Well, they changed the format on Blogger (supposedly for the better), but i am trying to get used to it still. Not sure i like it just yet. Anyway, i thought this one would be appropriate given the month. I would have liked to have reviewed this last week on the 4th, but my wife and i take a trip every year for the 4th up to a small town in Utah to do some camping with her extended family. Therefore, this is a little late, but still appropriate. The root beer i am reviewing today is Stars & Stripes Root Beer, from the Cott Beverages line (which also makes Vess and RC brand soft drinks, or at least owns distribution rights to them). You can see in the picture on the website a case of Stars & Stripes Cola, though i didn't look hard enough to find a shot of their root beer. While a truely American and patriotic root beer, in my mind this falls into the "generic" category of root beers. I was actually tipped off to this one long ago by a loyal reader and was told i could find it at the local Dollar Tree store. Well i happen to live less than a mile from a Dollar Tree, and while i don't frequent it very often, i did go in a few times to look for Stars & Stripes to no avail. I found other brands of root beer there, such as Shasta and Big K, but i basically chalked this one up to an "east coast thing" (Cott is apparently quite big in Canada as well). But my lovely wife discovered a bottle of this root beer here in Phoenix not long ago, and no less, at a Dollar Tree store she happened to be visiting. So thank you to the loyal reader who tipped me off. I have long since forgotten your name (and am too lazy to go back and try and find it among the many comments i have received over the years), but please allow me dedicate this review to you and your love of root beer.
The bottle in the picture is actually a 3 liter bottle. I'm not sure what my wife paid for it, but i am assuming it was around a dollar, which makes this root beer a pretty good buy. The label is a little drab. Not as patriotic as i would hope. Not even an American flag on it. That's probably those silly Canadians' doing. But it's called "Stars & Stripes" for crying out loud. You'd think they would stick a picture of Old Glory on there somewhere. Instead it has a brown, wooden background that i assume is supposed to represent a root beer barrel, but looks more to me like a table top or a church door or something. Then there's the blue and white logo of the brand name, followed by a rather large decal saying something about Hoover's Barrel Root Beer. Now, i don't know who Hoover is (unless we're talking about our former US President, but i doubt it) and i don't know how he got his name to be attached to this root beer, but all i have to say is this: knock it off. Does this root beer have two names? What's going on? It's just confusing. One of them needs to be eliminated (and my sights are set on taking out Hoover).
For a generic root beer, this one is pretty good. It's very sweet, has good carbonation, and a rich root beer flavor. I hate to keep comparing root beers to A&W, but i gotta say that's the one i think it tastes most similar to. However, it still has a distinct taste that is very un-A&W-ish (man, i'm good with words). I told my wife last night that i think it tastes (and smells) like pancakes and syrup. She had a drink and said she could see where i came up with that. So my assignment to you is to get your hands on some of this and try and let me know if it tastes like pancakes and syrup to you as well. Maybe i'm just crazy. Maybe i've lost all reasonable tasting ability and should no longer be relied upon for accurate root beer judgement (although, we all know that's completely ridiculous). Regardless, give it a shot and send me a comment. I'd be interested to hear what you think, even though it will hold absolutely no sway on my final judgement. I mean, come on... who's the expert here?
My official review is that Stars & Stripes gets 7 (seven) IBCs. It's a good root beer, and the fact that it's inexpensive can only help. Most generic or store brand root beers are either way too sweet or really watery and don't make much of an impression, but i gotta say, S&S does well to taste like a reasonably good root beer. Give it a shot, regardless of what month it is. It's your civic duty, like voting and jury duty and openly mocking British people. So enjoy.