Sunday, August 26, 2018

Original New York Seltzer Root Beer Soda

Ok, i'm gonna be straight up with you guys... i have very low expectations for this one. I think just seeing it most would probably agree. For starters, the fact that it's clear throws me off a lot, even being a HUGE fan of Crystal Pepsi in the 90's. But that's not the only thing throwing me off about Original New York Seltzer Root Beer Soda. The fact that it's called root beer soda and not just root beer also makes me think this stuff isn't legit. The company was founded in Walnut, CA in 1981 by a father and son team, contrary to the nostalgic 1930's era font and east coast affiliation, but more about that later. The founders focused on making a soda line free of preservatives, and consequently all their flavors of soda are clear in color. They use the acronym ONYS to refer to the soda line in short hand. While this line of soda is reported to have had great success and found a following in the 1980's (according to the company's own website), it essentially vanished in the 1990's. It has only recently began being brewed and distributed when an childhood fan bought the original factory in 2013 and began production in 2015. I bought this on a recent trip to the local Rocket Fizz shop, but this soda is apparently being sold at several grocery stores nation wide.

Alright, lets get down to the aesthetics. First, the bottle. It's real short and stubby and clear glass (so you can see the clear soda inside it). The label says it's 10 oz, but i have a hard time believing that since it's so small next to a traditional 12 oz bottle. As mentioned before, the font on the label has a somewhat 1930's Great Gatsby-esque vibe to it. There is a picture of the Manhattan skyline at the bottom of the bottle right above the company's motto "The Choice is Clear." The color scheme is pretty uninspiring, but other than that i think it's a quite pleasing label. It definitely caught my eye when i saw it first. I assume the 2nd distribution run kept the original label and design, which i think was a wise choice (if it is indeed the case).

So remember when i said i was concerned this one would be garbage? Well i'm actually quite happy to say this one isn't half bad. I expected a weak root beer flavor that was dominated by soda water, but instead found a nice aroma and refreshingly classic root beer taste. It has good carbonation, is sweetened with cane sugar, and tastes like a root beer should taste. It left a bit of a bad after taste, but that's not immediate. So overall, it was a pleasant and surprising experience.

My official review is that Original New York Seltzer Root Beer Soda gets 7 (seven) IBCs. Kudos ONYS on the root beer. It's a good solid flavor. It's unique. It's retro and a throwback and i think people are gonna like it. Grab one of these little guys if you get the chance and give it a try.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Private Selection Creamy Ginger Root Beer

I keep seeing this one and i swear i have reviewed it already, but when i go back through my posts it isn't listed. I'm probably thinking of Signature Select which i reviewed not that long ago, but it also reminds me of the Safeway Select generic brand of soda that was only $0.25 per can back in the mid 1990's. This root beer definitely falls into this same category, which is why the ambiguous nature is so confusing. Private Selection is the house brand of Kroger, and as a result this root beer can be found in numerous grocery stores across the nation (so much so that i don't even remember where i picked this one up). Do i need to look up a website for Kroger? I don't think so, but here it is anyway. I think everyone is aware of this giant food conglomerate. My prediction for this review; unremarkable.

For a generic root beer, the label isn't as bad as i would think. It's a sticker label on a 12 oz. brown glass bottle with typical font styles and color schemes, but Kroger put a little flourish into it to jazz it up a bit with some detailed graphics and images worthy of a t-shirt design from the mid 2000's. It's fairly simple, but not too simple. I think it's decent for a generic soda.

This root beer is sweetened with real cane sugar and, as the name and the graphics on the label suggest, flavored with ginger. I'm not really picking up the creamy aspect as this stuff is basically just a ginger beer. I like ginger beer, ginger ale, and generally most things ginger flavored with the exception of ginger snaps. But does that mean i like this root beer. No it does not. There is no root beer flavor to speak of. I know ginger is a root and that technically makes this a root beer, but it would be more aptly branded as a ginger beer since it will not meet the expectation of any sane person buying a root beer. And i know i said i like ginger beers, but i wouldn't even say this is that good of a ginger beer. It's mediocre at best. Very dry and watered down. Again, no creaminess and no root beer flavor. My 6-year-old son took a quick drink and began nodding in approval followed by an immediate physical change in body language, complete with a disapproving face and shaking of his head. I fear that anyone who tries this "root beer" will come to the same conclusion much more quickly than my son who both lacks experience and is, dare i say, basically an idiot.

My official review is that Private Selection Creamy Ginger Root Beer gets 3 (three) IBCs. Despite the paltry score, this stuff isn't undrinkable. It's simply not a good ginger beer, and not a root beer at all. I would caution anyone thinking of trying this to seek another option.