Thursday, December 11, 2014

Big Ben's Root Beer

'Ello 'ello! I know what you're thinking by looking at the name of this root beer! Well knock it off, cuz you're wrong dummy. This is Big Ben's Root Beer (apostrophe "s", possessive). Besides, the Brits don't even like root beer. The website for this root beer is a bit rough. Seems like it never got updated from the mid '90s. From what i gather, Big Ben's beverages has 23 flavors of soda and is made in Catawissa, PA (a place i've never heard of). Since it's brewed in Pennsylvania, i wonder if the name of the root beer has anything to do with the Pittsburg Steelers. Hmm... someone will have to let me know if i'm on to something with that. Probably not though since this root beer was brewed and sold long before Roethlisberger was even in the NFL. The root beer is bottled by Catawissa Sparkling Beverages, a company started by a husband and wife back in the 1920s. I am still unsure if this bottling company ended up changing it's name to Big Ben's or they are just licensed to distribute Big Ben's along with several other brands. I don't know. The info on the website is a bit confusing and does not follow any hard narrative. It just kinda wanders and talks a lot about equipment used to brew sodas. I found it quite an uninteresting read, nor very enlightening. I'm note sure who wrote it, but i must say... it could use some work. But what would i know? I've only written somewhere around 170 amazing root beer reviews. And by that i mean my reviews are amazing, certainly not all those root beers.

The website does mention switching labeling methods during different times in production. The current label is a glued on paper label with basically no frills. It's not the most generic looking label i've seen, but it's a contender. The colorful font is the only thing that saves this from being utterly drab. Even so, that's not enough. It just looks like a cheap root beer based on the label alone. I'll be honest... it's a little depressing to look at. I almost didn't want to drink it, and if i didn't take a vow and hold myself to a strict code of ethics i probably wouldn't have bothered with this one based on looks alone.

Sigh... sometimes i hate having a strict code of ethics. I'll just cut to the chase. This stuff isn't good. It's not terrible, but it's certainly not a strong root beer. If this is popular in Pennsylvania then Pennsylvania is wrong. I don't know, i've never been there, but they aren't putting their best foot forward with this one. Right off the bat, clear glass bottle. My theory holds strong. I've had one or two good ones in clear glass bottles, but this seems to follow suit with most of the rest of the garbage in clear glass bottles. I guess they want you to really see their failure clearly so you have to make the moral decision of whether or not to ingest this stuff with full consciousness of the choice you are making. It has an almost bitter, really acrid taste to start, finishes with a hint of sweet from the cane sugar, and fades into an overwhelmingly bad after taste. Doesn't taste like root beer at all and what little flavor it has is very watered down. The carbonation is just shy of abominable as well. All in all, i was in for a terrible night after drinking this.

My official review is Big Ben's Root Beer gets 2 (two) IBCs. I gotta say it. I hate this root beer. I hate that i am currently passing it through my body. It's not good. Period. Still, the crazy thing is that i have had worse. MUCH worse, and not just Henry Weinhard's. Just steer clear of this one. That's really the only thing you need to take away from this train wreck .

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