Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Rocket Fizz Root Beer (with nutmeg)

I used to work at a restaurant in high school with a kid named Daniel Ortiz. Daniel was older than me by a few years but ended up being in my grade due to being expelled in middle school for bringing a knife. He wasn't a bad dude, but he had a bad reputation and a temper to boot. As long as you didn't get on his bad side, he was a chill guy though. I wouldn't say we were friends but we hung out at work and a little bit socially. When i was a sophomore, the school system decided to give Daniel another shot at public school. This is why he ended up being in my grade when he should have been a senior. I may have had multiple classes with him, but i only remember one; Sophomore English. Daniel started out the year just getting acclimated to school life again. The first part of the school year went pretty smoothly for him.  It was a small town and a small school and he knew many of the kids already, so he wasn't busying himself trying to make friends. But one person he did not know was our student teacher for the year, and she didn't know him. Her name escapes me but she was a mid 20's stocky lady who was desperate to establish herself as a teacher. We gave her a little guff, but nothing like what we gave to full out substitute teachers. However, Daniel had it in his head one day that he wasn't gonna give her what she demanded; respect. He sat at the front of class (not sure if this was due to assigned seating or what) and i sat along the side wall near the door in the front row, my desk turned 90 degrees to face him. He was just laughing and joking with people around him while the student teacher was trying to deliver her lesson. When she asked him to be quiet so she could teach, he snidely disregarded her. She was becoming visibly upset and Daniel seemed oblivious to anything she instructed. The time came when she passed out some paperwork for us to look at. Daniel was given a stack and told to take one and pass the rest back. He dropped the whole pile on the ground and smirked. I don't know what he was trying to accomplish, but he was making a stand. "Pick those up," she demanded. He commented back rudely, i don't quite remember his exact words. What i do remember though is the way she reacted, which still baffles me. She grabbed the hat off his head. She was young and naive and, as i mentioned, desperate to prove herself capable. But she miscalculated this altercation with Daniel by a long shot. I mean, this kid was expelled in middle school for carrying a weapon. He wasn't afraid of conflict and he didn't submit to authority. "Give me back my hat!" he barked. "Pick up those papers," she responded sternly. He silently glared at her for probably only 10 seconds but it felt like an hour. The rest of the class stared silently at the situation. Daniel's countenance had changed from jovial and uncaring to incensed. He turned his angry gaze downward to his desktop, silent but still refusing to pick up the papers. I didn't take my eyes off him. The teacher walked back behind her podium and placed his hat inside it and resumed teaching her lesson. I don't remember anything she said or how long she talked for. I just kept watching Daniel. He was wrestling inside himself. I knew he was a decent dude but that he was capable of bad things. However, i never expected his reaction. After a few minutes of sitting in silence, he stood up and walked to the podium. "Give me my hat," he said forcefully. Not waiting for her reaction, he reached around inside and grabbed it. She tried to stop him and grab the hat away and in one quick movement he violently shoved her backward into the chalkboard, slamming her against the wall and knocking her off balance. She caught herself on the railing to prevent falling to the ground. "Go to the office!" she screamed as she struggled to pull herself back up onto her feet. He voice sounded betrayed, terrified and humiliated. Daniel turned, not saying another word, and walked out of the class. With his hat. The whole incident happened so fast but burned into my brain because of how unlikely and shockingly it all went down. It was, of course, the talk of the whole school as being in a small town this type of gossip was currency. And as for Daniel, he was soon expelled from high school for assaulting a teacher.

Now what was this teacher's fatal flaw in this encounter? It was that she underestimated Daniel, a boy she didn't know at all and probably didn't hear the history about. So what does this have to do with root beer? Well this one falls into that category. You see, Rocket Fizz already has a root beer. I reviewed it back in June of 2013. And while i don't remember the root beer itself, the review i wrote was pretty bland. So i assumed this one would find itself in the same category. I almost didn't even get it because i figured it was just respun. But the label says Rocket Fizz Root Beer "with nutmeg". So that made me think this is just a rip off of Virgil's Bavarian Nutmeg root beer, which it totally is. But if i reviewed that by itself separate from Virgil's original recipe, i figured i would go ahead and get this one too.

To highlight how similar this is to Virgil's Bavarian Nutmeg you need only look at the bottle. This comes in an oversized 16 fl oz bottle. Additionally, it has that nifty little pop top with a rubber gasket that's resealable. It's fun, but it's a total rip off. The similarities in packaging end there. The label for this root beer is more akin to a generic with the color scheme, the text and the depiction of a root beer barrel. The label isn't the big draw, it's the size of the bottle and the pop top. But honestly, those things are enough. This thing stands out on a shelf big time. It dwarfs the surrounding bottles and commands your attention.

And back to the similarities with this and Virgil's, the nutmeg in this thing is a game changer. MUCH better than the original recipe. This is why this root beer is underestimated. I was expecting a larger bottle of the bland flavor the original recipe boasts. But this thing is loaded with flavor. It's sweetened with cane sugar and has a deep nutmeg base and after tone without burying the root beer notes. It's real good guys. It lacks on the creaminess of Virgil's, but i wouldn't mind trying them back to back to see how far the attempted replication goes. I've also cut out sugar for almost two months, so the sweetness of this is really hitting me right now. It's real good folks. Don't sleep on this one.

My official review is that Rocket Fizz Root Beer (with nutmeg) gets 7 (seven) IBCs. I docked it a bit for lack of originality, and it's just not quite where Virgil's is. But it's a good one to try for sure. I found this one at our local Rocket Fizz store and i'm sure it's available on their website. If you're in the mood give this one a shot. It's a treat for sure.

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