Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Live Probiotic Root Beer

I've done a lot of dumb things in my life. One of those dumb things was as a teenager growing up in Arizona. I was in highschool in Gilbert, AZ and my group of friends was looking for something to do to entertain ourselves. A few of us had driving privileges and access to vehicles, so one of the genius ideas we came up with was to go through a drive thru at any of the numerous fast food places and place an order. When we got up to the window, we wouldn't pay and we wouldn't get the food. Instead, we would have the guy sitting in the front passenger spot (i.e. "shotgun") raise a super soaker and blast the drive thru attendant before we drove off. Oh, and we would also videotape it. You know, for posterity. We did this literally dozens of times during our youth with a rotating group of friends. A few of these incidents stick out in my memory, like the time i blasted a dude in the face and knocked off his hat and headset, or the time one of the victims tried to jump through the window and grab the driver. But there is one time which still haunts me to this day. I don't recall if we continued this activity after this incident, but if we did it was one of the last times. I remember being in my friend Ryan *last name redacted*'s parents suburban and it was loaded to capacity with other kids. I honestly don't remember if i was manning the super soaker, but i want to say i was. The video camera was sitting right behind Ryan and rolling per usual This is the vantage point i most remember because we watched this footage over and over, but i also feel like i had a first hand visual of locking eyes with this guy. He was a schlubby looking dude, probably in his late 30s and looked like his life had taken some wrong turns. He probably once had dreams and aspirations, but a few failed semesters of school and some dicey credit card purchases along with a health scare of two probably pushed him into taking this job for way longer than he intended and the fast food grind had just taken it out of him over the years. He looked tired, unkempt, permanent 5 o'clock shadow, bags under his eyes, dark hair, a touch over weight, and (dare i say) swarthy. He greeted us mechanically and told us the total, which was our (my) queue to raise the squirt gun into position and let this guy have it like we had done with so many other poor souls before. But the thing that distinguished this dude from the rest is that he just stood there and took it, his dead eyes staring me down as i trained the stream up and down his body from his belly up to his face and back down over and over. And the whole time... he just stood there and took it. No real emotion crossed his countenance. It was the look of a man who had long been dead inside, and this was the last straw that he needed to help him go home, finish his manifesto, and then extinguish his whole family and then himself. We drove off laughing and congratulating ourselves, but i had no idea i would still think about this dude to this day as one of the guys I've done wrong in my life that i need to track down and give an apology to.

Now, why do i tell you this story? Is it to brag about my adolescent idiocy? Maybe a little. Is it to look back on my wasted youth and realize this is why i can't speak a second language or play the piano or excel at sports? Probably a little of that as well. But mostly, it's to realize i've done bad things in my life that i was never properly punished for and that in a cosmic or karmic sense, i am being punished now for my sins by having to drink this "root beer". Keen readers will recall i already reviewed another variation of Live Root Beer, specifically the Live Kombucha Root Beer. But this is the probiotic line from Live Sodas, and according to the blurb on the can, root beer is the most popular flavor. Live Sodas operates out of Austin, TX and is capitalizing on the sugar free movement by promoting "healthy" sodas with things like probiotics to improve digestion. I would categorize this as a "natural" soda, and in my language "natural" translates to "nasty". I can already tell you, this one is gonna be bad.

So on with the normal conventions of my formatting. It is at this point in the review that i tell you i got this root beer in a 6-pack of 12 oz cans. It is unfortunate that i had to get 6 of these as i would have preferred just the bare minimum of 1, but this is how they were sold. The coloring and imagery follows the conventions of a generic brand, with drab brown colors with a white or cream offset. They throw in a splash of red with the logo to liven it up a bit (no pun intended). The background is made to look like bubbles, perhaps as an accent on the fact that this has probiotics in it. I know little (nothing) about probiotics and don't care to do further (any) research on them, but i am taking a wild guess that like yeast when it is exposed to sugar, these organisms feed off some of the other ingredients and create carbonation as a result. If that's not accurate, guess what, i don't care. But if it is true, then kudos to me for coming up with that by myself. The can is also littered with all the logos and reminders that this is a zero sugar, naturally sweetened, non GMO soda to entice any of those hippies out there to give it a try.

I gave this thing the smell test when i cracked it open and could barely distinguish a faint root beer aroma. It mostly smelled like nothing, which the taste nearly mirrors. This stuff tastes like seltzer with a slight splash of root beer flavor. It's sweetened with monk fruit extract, which doesn't seem like it's pulling its weight because this stuff is pretty bitter. The aftertaste is actually much sweeter than when drinking it, and by aftertaste i mean 30 seconds to a minute or more after drinking it. The can has a blurb on it saying this root beer is "rich and creamy, bold and refreshingly smooth", none of which i would use to describe this drink. These adjectives are common among natural and generic root beers alike because they don't have a good enough flavor profile to come up with something unique to say. I drank the whole can, so i guess that's to its credit, but i didn't really enjoy anything about this experience.

My official review is that Live Probiotic Root Beer gets 3 (three) IBCs. This was my punishment, and i knew that going in. But as i stated above, the after-aftertaste of this root beer is actually not too punishing. Its the initial getting it down that really is a chore, and for that reason i won't be getting it again. Maybe it will appeal to your inner hippie, but i just don't care for it. I doubt this is proper penance for my previous teenage crimes, but it's a step toward making me a better person. And you know what else helps? The saving grace in all this is the fact that regardless of how juvenile and reckless those activities were, they will never be anywhere near as crazy, dangerous or awesome as this guy's. I mean, come on. He wins hands down.