So my finals are over and i am officially done with another semester. That being the case, i feel like i need to do a little catch up on my reviews before the end of the year, so i hope to review a few more within the next couple days and finish out the year strong. This root beer came to me via a good friend who now lives in North Carolina. He came to visit for Thanksgiving and brought me an offering of several root beers from back east that i don't have access to here in Arizona. For repayment my wife and i took him out to dinner for mexican food where we all got food poisoning. So i figure we're even. Anyway, Vess is a company that has been around since 1916. They produce several flavors of soda from their factory in Maryland Heights, MO, which i am taking the liberty of assuming is a suburb of St. Louis. I didn't find an official website for Vess, so you'll have to refer to the source of all truth for questions or deeper research. From what i gather, this is a brand similar to the likes of Shasta and Big Fizz that mass produces this stuff and spams it across the nation to willing retailers. I could be wrong on that, but let's face it, i'm rarely wrong.
Richard (my friend from NC) was unable to find it in anything smaller than a 2 liter bottle, so he conveniently poured some into what suspiciously looks like a 20 oz Dr. Pepper bottle and pasted the label from the 2 liter on it. This is why it looks so ghetto in the picture above. I don't blame him for not wanting to fly a 2 liter across country though, so i am fine with the arrangement. As you can see, the label is mostly brown, orange, and white. The big Vess logo dominates the label, and there is a little decal of a root beer mug in the upper left corner. The label is similar to that of the companies i mentioned above (Shasta, Big Fizz, etc.) which is what leads me to believe this company is basically the same set up. Nothing exceptionally special about the label. It's rather bland, but to the point. No big deal really.
This root beer was flat when i drank it. I am not going to hold that against them though since i am sure most of that was due to being put in a 20 oz. bottle and flown in a suitcase across the country. As far as the taste goes, i am not all that impressed. It's fairly watery with a very sugary aftertaste. Sure, it tastes like root beer, but just barely. Also, it may just be a psychological thing, but i can almost taste the traces of Dr. Pepper in it. I would think Richard would have rinsed the bottle before making the transfer though. All in all though, i am not ready to give this thing a glowing endorsement. It is what it is, and what it is isn't worth much.
My official review is that Vess gets 4 (four) IBCs. I feel quite generous with this rating too. I was about to give it a 3, but i don't want to penalize the root beer for the lack of carbonation, and i feel like i would have enjoyed it at least a little bit more had it been carbonated. So i will let it slide with a 4. Not sure what this thing costs, but i am assuming it was fairly inexpensive. Probably about $1.50 for a 2 liter (again, i'm rarely wrong). Anyway, my advice is to save your $1.50 for something with a lot more substance.