taste i love so much was barely there at all. it is just not flavorful beyond the sugar. i hope to try it again one day and hopefully revise this ranking

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

Log in to save your ratings and personal root beer list!

enter YOUR rating (1-100 1=worst 100=best) for this soda:

 
 

Chuck Wagon Birch Beer

March 31, 2008
Filed under: birch beers,diet birch beers — anthony @ 5:59 pm
Type: Red Birch Beer Comes In: 12oz glass bottle, fountain, On Tap
Available: PA, online

Obtained in: mailorder from company
Head: Medium Sweetener: sucralose/splenda
Caffeine: No
Website: http://chuckwagonsoda.com

and now it is time for the sampling of the birch beer! hooray! i do so enjoy a good red birch i must admit. probably not as much as a good clear birch, but still a very good amount. i hope this one lives up to the other sodas in their line which i have tried so far.
hhhhmmm, i do like it OK but it does fall a little short. the flavor has a hint of wintergreen but otherwise i don't taste a lot here. it may be another case of the crazy amount of carbonation hiding the actual flavor of the beverage though. plus there is something weird about the taste that is there and an after taste, like it has an artificial sweetener. let me see… oh crap, there it is: sucralose! i assumed this had sugar like the other two varieties i have sampled. so i suppose this is a diet beverage. there is no nutrition information anywhere though to confirm calorie or carbohydrate content. isn't that illegal or something? curious… well, anyway if it IS indeed a diet drink, it is not bad. but if it is not, it is just OK. i would think they would label it as diet if it was, or maybe they think it stacks up with full sugar brands of birch beer. it does not so much but is a valiant effort nonetheless.
i am a bit sad, i thought this would be the best yet in the Chuck Wagon line. alas.
i just can't get past that aftertaste, it wrecks it for me. i take a swig, it is decent and then i type a little bit and the aftertaste kicks in and i go "bleeeeh" and people look at me funny and i pretend nothing happened.

Anthony's Rating: 67
User's Rating: 1
# of ratings:2

Log in to save your ratings and personal root beer list!

enter YOUR rating (1-100 1=worst 100=best) for this soda:

 
 

College Club Fiz Buffalo Birch Beer

September 7, 2015
Filed under: birch beers — anthony @ 5:00 am
Type: Brown Birch Beer Comes In: 12oz glass bottle
Available: NY, online

Obtained in: mail order
Head: Medium Sweetener: cane sugar
Calories: 184 Sodium: 35mg
Carbs: 46g Sugar: 46g
Caffeine: No

I have known about College Club for quite a while now but it seemed that I would have to go to Rochester myself to get some of it to review. which is not a bad idea as there are a few other sodas in western NY that I need as well, but it was not something planned. then they came out with this line of 'Fiz' sodas and began selling it more places. and lo and behold, one of them did mailorder! and at a very reasonable cost to boot! so i immediately sent for a mixed 6 pack. as I have not reviewed a new birch beer in a long time, this one will go first. the design is pretty good. nothing too thrilling, but fine. from what I gather from their facebook and twitter feeds, this 'Fiz' line is something that used to be made. I have no idea if they used the old recipes, if College Club was the company who made it back then, or if it is just an old Rochester area brand. but I am guessing the design is at least derived from the old. College Club itself has been around since 1922, again I don't know if that is continuous, but I think so. I do love that they still sell cases of returnable bottles, that is a rare thing. hopefully their other root beer is a different recipe than the Roc City so I can get that one as well. on with the show!
this is a very well carbonated drink, wow! so much bubble. that really takes over the taste for much of the experience. not that it is a terrible feeling but I'd rather the actual flavor be more prevalent. that flavor is good when it does kick in, highly wintergreen, more like a white birch. yet with the extra heaviness of a brown birch. it's good, pretty standard but good. i let it breathe for a while and much of that insane carbonation has left so it is much more enjoyable now.
Ingredients:triple filtered carbonated water, cane sugar, natural & artificial flavor, gam acacia, caramel color, citric acid and sodium benzoate


Anthony's Rating: 84
User's Rating: 0
# of ratings:0

Log in to save your ratings and personal root beer list!

enter YOUR rating (1-100 1=worst 100=best) for this soda: