Sunday, July 31, 2011

Boylan's Natural Root Beer

Produced by Boylan's Bottling Co. Moonachie, NJ. A root beer with all natural ingredients.

Very attractive brown glass bottle with raised lettering and a painted label. 170 calories and 42 grams of sugar. Sweetened with pure cane sugar, flavorings listed are: oils of sweet birch, cinnamon, sassafras, anise...extracts of bourbon vanilla, yucca, and licorice. Caramel color from cane sugar.

Lighter in color with a small soapy head, just a bit of retention. Aroma is mostly cinnamon, licorice & wintergreen. Taste has wonderful sassafras upfront with soft notes of licorice, ending with a hint of vanilla. Light body, clean and balanced. Moderate and very fitting carbonation.

Interesting, well crafted, but slightly understated in flavor.

Rating: B

Friday, October 15, 2010

Jack Black's Dead Red Root Beer

Produced by Real Soda Ltd out of Gardena, CA. Bottle states "Third time available in 420 years."

Short 12oz clear bottle with a fun paper label and a strange bottle cap image. No nutritional information on the bottle. Sweetened with cane sugar, the only flavoring listed is Brazilian guarana. This root beer is caffeinated, most likely from the guarana.

Medium dark with a slight reddish tint. Small head that lingers and a bit of lacing on the glass. Aroma has licorice/anise, and perhaps cinnamon or ginger spice. Taste is somewhat mellow at first, but then finishes with a small kick of cinnamon or ginger spicy heat. Mouthfeel is a little flat and thin with lower carbonation.

Spicy and interesting. This would be a good root beer for autumn weather. The label makes it perfect for a Halloween treat.
Rating: B

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hansen's Creamy Root Beer

Produced by the Hansen Beverage Company, Corona, CA. An all natural root beer with no preservatives.

12oz aluminum can with a colorful label. 160 calories and 43 grams of sugar. Sweetened with cane sugar, flavorings listed are: wintergreen, birch, anise, sassafras, and vanilla extracts. (Nice to see actual sassafras listed)

Medium dark with a good size head, fairly good retention and a bit of lacing. Aroma is anise mixed with sassafras and vanilla. Taste has root spiciness, vanilla, and finishes with a trail of anise. A bit of a medicinal quality which isn't bad, but there is almost an empty hole feeling in the flavor profile. Like something is missing. (Hard to describe) A somewhat thin mouthfeel and very high carbonation.

Interesting, but doesn't quite hit the mark with the key elements.
Rating: B-

Goose Island Root Beer

From Chicago IL, Goose Island produces an impressive line of craft beer & soda. "Chicago Style" root beer, as stated on the bottle.

12oz brown glass bottle, clear plastic label with a nice design and bottle cap to match. 180 calories and 43 grams of sugar. Sweetened with cane sugar, no specific flavorings listed.

Fairly dark in color with a pretty good head that sticks around for a bit. Aroma is root spiciness, vanilla & wintergreen. Flavor is a great balance of complex root flavors, licorice, and creamy vanilla. Finish is a soft trail of wintergreen. Mouthfeel is sharp, yet creamy and smooth with a medium body and medium carbonation.

Delicious flavors, awesome mouthfeel, and high drinkability
make it an absolute star in my book!
Rating: A

Monday, October 11, 2010

AJ Stephans Sarsaparilla

Made by AJ Stephans Beverages, Fall River, MA. Sarsaparillas usually have a more simple and straightforward flavor profile, focusing on the sarsaparilla root flavor.

12oz brown glass bottle with a fairly simple looking paper label. 170 calories and 43 grams of sugar. Sweetened with cane sugar, no specific flavorings listed.

Dark in color with a nice looking tan colored head. Retention is short, but some lacing is left on the glass. Aroma is sarsaparilla upfront with just a touch of licorice in the back. Flavor has a nice bite that mellows to a soft licorice trail with a hint of bitterness at the very end. Higher carbonation and a crisp mouthfeel makes it fun to drink.

Very tasty...has all the key elements.
Rating: B+

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Virgil's Root Beer

Virgil's is an all natural root beer with no preservatives. The label states that the ingredients have been imported from all corners of the world. Made in Los Angeles, CA by Reed's Inc.

12oz brown glass bottle with an interesting paper label. 160 calories and 42 grams of sugar. Sweetened with unbleached cane sugar & caramelized unrefined cane sugar. Flavorings listed are: anise, licorice, vanilla (bourbon), cinnamon, wintergreen, sweet birch, molasses, nutmeg, pimento berry oil, balsam oil, & oil of cassia.

Fairly dark with a small head that disappears quickly. It's easy to pick out the anise, cinnamon & clove in the aroma. Taste is licorice, vanilla & cinnamon upfront, with notes of wintergreen. There is a bit of a medicinal quality that works well. Carbonation is on the lower side and the mouthfeel is pretty thin.

A pleasant and pretty complex flavor profile. But the thin mouthfeel and low carbonation really brings it down a notch or two.
Rating: B-

Dang! That's Good Root Beer

Brewed and bottled by Imperial Flavors Beverage Company, Milwaukee, WI.

12oz brown glass bottle with a simple but attractive paper label. No nutritional information given on the bottle. Sweetened with high fructose corn sweetener, no specific flavorings listed.

Darker color with a small head that sticks around for a bit. Aroma has licorice and a bit of wintergreen. Taste almost has a root beer candy quality at first with vanilla creaminess. Finishes with a balance of root spiciness and wintergreen. Lower carbonation and a somewhat syrupy mouthfeel.

Nice flavor, but there is a sticky sweet candy feeling that stops it short of being really good.
Rating: B-