Saturday, January 25, 2014

Triple AAA Root Beer

So this root beer definitely comes from the Root Beer Store, and i have a little bit to say about that. After my last post and my realization that i was quite low on root beers to review, i decided to place an order for some new ones from the Root Beer Store. I gotta say that i'm not very satisfied with my order. First off, the root beer store is located in Washington state and i currently live in Florida, so the shipping alone was more than my order. Second, you have to order in quantities divisible by 6. Luckily, i found 11 new root beers on their site that i wanted so that meant i only had to order 1 repeat. So for an order of 12 root beers, the shipping nearly doubled the price of my total order. I realize that i am going to have to face that if i want to get access to new root beers and this is my only method of getting them, so the fact that shipping is expensive isn't really the issue. And the fact that you have to order in quantities divisible by 6 doesn't really bother me either unless the following scenario happens (which it did). I got a call the next day from someone at the Root Beer Store telling me that 3 of the root beers i ordered were out of stock. So now i am doubling up on 4 root beers unless i want to forgo getting 2 new ones and reduce my order to 6 root beers. It was a little frustrating to say the least. I know it's a petty thing to be upset about, but it's not cheap doing these mail orders, so if they don't have the root beer available i'd like to know before i commit to buying a large order like this. And as it turns out, one of the ones i had ordered was this one because i didn't realize i had it in my fridge. So i asked to sub that one out too, meaning my order of 11 new root beers was actually reduced to 7. Pretty bummed out about it. But if i was going to pay good money for mail order root beers, i wanted to make sure i got some quality stuff that i don't have direct access to here, so i had them add some Iron Horse, Goose Island, Saranac, and Hank's to my order. For those of you not hip to the root beer pecking order yet, these ones are some heavy hitters. Never disappointing. Anyway, i've ranted enough about my unpleasant experience with the RBS. Lesson learned. I will probably check out Soda Emporium first next time. No minimum order or quantity requirements there, but the shipping is still what gets you for the most part.

So let's talk about Triple AAA Root Beer. This one has been hiding in my fridge for quite some time, which is why i completely forgot about it and accidentally ordered it again this time. This root beer comes from Oklahoma City, OK and was first produced back in 1937, making it one of the oldest brands i've reviewed. The website mentions that the founders based their brand off the Texas brand Triple XXX (which i have also reviewed, but don't really remember since it was quite a while ago).

This comes in a 12 oz. brown glass bottle like any self respecting root beer would. You will see that the label has an older look to it, as i believe this is the original design used when the company first started. However, there are a few discrepancies with the label, namely that it says clearly at the top that this soda is sweetened with pure cane sugar while the ingredients list shows an absence of cane sugar in favor of high fructose corn syrup. This is likely due to the soda being out of production starting in 1974 and being revamped in 2010 (apparently with an altered recipe). There is also a website for Bricktown Candy on the label, which is the company who revitalized the brand and put it back into production as well as currently distributes it. Regardless, i like the label. It's simple, but the nostalgia it brings is a big plus.

The taste is up for debate though. I've had a rash of root beers lately that really just don't taste like root beer. This one would probably fall into that category. When i cracked it open (not a twist-off cap btw), i noticed a very sweet aroma. It's a fairly fragrant root beer, if you can call it that, but it doesn't have the typical redolence you would expect to accompany a root beer.
It smells more like candy than anything, and the taste matches. It's very sweet despite lacking pure cane sugar and has a taste reminiscent of circus peanuts or chicks and rabbits easter candy (which my wife insists taste different from each other, but they are the same thing and are both disgusting and shameful). Those things that dissolve in your mouth and make you pray for death have no place in a root beer. My wife agrees, and she actually LIKES those candies. That all being said, this isn't a terrible root beer. Sure, it doesn't taste like root beer, but it also doesn't taste like genocide. I can finish a bottle without wanting to smash said bottle and impale myself with the broken base afterward.

My official review is that Triple AAA gets 4 (four) IBCs. It's better than the last root beer i reviewed, but that was a pretty small mountain to scale. I think i've said enough about this root beer, so i'll just end with a story from when i was in high school and dated a girl who… let's just say "lacked virtue". Anyway, it was a short lived relationship and when it ended my friends and i stuck circus peanuts on the outside of her bedroom window. Mostly because they lend themselves to a certain shape. Was it a stupid thing? Of course, as were most things i did in high school. But i still don't regret it.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Ben's Old Fashioned Root Beer

Happy New Year to all! I only have a few root beers left in my fridge, and while i don't currently put them out at a very fast rate, it might be time for me to reorder again soon. Today's root beer is Ben's Old Fashioned Root Beer from Ben's Kosher Deli. This is one of the root beers i got from… you know what? I don't even know where i got this one. I can't find it on either The Root Beer Store or Soda Emporium sites, so i can't verify i got it from either of those places. And it comes from Merrick, NY, a place where i have never been and have not been near in several years. So i really am at a loss this time. Sorry to whoever gave this to me that i cannot give you proper credit. But i do appreciate it. The website isn't super helpful on info about Ben's, but it's a New York kosher deli with several locations and a 4 out of 5 star rating on Yelp!. I don't trust Yelp! anymore by the way. Most of the time the reviews are written by the owners and/or close friends or persons with a vested interest. Yelp! hasn't done me much good, especially not here in Ocala, FL. The local flavor here is pretty dismal.

This one comes in a clear glass bottle. It's 12 oz. to be sure. The label is pasted on a little crooked like the machine was misaligned or the guy doing it manually doesn't get paid enough. It's one of the more simple designs i've seen. Not a lot of imagination or flashiness to it. I'm thoroughly unimpressed. Really don't know what else to say about it. Way to disappoint the customer right out of the gate Ben.

I can't say much for the taste either. Really, i can't say anything about the taste. It honestly doesn't taste like anything. It's so watered down that you barely get a sense that you're drinking root beer at all, let alone a soda of any variety. It's just so unnoticeable that i don't really even know what to say about it. I guess it tastes vaguely like sugar, even though it's sweetened with HFCS, but even that flavor is so fleeting and shallow that i can't really even call this a root beer. I'd call it… sugar. In water. ("Eggar… your skin is hanging off your bones…"). For reals though, i work with a guy who looks just like that guy right now. It's pretty exhilarating/unsettling.

My official review is that Ben's Old Fashioned Root Beer gets 3 (three) IBCs. It's not cutting it in the root beer world, and i am not even sure it can measure up as a soda. I've had root beers more offensive than this, but being offensive isn't Ben's problem. It's being distinguishable. I mean, kudos for doing the kosher thing and all. But even if that's your thing, i can't really recommend this stuff. It just doesn't do anyone any good.