Thursday, December 12, 2013

Round Barn Root Beer

We are getting ready to go back to Arizona for the holidays and i know that i won't review a root beer there (most likely), so i wanted to get at least one in the books for this month while i had time. The truth is i am running low on my reserves in my fridge, but i know of a lot more root beers out there right now that i need to get my hands on to review. But anyway, i will keep this one brief as well. You're all probably rather weary of hearing my endless babbling anyway. Round Barn Root Beer is branded by Pops Restaurant on historic Route 66 in Arcadia, OK. I guess the round barn is an iconic/historic landmark there. I'm not really interested in that myself as several times on this blog i have already displayed my lack of enthusiasm for anything Route 66 related. But i get that others are happy about it and long for the days of yesteryear, when the threat of nuclear annihilation was almost certain and were driven by irrational fears like the Red Scare and desegregation. Bunch of dummies if you ask me.

This root beer came in the traditional 12 oz. brown glass bottle and features a picture on the label of the titular round barn that is said to be so iconic to the area. It's a nice label, colorful and vivid. One of the better one's i've seen. I think the restaurant itself has a nicer iconic landmark though. Pictures i've seen remind me a little of a place in Gilbert, AZ called Joe's Farm Grill (a great place to eat). So the fact that they went with a barn for the name of the root beer and picture on the label seems as misguided as those people wandering Route 66 in search of a past era that really doesn't seem all that great to me. Regardless though, i think they did a fine job with the label. 

And as far as the root beer is concerned, i think they did a pretty bang up job with that as well. To be honest, i wasn't expecting much from this one. I've kind of been on a run of mediocre and bad root beers, so i figured this one would be par for the course. But i am afraid that streak as been broken, because we've got ourselves a pretty decent root beer here folks. The first thing i noticed about it after opening it was the strong wintergreen aroma (an automatic plus for me). It has a nice carmel undertone with a moderate wintergreen base and a creamy finish. I like it quite a bit. It's not super original or ground breaking, but it hit a lot of the things i like best in a root beer. It's also sweetened with high fructose corn syrup and has decent carbonation. Really the only thing bad i can say about it is that it left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth at the very end. Overall very enjoyable though. 

My official review is that Round Barn Root Beer gets 7 (seven) IBCs. It's a good root beer that kinda crept up on me from out of nowhere. I really wasn't expecting it from this one so it was a nice surprise. I have driven through Oklahoma City before and don't know that i will ever afford myself that opportunity again, but if i find myself out that direction i wouldn't mind checking out Pops and grabbing another one of these. Seems like it could be a pretty cool place. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Pallino Root Beer

I think i am going to keep this post brief. I am trying to get this done before Walking Dead comes on, and frankly this one is on the lower side of the scale so it's probably not worth much time anyway. I got this either from the Root Beer Store or from my stupid friend Richard, but i wouldn't get it again. Pallino Root Beer doesn't have a lot of info online from what my limited research found. The label isn't much help either. It's part of a line of Pallino Signature Sodas, but most other references to Pallino are for Italian restaurants and the like.
I know pallino as the small ball used in bocce ball games. Someone who speaks Italian once told me it means something like "little ball" or something, but that is unconfirmed. Google translate tells me it means "bullet, cue ball, spot, or shot". It's something to that effect.

This root beer was procured in a traditional 12 oz. brown glass bottle. The label is fairly devoid of information. It barely lists the ingredients in small print around the circumference of the circular area. The image on the front is of two transparent crossed bottle necks. Other than that, it's very plain and straight forward. Typical color scheme, large font, and nothing to speak of really. Pretty lame.

I don't like it. It's watery and nearly flavorless and leaves a really bad taste in your mouth. It's sweetened with cane sugar, but has barely any carbonation and has nothing really discernible about it that would tell you it's root beer. I mean, if doing a blind taste test, i think you could come to the conclusion that it's root beer flavor. But i'm also certain you wouldn't like it. There just isn't anything to it.

My official review is that Pallino Root Beer gets 2 (two) IBCs. It's gross. Don't drink it. I didn't pour it down the drain and actually finished the bottle, but i wouldn't drink another one if it were offered to me. Play bocce cuz thats a fun game. But that's all the association you need with Pallino.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Caruso's Legacy Robusto Root Beer

Happy Halloween everyone. I hope everyone had a nice time this year. And as your special treat, i'm bringing you a root beer that has absolutely nothing to do with Halloween whatsoever. Caruso's Legacy is a small line of sodas distributed out of Redding, CA by WIT Beverages Co. This one came to me by way of the Soda Emporium, a website i use frequently to obtain root beers. The soda recipes are said to have been handed down in the Caruso family in a long tradition of family traditional longness tradition. Family. Tradition. You get the point. Started by a husband and wife (or maybe i am extrapolating that from the term "couple" used on the label), there are four flavors of Italian style sodas as well as a root beer. The root beer in particular was created by "Grandpa Pete". I'm not sure if he is one of the two members of said couple or if it is indeed his portrait featured on the label (more about that later), but i am willing to bet that both of those assumptions can probably be considered absolute fact.

I got this root beer in a traditional 12 oz. brown glass bottle. It has a nice label on it that seems professionally done with typical color schemes. It features a portrait of a man and a woman, the couple alluded to before who started this long family tradition of creating soda recipes and saying to their kids, "pass it down, dummy." 
It's a good looking label to be sure, but an interesting story about this root beer is that i actually purchased it long ago through Soda Emporium and was planning to review it but i dropped and broke the bottle i had then before i could sample it. That bottle had a very different label, still similar in some ways (i.e. the portrait), but take a look at what the "old" label looked like. I think i might like the old one better. A different color scheme on a stout bottle that makes the label pop more. I know this has nothing to do with the taste, but anyone who knows my rating system by now knows the label plays a factor in the scoring. It's gotta grab people, and in my opinion i think the old label does a better job of that. Do you have any thoughts on the topic? Well if you do, keep them to yourself cuz i don't care.

The website for the distributor gives a little more info about the ingredients than the label does, saying it contains pure cane sugar, vanilla, spearmint, and other Italian spices. I can taste the vanilla pretty well, but the spearmint is lost on me. I wouldn't have ever guessed that had i not read it. It does have a certain "spiciness" to it, but it's fairly watered down tasting and ultimately quite tame. Not a bad soda, but i think it lacks the bite of other full bodied root beers. Looks like Grandpa Pete's recipe was watered down during that long traditional handoff throughout the generations.

My official review is that Caruso's Legacy Robusto Root Beer gets 6 (six) IBCs. Definitely not a bad root beer. I dare to even say i like it. Better than a lot of them i've tried for sure. But in the end, it's simply a watered down root beer without much to say. It gets the job done, but it certainly doesn't scratch the surface of greatness. Give it a shot if you'd like. You won't be disappointed. But you probably won't be impressed either. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Old Town Root Beer 66

Yet another root beer with a name that is so similar in theme to many others that it's hard to differentiate this root beer from like ones when only mentioning the brand. Old Town Root Beer 66 is a root beer that came to me via my friend Richard in California. The Old Town Root Beer shop is near his house out there and he sometimes stops in and finds me things to review. The shop has been around since 2000, and i am assuming they have been brewing and selling their labels of root beer for just as long. This root beer is easy enough to forget on name alone. I think i've reviewed an Old Town Root Beer (brewed by the same company), a Route Beer 66, a Root 66 Beer, and some other ones that are similar in many ways. It's hard to keep them all straight. All i can really pull out from my foggy memory of them is that Root Beer 66 is disgusting. I think i rated it a 1 or a 2. You'll have to go back and check, but for goodness sake please don't drink it. Anyway, this root beer is cashing in on the Route 66 theme, which is something i detest having grown up in a tourist town along Route 66. The place was so littered with Route 66 merchandise that it was laughable, not unlike the scene in this pic. Now the whole road is lined with roadside attractions for small towns to prey upon travelers. Not sure what prompted Old Town to brand a version of their root beer under this name, but here it is in all it's fabulous lack-of-glory. Just a word of advice to anyone in the root beer game... just because "route" and "root" are homonyms doesn't mean people should start interchanging them to sell goods and services. It's stupid, so knock it off. Now if you'll excuse me, i have a dental appointment for a scheduled route canal.

This 12 oz dark brown glass bottle is dressed with a stylish enough label. It's something a little different from the normal themes we usually see. It is structured under the iconic/played out Route 66 road sign graphic with a map of the continental United States showing the path that Route 66 carves all the way from Chicago to Los Angeles across our great country. The map even lists several of the more prominent cities it passes through (my hometown is excluded of course, but nearby Flagstaff made the list). It's weird to think for how long the road is it only inhabits 8 of our 50 states, but most of the states it does cross are some of the larger states in our nation in terms of land mass (Texas and California being among them). Several tag lines are listed on the label as well, such as "Get to the root of Route 66", "The finest root beer on the route", and "Get your sugar fix on Route 66". All of these irritate me, but the last one especially since it's a play on the old trope "Get your kicks on Route 66". I really don't see a need for all these tag lines. Are they just testing them out? Well guess what Old Town, we don't care. Just pick one. It doesn't matter which one cuz they are all terrible. Knock it off (that's twice now i've told you to knock it off).

As angry as the theme of this root beer makes me, i can't say much bad about the taste other than it's pretty standard and nothing special. It's not gross or bad by any means, but lacks a good aftertaste and fades fast. It's sweetened with cane sugar for those of you who care and it has a hint of honey so small that i didn't detect it until i read it on the ingredients and specifically tried to pay attention to tasting it. The carbonation was adequate and the overall experience was something i'm about as eager to revisit as i am my hometown.

My official review is that Old Town Root Beer 66 gets 5 (five) IBCs. This root beer is perfectly average at best. It deserves less praise than i am giving it, but as a fair judge and reviewer of root beers i have no reason to dissuade my readers from trying a refreshing root beer when it's available. It tastes fine. I don't want to kill myself after drinking it. But let's all just please agree that the golden age of the Route 66 is dead and gone. This road should have the same connotations as the Trail of Tears; a shameful embarrassment for our country during a misunderstood time long ago. So let's all just pretend it didn't happen.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Ritz Root Beer

So i had one more generic in my fridge that i needed to get through, and then this is the last one for a while, i promise. Ritz Root Beer is a generic brand from as well as i can tell. I found it at a supermarket here in Florida called Bravo. I think it caters to the Puerto Rican population of Florida. They have some kind of weird stuff in there, including some funky flavors or sodas. I wish i could remember some of them now. I want to say one was ham flavored. I'm sure that's not right, but the flavors available were along those lines. Anyway, i don't have a lot of info about Ritz (the website really wasn't very helpful), but i found this pic
of a really old can of Ritz Root Beer, showing that these guys have either been around a long time or have just very recently upgraded their packaging. It is distributed by Beverage Corporation International out of Miami, FL, and really that's about all the info i have on this one. Sorry... it's just that generic.

Again, i had the option to get this in a 12 pack of cans, but i elected to go with the 3 liter bottle since it was the cheaper option. The label has all the elements of the generic theme to it. It's brown, there is a mug of root beer, and it's fairly plain and straight forward. I don't hate it and it's definitely not the worst label i have seen, but it's not very inspiring either. I kinda had to search to find this one. It didn't just jump out at me like a good label will. But ultimately, i'm not going to hold this one up to high standards. It's simply not top tier stuff.

I wish there was a way to explain the taste besides saying "meh". It doesn't make me want to stab a hobo or smash a kitten, but i can't say it gives me any bad feelings either. Wait... i think that came out wrong. But you get the idea. This stuff is very bland and middle of the road for a root beer. It's sweetened with high fructose corn syrup and leaves a bad aftertaste in your mouth, it's very well carbonated, and it tastes like root beer. Everything about it is just kind of blah. I don't like the aftertaste, but it's nothing i'm unfamiliar with as it is a common side effect of sub par root beers. Other than that, i don't really care one way or the other about it.

My official review is that Ritz Root Beer gets 4 (four) IBCs. It's a very standard generic recipe that can be found by picking up one of many other generic brands. Ultimately i don't care for it and won't be making a trip back to Bravo solely to buy more of this stuff. Now a refreshing glass of ham soda, well... that's another story.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Dougie Dog Butterscotch Root Beer

What?! Two reviews in one month?! I'm on a roll right now. It's been a couple months since i've done more than one review in a month. But i just finished doing a lot of work on my new house, getting it painted and what not, and i figured i would treat myself (and you guys) with a nice refreshing root beer to celebrate. Dougie Dog Butterscotch Root Beer has an interesting story. The founder, a Canadian who calls himself DougieLuv, took a trip across America to research different hot dogs. He made a documentary along the way which he lovingly refers to as a "dogumentary". You clever Canadian you. DougieLuv took his movie and research back up to Vancouver and got a food truck to start serving his creations on the go. The website shows several celebrity endorsements and boasts of the amazing and genuine goodness of these hot dogs. The story sounds like something out of Portlandia, the food truck capital of the world according to But to his credit, DougieLuv had the good sense to couple his hot dogs with a crafted root beer. So cheers to you DougieLuv. You've bucked the Canadian tradition of being completely worthless to me. This root beer is one i ordered off either the Soda Emporium or the Root Beer Store. Not really sure which one i got it from and i can't find my cheat sheet (receipt) right now to verify which, so unfortunately i am unsure of which site to give the credit to. However, i fully endorse both sites. They are great. So take your pick of which one you choose to use if you decide to try this root beer out (assuming you don't have access to it locally of course).

This root beer comes in a typical 12 oz. brown glass bottle. The label is plastered with the Dougie Dog logo over a big ROOT BEER text in the background. The label is simple in design, but not cheap or generic looking. It's original, and while doing more to promote the hot dogs than the root beer, it gets the point across. I get it. The guy has to forge his brand, and i've got no problem with that. So i won't fault him for making taking the attention away from the root beer. I just think he's setting a bad example for the youth of America, that's all. What do you have to say to that, CANADIAN?!?!

The thing i left out about the label is probably the key factor regarding the taste. The label prominently displays the fact that this root beer is butterscotch flavored, so it was no surprise when it tasted overwhelmingly of butterscotch disc candies. I mean, there is a base root
beer flavor lingering in there, but it's basically just butterscotch discs.
I think this is the first butterscotch root beer i have reviewed, but it's definitely not a unique twist. I have at least one other root beer in my fridge which is butterscotch flavored and i am sure there are a few (if not several) others out there. I enjoy butterscotch. It was one of my favorite candies as a kid and it was easily my favorite dilly bar flavor. So when you combine it with a root beer flavor, it works out pretty well for me. With the cane sugar, it's a bit sweet. But ultimately, i think it's a well made root beer.

My official review is that Dougie Dog Butterscotch Root Beer gets 6 (six) IBCs. I liked this stuff. it's better than a lot of garbage out there. Maybe one of Canada's "premier" root beers (pun intended). You know i kid you Canada, but it's only cuz i love ya. I wouldn't mind trying out a Dougie Dog if i ever visit Vancouver, which is a place i really would like to visit. And i might as well try the poutine if i travel all that way, cuz i love a good poutine when it's done right. But since i can't promise to do that anytime soon, why don't you all get on up to Vancouver and try out a Dougie Dog for me and give the butterscotch root beer a shot as well.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Brigham's Brew Root Beer

I took a little trip out west this 4th of July weekend and spent some time with my family in Utah and Arizona. While in Salt Lake City i took some time to track down this root beer that i have long known about but was geographically unable to physically obtain. After getting a hot tip on a place that sells this root beer (a little place called Jed's Barber Shop), i talked my brother into driving me down there to pick up a few bottles. It's literally a barber shop and they just happen to sell this root beer. I was kind of expecting an old fashioned candy store and soda fountain shop for some reason. Not sure what i was thinking. Oh... wait.... this is it. But anyway, it's a full blown barber with just a little glass case of refrigerated Brigham's Brew Root Beer for sale. I later found out that i probably didn't need to go to all the trouble to visiting Jed's since this stuff is brewed by the Wasatch Brewery (named after the Wasatch Mountains where all the great ski resorts in SLC are located) and that this stuff is readily available at many locations throughout the valley. The brewery isn't technically in SLC, it's in Park City, but Wasatch Brewery products are stocked in most local grocery stores around the valley (and i may be going out on a limb here, but dare i say throughout the state as well). Three of my brothers live in the SLC area and one of them keeps trying to get me to move there also. I have spent a lot of time up there throughout my life (that's the 3rd time i've said "throughout") and all i can say is that while it's a lovely area and the skiing is terrific, it's really not somewhere i see myself residing. While it's full of friendly people and charming scenery, there are enough things about it that i just don't care for. And for those reasons, SLC will always only be a nice place i sometimes visit.

It's a classic brown glass 12 oz bottle with big picture of the founder of the city of Salt Lake, the state of Utah, and leader of the Mormon migration across the Great Plains, Brigham Young. His iconic picture is pasted on this root beer either satirically or as an homage. I can't decide which. I think if it were a true alcoholic beer, it would be satirical since Mormons preach abstinence from alcohol. But since it's a well known fact that Mormons love root beer, i think i prefer to consider it an homage. Either way, the bottling is stellar. I'm a fan of portraits on root beers, all except for Henry Weinhard's pathetic attempt. Seriously man, you just look desperate.

The one thing that everyone going into this can be rested assure of is that Mormons know what good root beer is, and this my friends is a really good root beer. It's been a while since i've had one i've liked as much as this. First off, it's heavy on the wintergreen, which is a personal favorite of mine. It also has a nice vanilla finish on it which gives a good creamy aftertaste. And for those of you who care, it's sweetened with pure cane sugar. Personally, i think whatever they are doing is working very well. I just wish i didn't live so far away from it now.

My official review is that Brigham's Brew gets 8 (eight) IBCs. It's been quite some time since i've seen one of this caliber. The Wasatch Brewery cooked up a gem with this one. Still, there is some room for improvement. But i mean, 8 is nothing to snub at. Go out and try this stuff guys, seriously. There aren't many around better than this.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Rocket Fizz Root Beer Float

Ok... so i have two things i need to address real quick. First, that last post was a little aggressive. Sorry about that everyone. I think it was just a particularly disappointing root beer in a long string of inadequate root beers. My apologies. Second, i've been reviewing some of the comments and found that i had about 50 or so in various reviews that were spam comments with generic text and a link to some product or service. I have deleted and marked those comments as spam. Knock it off people. This blog takes itself very seriously. Anyway, i have at least one more generic in my fridge, but i wanted to break the cycle and go to some of the bottles i have been storing. I want to get through these before i place my next order for more root beers from various online soda sites. This is one of the ones i got from The Soda Emporium over a year ago. The ironic thing is that i visited a Rocket Fizz candy store location in Thousand Oaks, CA and didn't find this root beer there on the shelves. I had to go online to get it. These Stores are popping up all over.
Ryan and Rob founded the candy store and sell vintage candies and sodas as well as new originals. I actually met Ryan (the guy on the left) on my visit and he strongly encouraged me to open a franchise of my own in Arizona. Unfortunately, i don't have the resources or wherewithal to open and run a candy store, but it looks like these guys are aggressively expanding. There actually is a store open now in Arizona and even one out here in Florida not far from where i now live. Maybe if it's something you're interested in, you should open one.

The clear 12 oz bottle has a foil sticker label with the logo of a kid riding on a rocket around the world and some simple text on it. It looks professional and not cheap or inexpensive. Pictures on the website show that the store locations are often set up with a '50s and '60s spaceman decor. They are really trying to capture the vintage candy crowd. I have no criticism on the label. It's pretty decent.

This root beer is labeled as "Root Beer Float" flavor, but that's a bit of a stretch in my opinion. I don't think it tastes all that creamy, which is one of the defining characteristics of a root beer float. It just kinda tastes like root beer. You can see from the picture of the clear glass bottle that this root beer is fairly translucent and does't have a deep brown color. I usually find root beers in this category to be a little weaker in taste, and i have to say this fits the bill for Rocket Fizz. It's not bad by any means. It's sweetened with pure cane sugar and has a decent root beer flavor (lacking in creaminess i might add). But it's pretty watery and the flavor dissipates quickly. I enjoyed it as i drank it, but was ultimately left a little unsatisfied when it was finished.

My official review is that Rocket Fizz Root Beer Float gets 5 (five) IBCs. I dig what these guys are doing with the candy store. Good for them. It's obviously popular because they are growing like crazy. And i appreciate that they are producing their own original line of sodas, even if one of them is based on Snooki. When producing sodas under your brand, I realize that sometimes this means putting out a product that may not be your top of the line best work just to increase the catalog of available products. But if you're gonna put your name on it i think you should make sure it's gonna change the game. I was hoping for a better showing from you Ryan and Rob. Maybe rethink this one so you can make a root beer that really stands out.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

My Essentials Root Beer

You guys have to be getting tired of my incessant apologizing for bringing you terrible reviews of terrible root beers, and of the fact that i keep using my recent move as an excuse, but seriously people... i've been super busy with settling in to a new job and trying to buy a house. I REALLY AM SORRY for reviewing yet another generic crappy root beer, even when i have plenty of unique bottled root beers in my fridge still. But it's just easier this way for now. Besides, most of you stopped reading these a long time ago. I think i'm just doing this for me now. So anyway, this is a root beer i found in a small town south of where i live called Belleview. There is a grocery store in Belleview that i've never seen anywhere else called SweetBay. Through my limited research (zero is a limit), i surmised that My Essentials Root Beer is the generic brand that SweetBay carries. I believe it's also carried by another grocery store i've never heard of called Hanaford's. When tried to google My Essentials Root Beer, i found this to be the most relevant site that wasn't in Russian. I don't know where Hanaford's are, and frankly i don't care. I just want to get this root beer in the books cuz i could care less about it. The only other info i care to report on this one is that it's bottled in North Carolina.

I could have elected to go for cans with this root beer, but i did the 2 liter for reasons i explained in my Publix Root Beer review. Look there if you care for a break down. If you don't, it wont break my heart. The label lacks everything a good label should. It screams generic, and i'm tired of explaining what that means. Just trust me on this one.

I'll get right to it. I hate this stuff. It's not good. It tastes like a diet soda. All i can taste is the weird aftertaste that seems like it's sweetened with aspartame, even though it's sweetened with HFCS. The carbonation is decent, and that's about all i can say thats good about it. The faint root beer flavor is quickly lost in the unpleasant aftertaste. Any redeeming qualities this root beer may have are lost on me. I give My Essentials credit for the fact that i didn't want to murder myself after drinking it, but it's not much better than some of the worst ones out there.

My official review is that My Essentials Root Beer gets 3 (three) IBCs. Consider that rating to be VERY generous on my part. You really don't deserve a 3, but a rating of 2 gives you a place with some of the more infamous root beers i've tried, and i don't think you're worth remembering at all. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Publix Root Beer

HEEELLLOOO! Writing again from here in sunny Florida where it's just starting to heat up. It hasn't been super muggy yet, but the bugs are definitely starting to make an appearance. I got attacked by a swarm of fire ants the other day, but that's probably mostly due to the fact that i was standing right on top of their mound. I am looking forward to the warm weather to take advantage of the beaches, but the locals say the water is still too cold right now. Anyway, this is the local grocery store's brand of root beer here in Central Florida. I think Publix is actually all over Florida. I've never heard of them before moving here though so i don't know about anywhere else. I tried to find something on their website worth linking, but it's all lame and useless to me. It's just a typical grocery store and this is their brand. If i were less mature i might make fun of the store by referring to it as Pubics, but come on... i have more respect for my readers than that. We're all adults here right? Wait, do kids read this blog?

I got the the 2 liter bottle for reasons which are obvious and have been stated several times before in other reviews. Just for the record though, i will set the precedence for choosing which vessel to purchase a root beer in/consume a root beer from: 1) glass bottle of any size, shape, or color for premium taste and maximum enjoyment. 2) 20 oz plastic bottle for portability and economic value. Resealable top is pretty nice too. 3) 1 liter plastic bottle, same reasons as 20 oz with less portability due to dimensional limitations. 4) 2 liter plastic bottle, same as 1 liter. 5) 12 oz cans in any quantity greater than 1. They may have 4-packs of cans out there, but it doubt it. And a 2-pack just sounds stupid (no offense). A 6-pack or more just gets cumbersome. 6) paper container of any kind. 7) dead hippie's skull. Pro: dead hippie. Con: you gotta put your mouth on it. Anyway, the 2 liter was cheap and easy, so that's what i did. The label is pretty bland. It's right in line with most generics, and therefore i won't say anything else about it. Just look at it and make your own opinion.

This stuff isn't terrible, but it's definitely not great. I know i say that about several root beers, but that's only because most root beers fall into this category. It's drinkable, but not desirable. There are a lot of better choices out there, even here in Central Florida. It has a good root beer aroma with hints of carmel and is well carbonated, but the flavor fades quick and is fairly thin. It's a standard generic root beer. I don't really know how else to put it.

My official review is that Pubics Root Beer gets 5 (five) IBCs. I sometimes feel guilty reviewing these store brands because the story is basically always the same on them, but i really don't feel like i would be doing my job as a root beer reviewer if i simply ignored them. So i will press forward and keep reviewing these menial root beers. I really doubt any of you will care one way or another. In fact, i'm pretty sure no one even reads this blog anymore.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Spring Grove Root Beer

I picked this one up from the Root Beer Store website a while back. Looking at their site again recently, there are several new root beers i need to try, so i will probably be making another order sometime in the future. Anyway, Spring Grove Root Beer comes from Minnesota and has been around since 1895, making it one of the oldest root beers that i have tried. The story on the website is a familiar tale of humble beginnings, local favoritism and prosperity, followed by corporate take over and global domination. Ok, maybe they haven't reached that level yet, but they have branched out to open operations in the neighboring states of Wisconsin and Iowa. Spring Grove is a small set up with a few different flavors of soda, mostly fruit flavored. For more info about the company, feel free to visit the small and modest website.

The clear glass 12 oz. bottle is outfitted with a clear sticker label (poorly applied i might add) with a lot of text and clutter. There is a little picture of a tree and maybe a brook or stream or something. No color, and the white text contrasts against the brown root beer. Having an empty bottle makes it more difficult to read. Nothing about the label really struck me as novel or interesting. It's very similar to the Cool Mountain root beer label, even in regards to featuring landscapes and scenery on the label. All in all, it's functional but pretty unimaginative.

The taste similarly is kind of lackluster. It's a sweet root beer (sweetened with real cane sugar) and the root beer taste is subtle. It's a little thin. The flavor fades quickly and it's a bit watered down in my opinion, aka the correct opinion and the only one you need consult. But i don't dislike it. It's not unpleasant and i wouldn't mind drinking another one if it were available. And i don't even know why i mention this because it doesn't matter at all to me, but this root beer has pretty decent head. So for those of you who care, there you have it. It would be easier if you just stopped caring though, cuz it doesn't matter.

My official review is that Spring Grove Root Beer gets 5 (five) IBCs. I don't know that this one has a big following. maybe up in the northern Midwest states, to which i have never been (unless you count visiting Chicago as being in that region since Illinois borders Iowa and Wisconsin, but i don't so why don't we just drop it). Regardless, i doubt this stuff will ever get popular enough to have widespread availability. Basically what i am trying to say is it's not bad, but don't go out of your way for it.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Root Beer

Wow... this one does not look promising... Just a little background, my wife and i just made a major move across the United States and now reside in Central Florida for my new job with a new company. So unfortunately this post is more out of necessity than for actual reviewing purposes since i haven't written one in a while. But trust me... you'll get everything you need about this root beer with this review. This root beer is simply called Root Beer. Yeah, that's right. It is king of the generics. The label says it's "manufactured for" Cott beverages down in Tampa, FL (which is not far from where i now reside). I found it at Walmart before leaving Arizona, but it's not the Walmart brand because they still sell that one alongside this one. The difference is that the Walmart one is actually pretty good. Uh oh, i think i gave away the ending on this one.

I think they had this in cans as well, but i elected to get the 2 liter bottle because it was much cheaper and i was sure i would hate it so i wanted to give it as little credence as possible. Can the label get any more generic than this? I mean... come on. A little bit of effort would have put this in the lowest tier of generic root beers, but the "manufacturers" over at Cott in Tampa couldn't be bothered i suppose (I actually know nothing about Tampa but i hear it's nice there, so maybe the people at Cott really couldn't be bothered since they were busy just enjoying living in Tampa).

How about the taste? Is it any good?

My official review is that Root Beer gets 2 (two) IBCs. As bad as it is, it's not as undrinkable as some of the name brand root beers out there (i'm lookin' at you Route 66 Beer). But this easily has to be the worst generic i've had. It almost tastes like it's a diet root beer. Not a fan, AT ALL. Don't bother. And again, sorry this review is so short and lame, but i've been busy with my new job and adjusting to the time difference and everything. So the next one will be better, and besides, i don't have to explain myself to you anyway. Ungrateful jerks...

- Love, Cosmo

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Tubz Root Beer

So i have a bit of news. As you may or may not know, i graduated from university last May and have been looking for a job for the past 8 months. Well i flew out to Florida last week to interview and was offered a job in Ocala, so i will be picking up and moving my root beer reviewing operations down to the Sunshine State within the month. While down there, i stopped at a local Save-a-lot grocery store and found this little gem on the shelf. Tubz Root Beer is the generic brand carried by the Save-a-lot chain. The website listed on the label is that of Save-a-lot, so it's not very interesting or informative. I like the name. It reminds me of my first year of college when i lived with my friend Richard (whom i have mentioned several times), my brother, and a Japanese roommate named Taiyo, which is Japanese for "Awesome". My brother had a friend who came around named Tubby. He was a good ol' boy from Arkansas and he wasn't the most slender man i've met. He kind of had a wild streak in him and drove a Chevy Camaro blasting Aerosmith and the like. Anyway, we would do a lot of stupid and crazy things with Tubby around and it was a lot of fun. I think this root beer's name would pay homage to that despicable man and the enjoyment he brought us all.

The label follows the formula of generic root beers fairly closely, but it has some redeeming qualities. I like the big root beer mug featured below the prominent name of the root beer. It's a step above the normal when it comes to generics. Still, the color scheme and layout and the fact that a mug of root beer is displayed at all basically falls right in line with what's expected. Not a bad attempt for a generic brand though. I would say this label is higher on the scale based on what's out there. It's definitely not dreadful.

I'm sure you can guess what i will say about the taste of this root beer. It's no mystery that it's not going to be the best stuff around. I will say i had high hopes when i opened it because it has a nice aroma. But it definitely smells better than it tastes. It's not terrible, just nothing special. The root beer flavor is very watered down and the taste fades almost immediately after you drink it. It isn't overly sweet and doesn't leave really any kind of aftertaste. I would say if it had been a blind taste test it would be easy to tell this was a generic brand.  The carbonation was good, and for those of you who care (i don't) it had good head on it. But overall, it was pretty unimpressive and unimaginative. But hey... it was only $0.79 for the 2 liter.

My official Review is that Tubz Root Beer gets 4 (four) IBCs. Not my favorite and i doubt i will go out of my way to get it again. It may be good for root beer floats because it is so heady, but i probably won't put the effort in to find out. For what it's worth, i like the name, but that's basically this root beer's only saving grace. Go ahead and pass on this one folks.

Q&A session

Ok, i thought i'd treat you to a little Q&A with one of my loyal readers. I rarely do this, so don't expect it to happen all that often, but this individual who goes by the handle Doug and Tracy asked some valid and legitimate questions. I do not know whether i am responding directly to Doug or his counterpart Tracy, but here is a rundown of the questions asked followed by my answers.

talking about drinking Thomas Kemper root beer (which is not my favorite): my first bottle was poured into a glass, while my second tasting was consumed directly from the bottle. The second bottle was way better!!! I'm convinced that this made the difference, but have no scientific proof to back up my theory. Curious how you choose to drink your root beers, and if you can notice a difference between the two methods! (also, I assume that they must be chilled either adding ice when pouring into a glass).

Well Douglas/Tracinita, to answer your question directly, i drink straight from the bottle unless the root beer was purchased in a 2 liter bottle (or aluminum can smarty pants). This is the preferred method of any self respecting root beer connoisseur. However, drinking directly from a 2 liter plastic bottle can be cumbersome and therefore i usually choose to pour it into a cup. But it is without question better tasting if you drink root beer directly from the 12 oz. glass bottle. No scientific proof is needed. It's simply a law of nature, like how Chinese food tastes better when eaten with chopsticks. Really no other explanation is necessary (or even available). Frankly, i don't notice a difference between the two methods because i've never poured a bottle of root beer into a glass. Seriously, that's a rookie move right there. Forgivable maybe for someone such as yourself, but i would be ostracized from root beer circles everywhere if that rumor ever held any credence.

As for the second part of your question, all my root beers are always pre-chilled. Adding ice compromises the taste by watering it down. While i may from time to time drink root beer with ice, i never RATE root beer that has been chilled with ice. It is always chilled overnight in my fridge. Personally, i don't really care for ice because i have sensitive teeth (i'm a sensitive kind of guy).

Anyway, i hope this resolves the matter and gives you, my loyal readers, a little more insight into my process. Now no more questions until next year.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Flashback Olde Time Root Beer

Happy New Year everyone! We made it! Well this time of year is a time for new beginnings and i wanted to review a root beer today to reflect that, but when i looked through my inventory i didn't feel i had anything that really matched the criteria. However, i do have one that is synonymous with looking back and reminiscing over the past year, so i think i am going to go that direction with this review. First off, i must say congratulations to all of you who survived the Mayan Apocalypse which wiped out  all but 1/8th of the world's population just a few weeks ago. I assumed it would affect my reading audience, but hopefully i can recover and find new survivors to read my blog as they scavenge the wasteland in search of acceptable root beers. Other than the obvious end of civilization as we know it, 2012 was an eventful year. It was a leap year, an Olympic year, and an election year for starters. My wife had her 30th birthday, i had my golden birthday, and my baby had his first birthday last year. Really, for the purpose of this blog there is too much of last year to reminisce about, but what i am trying to say is that this seems like the perfect time to sit back and reflect on last year with a Flashback Olde Time Root Beer. This root beer comes from Seaside, OR and is distributed through Orca Beverages all around the Pacific Northwest. My friend Lafe moved up to Portland last year to start pharmaceutical school and picked this one up for me while checking out the area for an acceptable place to build a bunker and survive the apocalypse. Thanks again Lafe. If you care to go up to the ruins of Seaside you may find the malt shoppe and ice cream parlor where this root beer was crafted. Perhaps my wife and i will brave the wasteland some day and venture up to Flashback's for a chance to look back on what life was like so very long ago.

This root beer comes in a classic 12 oz. brown glass bottle with a very colorful label. The background is made to look like red bricks and the retro font style and design is supposed to remind people of the 1950's when malt shoppes and ice cream parlors were regular hang out spots for people. Apparently it still is for residents of Seaside. They are treated to themed nights of the week for particular deals and everything. Sounds like a popular destination. I gotta say, i like the label. It's fresh and fun. Flashback has 4 flavors of soda and each label is the same design layout with different color schemes for each. I haven't tried any of the other flavors, but i think i'd be willing to give them a shot if i ever got up there.

The folks in Oregon have a bit of a reputation for being very particular about the food they eat and the ingredients they use. It's a very high vegan population, and from what i hear, the humorous sketches on the TV show Portlandia are more or less quite accurate and credible of the way people live up there. So, that being said it's no surprise this root beer is made with natural ingredients, including cane sugar and honey. I am not a fan of most natural root beers, and i don't know that this one claims to be "all natural", but i do know this... it's pretty dang good. I like it quite a lot, and my wife agrees. This stuff is definitely not too shabby. It has a good amount of carbonation and a nice sweet, vanilla taste with just a tiny hint of honey (which is just enough for me). Overall, it's a well constructed root beer.

My official review is that Flashback Olde Time Root Beer gets 7 (seven) IBCs. I was very tempted to give it an 8. It's really almost there, but ultimately i thought an 8 might be a bit too generous. But to set the record straight, this stuff is really good. I would be glad to travel up to Seaside to visit the shoppe and have another anytime. So to anyone out there who is still alive and has internet access, check out Seaside, OR for some delicious root beer. And now that the word is out, be sure to get there quick before the roaming gangs of the wasteland do.