Columbia Soda Works Sarsaparilla Soda

April 24, 2017
Filed under: root beers — anthony @ 5:00 am
Type: Sarsaparilla Comes In: 12oz glass bottle
Available: CA

Obtained in: Rocket Fizz
Head: Medium Sweetener: cane sugar
Calories: 170 Sodium: 20mg
Carbs: 43g Sugar: 42g
Caffeine: No
Website: http://www.columbiasodaworks.com

I was at a rocket fizz and was not finding much new stuff so i decided to just check if anything had changed recipes. when i started, high fructose corn syrup did not have the stigma it has today, so lots of brands switched to sugar. this was one of them. the rest of it is the same, nutritional info, other ingredients, etc. but does it taste the same? let's see. well, i have little idea of what i said 15 years ago so it is sort of blind for me as well. i'll check it out after i drink this.
ooo, this is good. it is very licorice flavored and i like that. the sweetness is not syrupy and is nice and controlled, sweet but not overly or too little. it has a fine herbal, natural sort of taste to it beyond the licorice as well. i detect some clove and anise along with a healthy dose of sarsaparilla root/bark flavor. i definitely would get this again and again. i will have to check what I say for the original… ah, i was much more critical of the licorice flavor. so either they toned it down or my palette has changed a bit in the intervening 8 years. both are possible. i find it quite funny that i commented on the corn syrup usage back then, perhaps they listened a bit.
Ingredients:carbonated water, cane sugar, caramel color, natural and artificial flavors, citric acid and gum acacia


Anthony's Rating: 92
User's Rating: 0
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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
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Sycamore Drive-In Root Beer

April 10, 2017
Filed under: root beers — anthony @ 5:00 am
Type: Root Beer Comes In: On Tap
Available: CT

Obtained in: at restaurant
Head: Medium Sweetener: unknown
Caffeine: No
Website: http://www.sycamoredrivein.com/

Another stop on my Connecticut root beer quest with my friend Michael in tow. Previous to this we tried, very unsuccessfully to obtain some Freaky Dog sodas. on their website they have a list of who, supposedly, carries their stuff. we went to about six places, most had ever even heard of the brand, one said something along the lines of "oh yeah, i think we had that like 5 years ago!" not that i terribly wanted it as it is the same as Ipswitch and Mercury sodas but i never did have the diet root beer from either, so it was something new to try for. but that has nothing to do with the Sycamore Drive-In.
this establishment was in a pretty random spot, not exactly a bustling community but I am very happy that they have supported this local legend through the years enough for them to stay in business. it is quite a lovely relic, in a good way, as well. gorgeous neon signs, classic 50s roadside america architecture and decor. all wonderful stuff so far.
the root beer is served in a normal, paper Pepsi cup, so I did not include a photo of it, there did not seem much point in that.
I did not linger long at the counter, just getting my drink, taking some photos and tasting the beverage, then moving on, there was more root beer to find!
of the non-caramel root beers I have had, this may be among the most caramel. and that is a fine honor to have. it is very sweet and has a perfect level of carbonation along with a very creamy smooth mouth feel. it is a good drink. beyond the extra caramel, they don't really go beyond the usual root beer flavor, but that is enough really to set them apart somewhat from the crowd without being unrecognizable to the masses as root beer. nothing exceptional exactly but still done very well and hopefully they will continue to do so for a long time yet.

Anthony's Rating: 89
User's Rating: 0
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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
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