First and foremost, it seems to me purely coincidental that this root beer shares the name of a prominent comedic actor today. But the bottle is pretty cool lookin'. It's clearly decked out with a pirate skull and some swash buckling swords and all that good pirate gear, as well as a twist on an old 50's commie bashing slang printed right on the label: "Better to be Dead Red than just plain dead!" So it's got the whole pirate effect going, and can be considered a suitable Halloween season drink with it's references to death and carnage. Looking at the ingredients, it contains Red #40. Now i didn't really pay attention to it at the time and just drank it straight from the bottle, but i think i need to get it again to confirm whether or not the root beer itself is indeed red in color. That would be fairly intriguing, right? Dead Red is actually red? So far, this thing has a lot going for it, and we haven't even tasted it yet.
As far as taste goes, it's good. I would even say very good. But here's were it throws you, and this is undeniable... it tastes like pumpkin cookies. WHAT? Where did that come from? Beats me, but it's heavy on the nutmeg. So here's my beef; i'm sitting here enjoying the persona this beverage is clearly throwing off, like it's got pheromones that are giving me pirate fever (careful... no butt pirate jokes here), but while i'm drinking it, all i can think of is pumpkin cookies and Christmas carols. How contradictory is that? I want a mean, dirty tasting drink, like it was brewed in a pirates boot, or hollow peg leg. Whatever. But it tastes like my mommy made a Christmas Eve snack to leave for Santa. It's the weirdest thing, and all i can say is you gotta try it to understand what i mean.
My official review is that JBDR gets 6 (six) IBCs. I struggled with this one, because it's good. Very good. But it's not a pirate drink, and like pumpkin cookies, i can't have a lot of these one after another. They are rich, and i don't exaggerate when i say it is very heavy on the nutmeg. So it only gets a decent rating and is relegated to the realm of the confused and misunderstood, like transsexuals and Jehovah's Witnesses (not that they have any correlation). Anyway, i think you get what i mean, but if you get a chance, give this stuff a shot. It's good.
i hear those sleigh bells ringing, a jing jing jingling too... come on it's lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with you.
Addendum: I seem to be making a lot of revisions to my reviews lately, but i think this one so far is the most worth mentioning. I was at the Pop Shop looking for new root beers, and i found this bottle of JBDR. All i can say is it's awesome. It just adds so much to the persona of the drink. These stubby 12 oz. bottles remind me of Red Stripe, which comes from Jamaica. Where is Jamaica located? In the Caribbean Sea, like the pirate movies. I think it's more than purely coincidental, but hey... if it works, i say rip it off. I was very impressed with this move, so much so that i would say as long as you are drinking JBDR out of one of these bottles, i'll give it a 7 IBC rating. That's right, i just bumped it up.