Here is another one that took me completely by surprise. I was expecting one thing and got something totally different. It is brewed by Knox Brewing, a small family run operation in Pacific Grove, CA. According to their website, Sparky's has only been in business since 2000. Also according to their site, root beer is the only thing they brew. It started out as just a fun hobby that the Knox family would do and give out root beer to friends. Apparently there was a big enough demand for it that they decided to go into business. I still can't figure out who Sparky is, because on their site they have just a few pictures up of the family, and they list all the people in the picture and finish by saying "Sparky not in photo". Maybe it's a dog or a close relative.
The bottle is really basic in design. It has a white paper label with a glass of root beer on front and some phantom ovals (presumed to be fingers) around the bottom. The Sparky's name is strewn across the front in big bold red letters. Simple design, nothing extravagant. It's a short and stubby 12 oz.er (which i like), and it's also available in 22 oz. bottles. I saw these at the Pop Shop as well, but went with the little one instead. That's probably a good thing i did...
Here is why i was taken by surprise... the name Sparky's and the red colors on the label (as well as the red cap) gave me the assumption that it was going to be cinnamon flavored. Maybe even a little spicy or hot to the taste, like the little candy Hot Tamales. But it was far from that. What it actually tasted like was wintergreen. Now, if you've read my reviews, you'll know i like the wintergreen flavored root beers. Well not this one. It was an overpowering flavor. I seriously had a hard time drinking it. It was so strong that the first taste made me cringe a little. One of my techniques for tasting is to take two or three big swigs to let it really permeate my senses. Seriously... when i did this i almost passed out. It's like someone dissolved 30 Altoids mints in carbonated water. That's all i could taste, and it was so much that it was just not good at all. I got goose bumps every time i drank some, and i found i had to sip the rest of the bottle to finish it. It was just too strong.
My official review is that Sparky's gets 2 (two) IBCs. It kind of pains me to rate this one so low, seeing that it's such a new and small company and all. But seriously Sparky's, you need to go back to the drawing board. I guess someone likes this stuff, but i couldn't imagine who. I'm not really in the root beer brewing game, but if i was to give some advice to Sparky's it would be to tone down the wintergreen A LOT. It's just unpleasant to drink. Don't bother getting this stuff, unless you really really like the taste of a whole tin of Altoids all at once.