Sunday, July 20, 2014

Old Red Eye Root Beer

There she is... Old Red Eye. I'll bet that's what the ranchers who owned the bull this root beer is named after used to say when they saw her (technically a him seeing as it's a bull, but for the sake of the story let's just pretend for a little bit). Old Red Eye Root Beer has a very brief history on the label which seems more fable than fact. The legends says this old bull would only leave his pen to go to farm work if someone poured some of this root beer into his tin drinking bowl. Sounds like someone made it up to slap on a root beer without an origin. This is bottled by the Orca Beverage company out of Mukilteo, WA. They are a distributor that puts out several other sodas and root beers, including several i have already reviewed on this blog. That being said, i don't know much else about the story/history behind this root beer, including how long it's been around. And i don't care to take the time to try and find out because winter is coming.
 
This is a typical 12 oz. brown glass bottle. It looks quite normal and ordinary. The label is nice. Only three colors, stark in contrast. I like it quite a bit. Very simple but bold. It stands out with the big bull's head drawing and Old West style font. No fuss, no filler. Just straight up label.
 
And guess what... i actually liked the taste of this one quite a bit too. It's almost offensively root beer flavored and sweetened with pure cane sugar. Very strong flavor with a big kick of something i can't quite put my finger on. All i can really say is that it's spicy (not a perfect descriptor, but i really don't know how else to put it). You know how they say Barq's has bite? (or at least they did back in the 90's) Well this stuff has some bite to it. I like it. I was pleasantly surprised. I really didn't expect much from this but i gotta say, i enjoyed it. I even made a root beer float with it and was not let down.
 
My official review is that Old Red Eye Root Beer gets 7 (seven) IBCs. I like it. It's a no nonsense root beer. Probably why they gave it an Old West motif. Grab one if you have a chance. It's worth it.
 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Dang! (that's good) Butterscotch Root Beer

As promised, here is the sister root beer of Dang!, which carries the same name. Dang! (that's good) Butterscotch Root Beer is made and bottled by the same company that does original Dang!, Imperial Flavors out of Milwaukee, WI. I don't really feel like going into the very briefly covered history of the company, so look up the last review if you're interested in learning more. I know it's been nearly two months since i reviewed the last root beer, but i want to keep this brief. I'm a busy man and have things to do.

This root beer comes in a 12 oz. brown glass bottle, a little different from your typical shape though. It's a little more broad shouldered, if that makes any sense. I like it. Not the first time i've seen it, but i will still give them props. The other Dang! i reviewed was also in a cool bottle, but not the same one. This label is just a different color scheme than the original. It has a beige/cream color to go along with the butterscotch theme. The one thing different about this label is that it doesn't have the little month/year scale thing on the side like orignal Dang! had. Not that i miss it though. I really don't care either way.

I was impressed with original Dang!, but i'll be honest... i don't love this stuff. It just tasted like those butterscotch disks, not root beer. It also leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Carbonation is ok, but ultimately, i don't really like this that much. It's quite a let down based on how much i enjoyed original Dang!. I'm pretty bummed out about it. I had high hopes/expectations. My feelings were hurt. I feel betrayed. The life is slipping away from me. I wish i hadn't tried it at all. I'll never love again. I've lost my faith. How many other ways can i say it wasn't good?

My official review is that Dang! (that's good) Butterscotch Root Beer get 3 (three) IBCs. Just did not care for it. And i don't think it really is as bad as a 3, but it deserves it for being so disappointing. If you like butterscotch sodas, maybe. But in my opinion, don't bother with this one. Go for an original Dang!. Much more satisfying.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Dang! (that's good) Root Beer

It's time once again for another review and i am happy to say this is kind of a "two-part" review as we will be discussing this root beer and a sister soda soon to follow. Dang! (that's good) Root Beer is bottled by Imperial Flavors and comes from Milwaukee, WI. Imperial Flavors has been in business since 1964, but i am not sure this root beer has been around the entire time. They also make several other flavors of soda under the Dang! brand. It's a catchy little name for a soda, not unlike So-Duh brand root beer that i reviewed a while back. I believe i got this from the Soda Emporeum. Either that or the Root Beer Store. Those are my two go to places right now, as any regular reader (which i am sure you all are) would know. Not much else to say for a preamble… so hows about we just jump into it.

I see pics of this root beer on online shopping sites as a tall 12 oz. dark brown glass bottle, but the bottle i got happens to be a stubby one (which i like). The label is very simple by catchy and probably hasn't changed much or at all since the 1960s. It's a solid brown background with an orange circle and the logo of the root beer pasted across the front. I also noted that the orange cap matched the orange circle on the label. The "Dang!" is very large and noticeable, while the "that's good" is almost an afterthought. It's almost like they were trying to capture a thought in a bottle
I also thought it was interesting that they used the same type of little letter coding on the side of the label as Steelhead Root Beer did. It's not exactly the same, and i had to get a little help cracking the code cuz i'm a dummy (see Steelhead review), but i wonder what the significance of it is. Why put it on a root beer label? Are the month and year supposed to be circled so we know when it was brewed or something? Actually, i think that really is what it's for. So never mind about those last couple questions.

I actually like this one quite a bit. Better than average even. It has a sold root beer flavor with a very slight hint of wintergreen, good carbonation, and it's sweetened with cane sugar. Kinda of a creamy finish and doesn't leave a bad aftertaste. Really can't complain. I don't think it's on the Mt. Rushmore of root beers, but it's a solid one. And because of that, i think i will be fairly generous to this root beer with my rating (spoiler, but not very much of one because my rating is just below this sentence).

My official review is that Dang! gets 7 (seven) IBCs. It's a good root beer, much better than average or mediocre and therefore deserves to be elevated above a 5 or even a 6. Well done city of Milwaukee. You've managed to give me something to say about you.


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Three Dachshunds Old Fashioned Root Beer

I got this from the Root Beer Store and it's one of my recent acquisitions. The title of this post is "Three Dachshunds yada yada", but the way it is written on the label (sorry to jump ahead a little) is "III Dachshunds blah blah blah". And to add even more variety, the website for this root beer is 3dachshundsbeer.com. So… i am gonna probably just call it Three Dachshunds, or simply Dachshunds, to both save time and appease my laziness. Just in case you're trying to search for it though, it might require the III (Roman numerals for those of you not in the know) to find it. It is so named because the founders of this brewery happen to own three dogs of the breed dachshund, or more commonly known as wiener dogs. The brewery is located in Milwaukee, WI and has been around since 2003. The owners really love their little wiener dogs and claim them as the sole inspiration of the brewery and beers they create there. This company seems primarily focused on brewing beer, but has managed to squeak out a root beer for people like me. How nice of them.

Now, more about the label. First, it's wrapped around a 12 oz. brown glass bottle and it's very well done. It features one of the III famous wiener dogs in front of a barrel laid on it's side and the proud logo stamped into the wood of the barrel lid. There is a little bit of the history of the brewery on the label, but most i read on the website. And they make a point to be one of those root beers that very proudly displays the fact that they brew this with pure cane sugar. Like i said though, it's a very well done label. Tasteful, not too showy, not too cheap, and captures what these root beer drinkers/brewers are most passionate about. Seems like dogs are the inspiration for a lot of beer and root beer companies. Wonder why that is. Is there a correlation between alcoholism and animal lovers? Anyone who wants to do a doctoral thesis on this, i give you my permission. Just report back on the results. That's all i ask.

You know what… this stuff is actually pretty good. Good solid root beer flavor. Good carbonation. Good finish, though after a while it does leave a bit of a bad taste in your mouth. I won't hold that against them too much though. And the cane sugar gives it a nice sweetness that is enjoyable overall. That being said, i don't find much about it that really sets it apart. It's definitely not bad, but it's also not terrific. It just kind of is. Like Skymall. It's just there. Sure, i'll leaf through it on a plane, but there is no way i am paying those inflated prices for what essentially amounts to being ridiculous junk. I mean come on, a torso toner? Give me a break. No one is buying that. However… if someone offered me that crap for free, i'd have a swanky new set of pajamas, i'll tell you that right now.


My official review of Dachshunds Root Beer is 6 (six) IBCs. Like the lovable little wiener dog on the label, i hold no ill feelings for it, but i also don't have any overwhelming affection for it. Personally, i'm not really a dog lover. I guess i would put it more correctly as i am not a pet person. I have had pets as a kid, but don't have or want any now. My wife is the same way, and my son is too young and stupid to know any different at this point. But i'm not afraid to disappoint him when he asks for a puppy. It's just not gonna happen. What i would give him though is a nice cold refreshing Dachshunds Root Beer as a compromise. Only cuz i'm a good dad though.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sudz Root Beer



There is a little grocery store here in Ocala, FL (and i assume other places) called Aldi. Someone told me they are either affiliated with or have adopted the IKEA model and formatted it to a grocery store, but everything i read online says it is owned by the same corporation that owns Trader Joe's. I can see an IKEA influence in the way the store is laid out though. There is a specific path you have to follow as you enter the store and wind through the aisles toward the exit. It's not as bad as IKEA, forcing you to walk through the entire store before you can get out, but there is a distinct entrance and exit strategy that they use. They carry a lot of unknown brand names at significantly lower prices than even Walmart in most cases.  But people around here kinda rave about how fresh and novel their approach is. I mean… it's ok. But i don't really get it. I buy chips there cuz they are super cheap and pretty decent, but i don't shop there for much else. When i told
people i had never heard of Aldi before moving here, the one thing people wouldn't stop talking about was how amazing it was that they charge to "rent" the grocery carts. They are all locked together until you slide a quarter in this little mechanism that releases the cart. Then once you return the cart, you get your quarter back. Frankly, i find it a little cumbersome and never even bother getting a cart, but whatever. They also charge you for plastic grocery bags to take your food home in. Something like 10 cents a bag or something. Again, i don't usually bother, but i guess thats good if you're one of those people who is all "save the planet" and bring your own grocery bags with you. Whatever. Anyway, this is less a review of Aldi than it is of a particular root beer they carry called Sudz Root Beer. It's brewed by Summit (i think, but don't really care) and distributed by Aldi exclusively. Essentially it's just another generic root beer. 

I got 12 pack of cans of this stuff for something like $2.50 (Aldi has really cheap prices). I didn't even see the option to get this in a 2 liter bottle in the Aldi i went to. If i had, i would probably have gotten that. The label is well done, but is typical of a generic root beer. The color scheme and picture of the mug are a dead give away that this thing is just another store brand. So… i don't really know what else i can say about it. 

I really don't mind this stuff. It's a basic root beer flavor, but it has decent carbonation and drinks really easily. Nothing really sets it apart from other root beers, but its a good generic. Like the label though, i don't have much else to say about the taste. It's sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, so there is a little more info for you if that sways your decision at all. I will say i used it for a root beer float and it did quite well. And my two year old loves it. He calls it a "spicy drink". That has nothing to do with root beer though. He calls every soda that. And he's not very discriminatory, he loves all spicy drinks.

My official review is that Sudz Root Beer gets 6 (six) IBCs. It's pretty good stuff at a very reasonable price. I could see myself getting this again. Not sure if i'd go out of my way for it, but i liked it well enough. It's on the higher end of the generic spectrum, that's for sure. Check it out if you're near an Aldi. And don't forget to bring a quarter. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Cooper's Cave Root Beer

I think this is the last one i have left from before this new order i just received. I believe i got it from the Root Beer Store, which it's probably safe to say most of my root beers will be coming from for the next little while. Cooper's Cave Root Beer is from Glens Falls, NY. The Cooper's Cave pub makes a variety of food and drinks, including ice cream/ice cream cakes, beer and soda, and a full menu of pub food. Although they call themselves a pub and focus on making English style ales and brews, the food seems mostly American. The website doesn't have a lot of info about how long they have been in operation or any back story about the owner. I don't have a lot to go on other than what i have already mentioned. So i think i'll just leave it at that.

The label on the 12 oz brown glass bottle is fairly simple, eye catching and original. The main portrait portrayed is that of a sketched dog. I'm not a dog person, so i don't know what breed that is. It just looks slobbery. I'm impressed with the sketch though. It's one of those ones that looks simple enough for anyone to do, but probably difficult to reproduce if you're an untrained illustrator. The color scheme of red, white and blue is classy without being patriotic or overly British or American. I think they have been in business a while because the current logo on the website looks nothing like the label. Not sure if the label is specific to the root beer or if it comes on all their sodas or ales. But overall, even though a dog has nothing really to do with root beer, i think it's a nice label. I was wondering if the dog's name was Cooper and why he owned a cave, but the website was silent about those matters. I guess it will have to remain a mystery. And if you know, keep it to yourself. It maintains the atmosphere of intrigue, and besides, no one like a know-it-all.

The taste is a bit hard to nail down. I will just get it right out front by saying it's not a great root beer, and really it's only average at best. The taste is very fleeting and has a molasses undertone that leaves a bad taste in my mouth. The root beer flavor is extremely subtle and overall i think the flavor lacks the sweetness needed to balance out the total experience. It's not a very memorable root beer. Not one i will likely revisit. But for all that being said, i didn't hate this root beer. It was just kinda… meh.

My official review is that Cooper's Cave Root Beer gets 5 (five) IBCs. It's a reasonably fine root beer. Truth be told, i'm a bit of an Anglophile, and the ties this pub claims to have to Britain and English style  brewing made me have high hopes for this root beer. Unfortunately, it just doesn't stack up to some of the greats. Maybe if you're in Glens Falls, NY you should stop by the pub for some food. You might find that the root beer compliments the food, or vice versa. But for me, it didn't really do anything special.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Capone's Family Secret Root Beer

I just finished filing my taxes for the year and decided to treat myself to a root beer from the fridge. I've had this one for a while, probably at least a year or more. It came from the Root Beer Store, an online soda vendor i sometimes use to procure new root beers. Capone's Family Secret Root Beer is based on the premise that legendary 1920's mobster Al Capone used to keep his warehouses stocked with root beer instead of liquor when the feds would do raids during Prohibition. The company now produces and distributes several flavors of soda in Chicago, IL. The website says that this family recipe is now available after 80+ years, so that makes me think this stuff is fairly new to the market and has not been in production for more than 10 years or so. The validity of this story seems questionable to me. I get the feeling this is just an angle to sell sodas. From what i know, Capone was a hard one to pin down even with his involvement with several illegal activities, including bootlegging. The government tried several times to arrest him but had no charges with which to indict him. He was finally arrested and sentenced to prison in Alcatraz for tax evasion, and no it's not a coincidence that i chose to review this root beer after finishing preparing my taxes. Let's just say, i plan to stay on this side of Alcatraz's walls.

This root beer comes in a 12 oz. brown glass bottle to obscure your view from the shady dealing going on within. The label lacks any real vibrant color, but is creative in it's own right. There is a picture of a truck hauling root beer barrels over the backdrop of a root beer cap. There is a city skyline in the background with the Sear's Tower, distinctly Chicago since this is where Capone's mob operated. I've been to Chicago before a couple times and was impressed with it. Very clean city surprisingly. Not sure if i've said that before on this blog. And if i have, well… guess what. You just heard me say it again. Don't like it? Go read someone else's root beer blog, honey.

The good news is it's low in sodium. The bad new is, it's not very good. If they were trying to convince the feds that this stuff isn't alcohol, they didn't do a very good job because it tastes like a sweet beer. I don't know if it's carbonated with yeast, but it reminds me of those kinds of root beer that are fermented enough to produce carbonation but not alcohol. I will say it's easily one of the loudest root beers i've had. All the chemical reactions happening inside it are only exacerbated by opening the bottle. The root beers i would most closely relate it to would probably be Bundaburg or Gale's, both of which i really didn't care for. Gale's wasn't terrible, but i didn't really like it either. And Bundaburg WAS terrible. Those Australians really missed the boat on that one. I really don't know how else to describe this root beer. It has a sweet taste to it, but the whole flavor lasts so short a time it's hard to nail it down. The overwhelming taste though is the beer-like yeast flavor. All i can really say is that it's not very satisfying.

My official review is that Capone's Family Secret Root Beer gets 3 (three) IBCs. I was really looking forward to a nice delicious root beer. It's a shame, because this definitely did not hit the spot. Maybe Capone should have taken that secret to the grave with him cuz it doesn't belong in the root beer world.