This one was found tucked away in the Pop Shop and quickly caught my eye. It has a crazy design on the label, but we'll get to that in a bit. Journey John Barleycorn Root Beer is part of the Journey Food and Beverage Company. They actually make several flavors of soda, including two other root beers. The story is that the company was started by a guy named Mark Panely. It is situated in Putney, VT, but i can't seem to find a date of when it started. The site mentions how Mark has worked in the industry since 1979, but i am thinking Journey started around the mid to late 90's. Apparently he was riding on his bike cross-country and had a vision about how people should "journey" for the best ingredients and recipes to use in brewing, or some garbage like that. Well whatever, sounds like a bunch of hippie nonsense to me, though i respect him as a fellow cyclist. That's right, i'm a cyclist now. Got a problem with that? Didn't think so.
The bottle is pretty standard, 12 oz. dark brown glass. The label, as i mentioned before, is what caught my eye. It has a lot of browns, greens, and yellows, some metallic colors, and a crazy looking barrel thing with a face and a moustache. The writing reminds me of Star Wars, epic and cosmic, desperately trying to catch my attention. There is a lot of text on the label cuz they have a lot of info to throw at you. I would have preferred it to explain what the cryptic and psychedelic image is supposed to mean. The cap even has a big question mark on it, maybe asking you if you're sure you really want to drink this stuff. I get the feeling like this is going to be an Alice in Wonderland experience, or maybe the famous blue pill, red pill decision. Apparently all the sodas have different images on them, each as perplexing. The site mentions that Mark Panley comments on the labels. "If you think it’s just a soda with a crazy picture of a dragon on it, then you just don’t get it." Guess what Mark, you nailed it. I don't get it. And if i can be completely honest, it reminds me of poop. Yeah, i said it, and it's true. The color scheme, the texture of the barrel in the illustration, even the name "barleycorn" (to spell it out for those who don't get that, it's because sometimes when you poop, there's corn in it). Sorry, I don't mean to offend anyone or anything. What am i saying? I don't care.
Mark strived to make this a "historic brew" from Scottish and Irish brewing traditions. It includes malt, which to me doesn't seem like a good decision. I am not sure if Bundaberg uses malt too, but these two taste very very simlar. I guess what i am getting at is that this stuff is not good at all. It has zero, as in, absolutely no carbonation. I don't like the taste at all. Three words on the label describe it as nutty, malty, and foamy. The three words they should have used were nasty, acrid (link requested by my wife), and flat. I don't think it's good or original or worth going out of your way for. I actually broke one of my own "rules", in that i usually make it a point to drink the entire bottle of the root beer i am drinking to get more than just a first impression of it. Well i couldn't do it with this one. I seriously only drank about a fourth of it and poured the rest down the drain. It's awful. Just plain awful.
My official review is the JJBC gets 1 (one) IBC. As i mentioned above, Journey makes two other root beers which i have not found yet, and i would just as soon skip them if i weren't so dedicated to my cause of bringing you relevant and pertinent information regarding root beer. What i do is important to a lot of people. So i suppose i will have to track those two down and try them as well. But as for you, don't bother tracking this one down, and i wouldn't recommend looking up the other two until i give you my expert opinion on the subject.