Zia Root Beer

May 1, 2017
Filed under: root beers — anthony @ 5:00 am
Type: Root Beer Comes In: 12oz glass bottle
Available: NM

Obtained in: trade with Sagi
Head: Large Sweetener: cane sugar
Calories: 148 Sodium: 0mg
Carbs: 39g Sugar: 39g
Caffeine: No
Website: ziaenenergia.com

the persistent and ever driven Sagi found this brand on a trip through New Mexico. they claim it is nano-brewed, which i don't think i've ever heard of and which i definitely can't define. i especially don't know if that is smaller than batch brewed or if there are nano particles in here or something. i venture to guess they just mean they don't make a lot at once. they donate a portion of their proceeds to a local native american tribe and sustainability projects, which is quite rad. and also a change of pace from all the companies giving money to tigers and whales and the like.
there are some very promising ingredients here, this could be a very delightful beverage if it all comes together well.
it does indeed come together well! it has a very complex and ever changing flavor. you are first hit with the vanilla and clove i believe which then fades to reveal the malt a little bit before the licorice and anise slides in, subtly to linger on your tongue for a while. it is quite an enjoyable and unusual beverage. they pulled this off. it does not quite get to the real upper echelon, although I am not sure just what would get them there, this is tasty and unique. something intangible i suppose is needed.
Ingredients:filtered and carbonated water, cane sugar, natural root beer flavor (anise, licorice, clove, mint), roasted barley malt, yucca root, madagascar bourbon vanilla, citric acid


Anthony's Rating: 94
User's Rating: 0
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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
# of ratings: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
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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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