Briar’s Six Gun Sarsaparilla

February 11, 1997
Filed under: sarsaparillas — anthony @ 9:16 pm
Type: Sarsaparilla Comes In: 12oz glass bottle, 12 oz can, 2L plastic bottle
Available: NJ, online

Obtained in: Shoprite, Stirling, NJ
Head: Small Sweetener: corn sweetener
Caffeine: No
Website: http://www.briars.com/

i could barely finish this, it was so nasty. well, that is not necessarily true, it just has a huge bite / kick and a weird after taste, but once you got used to it, it was not really awful, just bad. i've had some good sarsaparillas in my day and this isn't one of them. very disappointing after a great root beer and birch beer. furthers my theory that they don't understand flavours…

Anthony's Rating: 28
User's Rating: 64
# of ratings:29

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Bundaberg Sarsaparilla

April 24, 2011
Filed under: sarsaparillas — anthony @ 2:27 pm
Type: Sarsaparilla Comes In: 375 ml glass bottle
Available: Australia

Obtained in: trade with Daniel
Head: Small Sweetener: cane sugar
Caffeine: No
Website: http://www.bundaberg.com

so this is the last of my Australian sarsaparilla trade, alas, quite a shame. i know there are more sarsaparillas in the land down under so if anyone ever wants to trade me some, i would happily do it.
i suspect this may actually be the same as their root beer, just packaged and labeled differently for the Australian market where sarsaparilla is much more popular and prevalent than root beer. although when i bought and reviewed the root beer, it was imported from Australia, unlike now where they make a root beer in a more traditionally American style bottle. the bottle thing is a shame as this is one of the coolest bottles and bottle caps i have ever encountered. it has a ring which you pull up to break the seal and then peel back to separate the top of the cap from the sides. weird and hard to explain but very different and interesting. the bottle itself is also very fun, short and stubby with embossing. great touches!
this is definitely not your father's root beer like you would expect but it may in fact be like your grandfather's. it is very herbal and strong, much like i imagine Charles Hires and native peoples originally made it.
if it is the same as the root beer i reviewed a decade ago, i have come to enjoy the taste more as i quite like this. it isn't incredible but it is different and interesting while still being tasty. does this sort of invalidate my scale? perhaps a bit, older reviews and ratings may not correlate to my current feelings. tough bananas, brotha! (i hate tough bananas, when they are not ripe yet, such a tease. like you really want a banana but it is all hard and not even peeling right and you know you will get a bad tummy ache if you eat it so you don't.)
the molasses is definitely up front here, along with the licorice. i don't sense the ginger as much but the vanilla is in the background. plus the sarsaparilla is present through-out. it is definitely worth trying but probably not worth drinking every day.
Ingredients:carbonated water, cane sugar, sarsaparilla brew (water, sugar, molasses, ginger root, sarsaparilla root, licorice root, vanilla bean, yeast), colour (150d), acid (330), preservatives (202, 211), antioxidant (300) sarsaparilla flavor


Anthony's Rating: 76
User's Rating: 66
# of ratings:6

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Caamano Bros Sarsaparilla

September 30, 2013
Filed under: sarsaparillas — anthony @ 4:55 am
Type: Sarsaparilla Comes In: 12oz glass bottle
Available: CA, online

Obtained in: order from Old 52
Head: Medium Sweetener: cane sugar
Calories: 170 Sodium: 20mg
Carbs: 43g Sugar: 43g
Caffeine: No
Website: http://caamanobros.com

i like what they say on their website, finding the most authentic ingredients possible, no preservatives, as natural as can be these days, etc. i don't think there are many natural sarsaparillas out there. Hanson's had one but i have not seen it in a while. i was quite surprised to find out of the existence of this soda when i was browsing the Old52 website to order some sodas for my father in law. as i am the only website that reviews sarsaparillas (well, semi-exclusively, i know Thirsty Dudes does one occasionally and there are general beverage review places but they are less obsessive as the solely root beer reviewing sites), i don't hear about new sarsaparillas and birch beers as often as the root beers. plus there are less of them really out there.
the full name of this is really "Caamano Bros. Soda Pop Co. High Noon Sarsaparilla" but that was too long for my tastes so i skipped a lot of the extra words.
even before trying this, the fact that they tried to be authentic to real, old style sarsaparilla is a bit scary. they other ones i have had that try to reproduce that flavor are much more medicinal than i like. taking a sniff does not alleviate those concerns.
yeah, it is kind of medicinal on the initial taste but it fades into a very pleasant flavor. hhmmmm… i like it. this is not something that most people would enjoy but i do. it is definitely a sipping soda, one to sit and enjoy the taste of, unhindered by life's distractions and problems. it is not my favorite but i appreciate what they have made and it is unique and tasty. it definitely has a strong sassafras taste, along with something akin to ginger that makes this drink similar to a good ginger beer without the "hot" spiciness of ginger beer. it is a really good drink. hearty, complex and interesting.
Ingredients:carbonated water, cane sugar, organic and natural flavorings, caramel color, organic acacia gum, citric acid


Anthony's Rating: 91
User's Rating: 65
# of ratings:2

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Cascade Traditional Sarsaparilla

April 6, 2011
Filed under: sarsaparillas — anthony @ 1:36 am
Type: Sarsaparilla Comes In: 375 ml glass bottle
Available: Australia

Obtained in: trade with Daniel
Head: Small Sweetener: sugar
Caffeine: No
Website: http://cascadedrinks.com.au

so the Australian sarsaparilla reviews keep on coming! again, the bottle is a unique shape although there are a couple of US sodas that come in a bottle something like this. the graphic design is also very good. more old school modern lines meets 50s America but in a good way. the company tagline is "Refreshingly Tasmanian" which honestly means nothing to me. i really have no impression or preconceived notion of what Tasmania is like or how it is distinct from the rest of Australia. the cartoon Tasmanian Devil is about all i can conquer up and i know that is not at all what a real tasmanian devil looks like anyway. i suppose that is my uneducated American poking its ugly head up. alas.
so going to the website, i find that this company is owned by Fosters, which is Australian for "beer" and all of that. interesting. although they do not even list the sarsaparilla on the site as an option. weird. oh wait, there it is, under "Traditional" right by "Ice Cream Soda." what?! i need someone to tell me what Ice Cream Soda tastes like. i am very curious… wow, all of the flavors are like the weird ones, strawberries & cream and peaches & cream as well as not just lemon, but lemonade, lemon & lime AND lime quench. wow, they like their citrus fruit flavored carbonated beverages! so do i actually. there is no cola, but there is a cola-cream. i gather they like dairy products in their sodas. i would not count most if any of those things as "classic" soda flavors, but i will assume in Tasmania, stuff is different, traditions and the flow of toilet water and so on. plus they have been around since 1883 and i have not, so they know better than me here.
well anyway, on to the soda!
with liquorice expressly listed in the ingredients, i expected that to be a strong flavor, er flavour, but it is not. it is there but more of an undertone, you have to think about it. in fact, there is not much of a flavour at all. it is very watery. sugary water mind you, but it does not have a strong taste. you know you are drinking soda, it has that "soda essence" and carbonation but i may not even guess this was a sarsaparilla. it could be a weak cola or even ginger ale. i am not telling you it is bad, it just is.
Ingredients:carbonated water, sugar, natural colour (150d from wheat syrup), flavours (liquorice & sarsaparilla), food acid (330)


Anthony's Rating: 71
User's Rating: 0
# of ratings:0

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Chuck Wagon Sarsaparilla

March 14, 2008
Filed under: sarsaparillas — anthony @ 1:59 pm
Type: Sarsaparilla Comes In: 12oz glass bottle, fountain, On Tap
Available: PA, online

Obtained in: mail order from company
Head: Medium Sweetener: cane sugar
Caffeine: No
Website: http://chuckwagonsoda.com

i happen to come upon this brand in my relentless web searches for new sodas i have not tried. let me tell you though that it is such a wonderful feeling to actually find a new brand, never mind a brand that makes root beer, birch beer, sarsaparilla AND diet root beer, let alone one from which i can mail order all or any of these things. so it was an exceedingly happy day when i came upon this company's website!
i really like the concept of this company too, they seem to have this mobile soda fountain on a wagon which they take to various events. plus they sell the whole set up to other people who want to do the same. although, to me, it seems rather hard to transport a chuck wagon with all of this stuff, it must not be so bad really.
so how is it you may ask?
the answer, dear readers, is "really stinkin' good!" the flavor is very full and up front and strong but not overwhelming. it starts a little sharp, then the sweetness comes in with the root flavor and finally that fades into a licorice taste. i quite enjoy this and am glad i got a couple of bottles of this. i am very curious how the other sodas are and if they are all that different from this one. i mean, if i were to guess, i would call this a root beer, not a sarsaparilla, but it is a tough call.

Anthony's Rating: 93
User's Rating: 77
# of ratings:10

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Columbia Soda Works Sarsaparilla Soda HFCS recipe

February 20, 2008
Filed under: sarsaparillas — anthony @ 5:48 pm
Type: Sarsaparilla Comes In: 12oz glass bottle
Available: CA

Obtained in: mail from company
Head: Small Sweetener: high fructose corn syrup
Calories: 170 Sodium: 20mg
Carbs: 43g Sugar: 42g
Caffeine: No
Website: http://www.columbiasodaworks.com

wow, so that sidebar "sodas i need" thing really is working! a wonderfully friendly gal from Columbia Soda Works contacted me and offered to send a bottle my way for review, so terribly kind! of course i mainly forgot about it, partly since i just have no long term memory it seems and partly since people have promised to send stuff in the past and it only actually happens about half the time. so when this did come in the mail i was slightly confused until i checked my "root beer" email folder and refreshed my memory on the origin of this bottle.
wow, i think in the past i have had maybe 10-15 sodas with non-twist off caps but there have been at least five in the past month! wacky stuff. i suppose i could have added that as an attribute in my database but there is no real reason people would want to know that i don't think, besides whether they will need to pack a bottle opener if they happen to bring the brew on a picnic or something. yet, i would think the target audience of most sodas is the under-18 demographic, most of which would not have a bottle opener on their person. yet perhaps microbrewed sodas appeal more to the older audience who just might, or else at least would enjoy this beverage in their home which has a well stocked kitchen including many bottle opening devices.
let me try this soda, ok?
whoa, holy licorice spider-pig! my gosh, that is so much of the flavor! mind you, this is not a bad thing, i like licorice, luckily for Columbia Soda Works. the licorice/anise taste seems to be one of the biggest distinguishing things between what makes something a root beer versus a sarsaparilla. no, this is not always the case at all, but more often than not, sarsaparillas have a licorice taste. besides that, the taste here is good, sweet yet with a little bit of a bitter bite to it, which may be the licorice again. it is hard to ignore that aspect of this drink.
i applaud this company for going all out with the licorice taste, it distinguishes this pop, yet i think it might be too much for some people. those people though are not reviewing it right now and i think it is pretty tasty! although it is not something i would crave all the time, much like candy licorice, it is something i think i would really want sometimes.
the carbonation and foaming levels are pretty low, which is ok by me although i do enjoy the look of a good head on my soda pop. not that that really affects the taste or anything anyway.
i do wish they would not use high fructose corn sweeteners but i do understand the financial pressure to do so.
Ingredients:carbonated water, high fructose corn sweetener, caramel color, natural and artificial flavors, citric acid and gum acacia


Anthony's Rating: 88
User's Rating: 91
# of ratings:28

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Cooper’s Cave Ale Company Centennial Sarsaparilla

November 19, 2012
Filed under: sarsaparillas — anthony @ 3:07 am
Type: Sarsaparilla Comes In: 12oz glass bottle
Available: NY, online

Obtained in: mail order
Head: Huge Sweetener: cane sugar
Caffeine: No
Website: http://www.cooperscaveale.com

i am not sure if this is a different soda than the sarsaparilla of theirs that i reviewed several years ago, but i will go on the assumption that it is different.
re-reading that review, i would not describe the taste as at all the same so that re-enforces my theory.
i like that they ventured away from the sameness of the old label designs and did something unique for the soda in honor of the 100th anniversary of their town of Glens Falls, NY. i am also glad they went with a sarsaparilla as the flavor.
I almost ignored this soda as i just saw the name "Cooper's Cave Sarsaparilla" in listings at online stores. but then one had a bottle photo and i knew it was at least different in that way. actually, i play a game with myself when i go to root beer soda selling sites, i cover the names and just look at the bottle photos and guess what it is. if i see something i don't know, i get a little excited. or else i get a little sad since i should know it but my memory is not what it once was and it never was so good to begin with. so anyway, this one i knew i did not know so i went with excited and ordered it with a couple other drinks. excellent decision!
the first thing i notice is just how huge and long lasting the head is! wow! rises to the top and stays there for a longer time than i care to wait.
the next thing is the taste. it is also light, like the old version, but this is kind of sweetly herbal tasting, in a good way. it is almost fruity, in the realm of a good herbal tea. it makes me think that maybe this is closer to what real sarsaparilla used to taste like, but probably sweeter than the Olde Tyme stuff was. this is a very refreshing, drinkable soda. if they have not changed the recipes of the other offerings, this is definitely the best of the lot from Cooper's Cave. this has actually grown on me a lot as i drink more. at first i was surprised by the taste and taken a little aback but now i am almost done and really loving it.
Ingredients:carbonated filtered water, cane sugar, natural and artificial flavors, caramel color, gum acacia, phosphoric acid, citric acid and sodium benzoate as preservative


Anthony's Rating: 94
User's Rating: 40
# of ratings:1

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Cooper’s Cave Ale Company Sarsaparilla

August 24, 2004
Filed under: sarsaparillas — anthony @ 5:24 pm
Type: Sarsaparilla Comes In: 12oz glass bottle, keg, 64 oz glass growler, On Tap
Available: NY

Obtained in: Glens Falls, NY
Head: Small Sweetener: cane sugar
Caffeine: No
Website: http://www.cooperscaveale.com

the sarsaparilla at long last! (just the diet root beer to go after this). a very light colored soda, that is rather unusual. more of a ginger ale color going on here. the taste is rather good, better than the other 2 flavors so far i would say. a light flavor too actually. thirst quenching but leaving you wanting more. i can't place the taste exactly, seems like a cane sugar thing with a slight bitter thing that hits your tongue. and a nice aftertaste. i always appreciate a nice aftertaste. and a good bottle. this has both.

Anthony's Rating: 81
User's Rating: 80
# of ratings:6

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Cooperstown Brewing Co World Series Sarsaparilla

January 15, 2008
Filed under: sarsaparillas — anthony @ 6:08 pm
Type: Sarsaparilla Comes In: 12oz glass bottle
Available: NY

Obtained in: trade with Jon
Head: Tiny Sweetener: unknown
Caffeine: No
Website: http://www.cooperstownbrewing.com

alright, so they don't want to tell us what they sweeten this with… very sneaky Cooperstown! i would think the "natural & imitation flavors" listing would hide their secret recipe well enough. i don't know if sugar counts as a natural flavor, it is possible. i don't see why not, it is a flavor of sorts and it is natural or imitation. nonetheless, perhaps they actually don't sweeten it at all. after tasting it, that may in fact be true. whoa, this is probably the most bitter soda i have ever had! it is honestly quite bad. the flavor is harsh and does not make my taste buds sing. instead i think they are hiding, hoping for some chocolate or something. i do enjoy some bitter things i will admit, but i suppose beverages are not something i like when they fall in that sub-genre. sweet? yes, sign me up! salty? ok, i will give it a try! bitter? uuuummmm, probably not. it just does not even taste like sarsaparilla or root beer in any way, to me. since i am the only one drinking this, that is all you get unless you want to ingest this yourself or someone else on the intertubes reviews it.
so, in summary, if you enjoy bitter, kind of sharp yet watery drinks, race to Cooperstown and buy up their stock as this may be for you. it is definitely not for me.

Anthony's Rating: 20
User's Rating: 34
# of ratings:3

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Crazy Ed’s Sarsaparilla

August 5, 2000
Filed under: sarsaparillas — anthony @ 2:58 pm
Type: Sarsaparilla Comes In: 12oz glass bottle
Available: AZ, online

Obtained in: mail from popsoda.com
Head: Medium Sweetener: high fructose corn syrup
Caffeine: No

i don't taste the smoke. that is a good thing, i hate smoked stuff, cheese, meat (well, i don't eat meat, but i didn't like it when i did comsume flesh) and so on, so i was wary of this beverage. it has a faint taste of something natural i suppose. not something i love, but i am not offended by it. not too sweet, a little bitter. yeh, it is alright.

Anthony's Rating: 80
User's Rating: 64
# of ratings:12

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