Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Ramblin' Butterscotch Root Beer

I’ve been told on more than one occasion that I have an angry resting face. This means I naturally look angry when internally I am simply at my equilibrium; not happy, sad, angry, anxious, anything, etc.  I’m just in my default mode and not thinking about it. I would say “emotionless”, but that’s probably not accurate and is just what my wife calls me. I’ve been told it’s off-putting, meaning people don’t want to approach me. This I find works in my favor as I generally don’t care to engage with strangers, being an introvert by nature. But I never really grasped the full weight of this until I met a woman who bears the same affliction. In general, she looks like the weight of everything in the world has taken its toll on her for 30+ years, and most of the time it didn’t go the way she wanted. This woman is my niece’s mother-in-law, and when I met her was at the wedding of her son to my niece. I’m telling you I’ve never seen someone look more miserable, and it was at her son’s wedding no less. You would have thought she was completely against the union of her son and my niece but decided to keep it to herself, sitting and sulking while the couple read their vows. It was only during this moment I really understood what has been said to me for most of my adult life. “Is everything ok with you?” “You seem upset.” “You should smile more.” I never took any real offence to these comments, but they were annoying. I’m just being me. Why do I care if you think I’m upset or not? Well, now I understand that in social situations (like at a wedding) there is a general demeanor that is expected, and my unintentional broadcasting of faux personal distress or perceived lack of approval turns out to be a real downer for everyone else. So I’m trying to be more conscious of it, but old habits die hard and I find it’s too much effort to appear pleasant and happy all the time with little to no payoff. We’re all just doing the best we can out here.  

And speaking of doing the best we can, i am almost done with all the root beers i have had backlogged in my fridge for at least the last 5 years or so. I am closing in on the last few. This one is really just an extension of my last review, which was related to a review i wrote back in 2016. I'm taking of course about the Ramblin' Root Beer family with a line of flavors both common and uncommon to root beers. As discussed in my last post, it appears that Ramblin' has gone out of business but has licensed the right to brew and distribute their root beer flavors to Rocket Fizz, which is where i found this root beer. You can go back and look at my last review of Ramblin' Maple Root Beer or the original Ramblin' post if you so care to learn more about the company, or more-so, how i came to first find these root beers. It's not a thrilling read and holds little to no value to anything, so i wouldn't recommend it. But it's there if you want it. 

As i've already stated regarding the label, i'm a fan. It's fun, professional, colorful and conveys a sense of adventure in a bottle. But the reality is that this root beer is anything but an adventure. It's a very, very, very watered-down butter beer. I don't mind the butterscotch flavor that is the keynote finish to this elixir. But i wouldn't call it the dominant flavor because the dominant flavor is nothing. This tastes like nothing. It barely tastes like real cane sugar, which it is sweetened with. It just tastes like nothing, or maybe just water. The carbonation is so slight that it's not really even there. The root beer flavor does not exist. And the only other flavors are unpleasant and artificial at best. Indeed, the butterscotch is the star here because it swoops in at the end to save you from the terrible things this has done to your palette. But don't give it too much credit. The butterscotch flavor, which is still the most pleasant part of this drink, is also so weak and thin that it's barely noticeable. You really only taste it after it has sat on your tongue for a bit. Overall it seems like a waste of a drink. 

My official review is that Ramblin' Butterscotch Root Beer gets 2 (two) IBCs. The other flavors of Ramblin' i tried both got a score of 4, so i didn't have high hopes for this one. But i wasn't expecting it to be as big of a letdown as it was. Man is this a disappointing drink. I'd advise you to stay clear of this one as it really has no merit to it, not even as a novelty. There are plenty of other butter beers or butterscotch flavored root beers out there that put on much more of a show than this garbage. 

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Ramblin' Maple Root Beer

As I’ve stated several times in these posts, I grew up in a small town in northern Arizona. With a population of around 2000 people at the time, it’s the kind of town where everyone knows everyone. I went to school with the same small group of kids from kindergarten until I moved away my sophomore year of high school. I don’t keep any kind of regular contact with any of those people and only recently ran into one of my old childhood friends by random chance. But outside of that I haven’t talked to anyone from that town in probably 25 years. Even my last interaction with Brandon, my best friend growing up, was about 16 years ago right before I was getting married. But I still think about a friend of mine named Carl. He was the very definition of a nerdy kid. Big glasses, into video games, characteristically nebbish and weak, not super athletic or coordinated, and just rather awkward. My friend groups changed and shifted several times growing up but it was always the same churn of kids being in a small town, so all my friends either knew Carl or were also friends with Carl. He and I lived fairly close to one another and would hang out a lot, mostly to play video games or watch America’s Funniest Home Videos. His family took me along on a trip for Carl’s birthday to Phoenix one year to go to a water park. It was a classic childhood friendship. 

I think around 7th or 8th grade my friendship with Carl was put into a rather precarious situation. Carl’s dad’s name was Doug and he ran the local newspaper. As it turns out, Brandon’s dad’s name was also Doug. And wouldn’t you know it, Doug and Doug really didn’t like each other. I don’t know all the specifics of their beef or disagreements as it was mostly adult politics or whatever. I just know that tensions between these adults grew to the point where Brandon’s dad Doug (who used to go by the nickname “Pyro”) got into a fist fight with other Doug (Carl’s dad) right outside of the newspaper office in broad daylight and Pyro sprayed pepper spray in his face. After that, Brandon took a turn against Carl. He had also been friends with Carl growing up, but that was quickly cut off. I continued to be friends with Carl and unbeknownst to me Brandon wasn’t too keen about it. 

I played a lot of basketball as a kid (not particularly well) and Brandon and I signed up to go to a basketball camp in Prescott, AZ as we had done the summer before. This was probably the summer after 8th grade. It was a week-long camp where we stayed at a local college in the dorms and played basketball for several hours a day all week long. I was casually mentioning it to Carl one day and somehow convinced this goofy, uncoordinated nerd to come to basketball camp with us even though he had little to no athletic skill. He went home and talked to his parents about it and signed up soon after. I told Brandon that Carl would be joining us at camp and sharing a dorm with us. That was over the line for him. He wrote me a note telling me that he didn’t like Carl (we were kids who were too afraid or incapable of telling each other our feelings in person). It stemmed from the fight between their dads. I don’t remember the specifics of the note but it boiled down to me making a choice; I could be friends with him or with Carl, but not both. I didn’t deliberate it that much. The choice was clearly Brandon. He was my best friend. 

Carl still came to basketball camp with us and was completely unaware that I was suddenly no longer his friend. Not being Carl’s friend anymore is one thing, but the lengths to which i/we took to torturing him is unforgivable. We made his life a living hell that whole week. Looking back I am ashamed of how I acted. He walked into this camp thinking he would be spending a week with a good friend of his and instead got ridiculed, mocked, physically assaulted, tormented, and eventually shunned. About halfway through the week he started waking up early and leaving the dorm room before we woke up and wouldn’t come back until late night after we were asleep. I only saw him during basketball drills when I wouldn’t acknowledge him and sometimes in the cafeteria where he would eat alone. He existed like a ghost to avoid any kind of interaction with us. I’m disgusted when I think back to what I put him through that week. And when the camp was over and we came home I didn’t stop there. I continued to torment him as a show of loyalty to Brandon.  

Carl lived right across the street from the high school where his mother taught English. Her classroom faced their house and one day she got a full view of me taking a bike out of their yard that probably belonged to his sister and then ghost riding it into the curb and leaving it in the middle of the street. Brandon was with me and I was showing off for him. We walked to my house and just shy of reaching my properly we were stopped by Carl’s mom. She drove up behind us and stopped in the middle of the street, got out of the minivan that she left running and came up to me to chew me out. She was furious, and being a parent now I don’t blame her in the least. She let me know I was reprehensible in her eyes. She told me she watched me with the bike and that I was to never ever come near their house again. She sealed the whole deal by giving me a big shove. Yes, she laid her hands on me and pushed me as hard as she could, causing me to stumble backward a few steps. She didn’t say a word to Brandon and we both stood silent and motionless through all of the probably 30 second interaction. Then she drove away. 

When I got home she had called my mom and told her all about the bike incident and my actions at basketball camp. And that’s kind of where it ended. I never really got in trouble for it and I never really talked to Carl again. But I’m regularly haunted by this still. I consider this the greatest failure of my life. I forsook my friend at the drop of a hat because my other friend told me to, but even Brandon and I drifted apart not long after this. It was one of the first times the weakness of my character was revealed to me. Carl didn’t deserve the way I treated him and I will always be sorry for it. I don’t expect him to ever see this or know about this confession, and I’m not asking for his forgiveness because I truthfully don’t feel like I deserve it. I would just say that I hope he is well and I am forever sorry for what I did. 

Well... with that somber confession out of the way, let's talk about this new root beer. Ramblin' Maple Root Beer is another flavor offered by the Ramblin' line of soft drinks which are produced by Monarch Beverages and bottled by Rocket Fizz, which is where i found this. I originally was introduced to Ramblin' Root Beer (classic flavor) back in 2016 on a visit to Winchester Farmstand outside of Hemet, CA. You can go back and read that if you care. This looks like the case where Rocket Fizz acquired the rights to reproduce this root beer because the previously sited website on my post now leads to a dead end. Indeed, even the website www.drinkramblin.com that is listed on the label leads no where. So i imagine these guys just aren't in the game anymore. Fair enough, but in my opinion i am glad Rocket Fizz stepped in and is still putting this stuff out because it's good to have a variety of root beers for both historical and posterity sake.

I like the label on these Ramblin' drinks. They are lively and have lots of color. This one has a real autumn feel to it, including the maple leaves that grace the bottom of the label. You'd think a root beer like this comes from Canada but it Monarch Beverages is situated in Atlanta, GA and even the label claims this is a product of the USA. The label also boasts of real sugar and natural flavors. Regarding the taste, i think it's no surprise that this carries a strong maple syrup flavor. And that's really all it tastes like. It's like a very thin syrup that you drink. Almost no carbonation to it and nothing else to really stimulate the pallet. Just maple syrup. It's not as heavy or assaulting as Ward's, which also has a strong syrup taste to it, but i'm not in the practice of drinking straight syrup so this just isn't really my cup of tea (even though it's a root beer). 

My official review is that Ramblin' Maple Root Beer gets 4 (four) IBCs. Like Ward's and the classic Ramblin' before this, a score of 4 is the order of the day. These aren't "bad" root beers, but they certainly aren't good. Not even good enough for a middle of the road score. I poured some in cups for my kids to try and neither of them even finished it. They both had a single sip and said no thanks. So that's pretty damning if children don't even like your product considering that's like the core demographic. So like i said, while i'm glad this stuff is still around, some things may best be left in the past. 

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

KISS Army Root Beer

I don’t think I’m very good with money. To be completely honest, I do fine. I have a good job making a fairly compensated income and I’m the sole breadwinner in the family. We live a comfortable life. We have a nice home that we are fixing up ourselves and all our necessities are covered. And on top of all this I have very little debt, a decent retirement account and some money in the bank for emergencies, so I’m by no means in dire straits. In fact, while I would likely fall squarely into the middle of the middle class nationally, I’m considered one of the richest people in the world in global terms (as are many of you, my dear readers). But I constantly feel like I just “get by” rather than thrive. We have used cars that are paid off and falling apart. We eat out one to two times a week and take family vacations a couple times a year. Truthfully, it’s all I really deserve. But any of my attempts to “get ahead” rather then “get by” are thwarted by events out of my control as well as my own poor money managing decisions. Let’s go back to our home that we are fixing up. Buying a fixer upper has out of necessity made me into a DIY guy. It doesn’t hurt that I have a bit of knack for it as well as a natural interest in fixing things and working with my hands. So when our washing machine started to go out, I dove into YouTube videos to diagnose and understand the issue in an attempt to be frugal and thrifty and to make do with what I already have, the main goal being to avoid spending $600-$800 on a new washer when this one was perfectly adequate at cleaning our clothes and shouldn’t be too hard to figure out for a guy like me. Cut to more than a month of weekends spent removing suspect parts and replacing them with new parts only to find out that the suspect part likely wasn’t the issue at all and ordering other new parts to replace other suspect parts. A few rounds of that and a lot of frustration and swearing led me to finally call in the experts and get a tech out to the house to officially diagnose the problem, which is what I should have done in the first place. This is the downside of DIY. Unless you really know, you don’t know, and in this case, I didn’t know. Now I’ve put around $700 of new parts and service calls into this 10 year old washing machine when I should have just gone out and got a new one. My latest replacement part was just delivered, the part the technician guaranteed will fix the issue. Well I installed it and guess what… it didn’t fix the issue. But when he came back out to look at it again he told me to try replacing the same things i already replaced. So do I keep dumping money into this garbage fire or just bite the bullet and sell this on craigslist and get a new one? Either way, I feel like a failure. 

Speaking of failures, this is another novelty branded "joke" offering from Rocket Fizz, this time capitalizing on the fandom of the 1970's glam rock band KISS, aptly named KISS Army Root Beer. I already mentioned this in previous posts but i am not a fan of the band KISS. I know they have a following, though i think their fans are likely dying off in droves by this point and i doubt they are on-boarding new recruits. I just don't get it. Some of the music is "fun" i guess, but i was too young to enlist in the KISS Army. Not to mention, with my religious upbringing i was told this band was evil because their name is an acronym for Knights In Satan's Service, though from my limited exposure to their music i can find no indication of Satanic symbolism or suggestive themes. I don't think my parents needed to worry though. Their music itself was enough of a deterrent for me to find interest in other things entirely. Not to mention the iconic face of the band, Gene Simmons, is a legendary whore in the sense that he will shill anything with KISS attached to it. Truly the Garfield of the rock world (shots fired, Jim Davis).  

My original plan was to review this next to the previous root beer i just reviewed, Jimi's Hey Joe Root Beer, because i had a sneaking suspicion that they are the same root beer. But when i went down to my local Rocket Fizz i was unable to find either of these root beers in stock, and it's been a few days since i tried the Jimi's. To be fair, i no longer think these are the same based on the distinct "Christmas" aftertaste i get from this root beer (think Dad's Root Beer). Nothing on the ingredients list indicates this has anything distinctly different from most basic root beers. It seems to be perfectly synthetic in flavor. And the pure cane sugar lends a sweet finish to the overall taste. I must say, it's better than i thought it would be and definitely better than the Jimi Hendrix root beer. You've surprised me on this one Rocket Fizz. Well done on not recycling the same fluid in different labeled bottles. Still, it's a derivative root beer flavor for sure, much like the music of KISS (shots fired, again. It's a regular shooting gallery around here).

My official review is that KISS Army Root Beer gets 6 (six) IBCs. I'm feeling generous for some reason with this one. It exceeded my expectations, so i bumped the score up to 2 more than Jimi's root beer. This in no way reflects how i feel about the music of each of these individuals/groups. If that were the case these scores would be flipped and pushed toward the limits in opposite directions. It's a shame the root beers don't reflect how Jimi is truly a rock legend and a god and KISS will be forgotten about entirely in the next decade or two. Sorry to any of you KISS fans out there. But not really. And you're too old to still be wearing that makeup, you freaks. 

Saturday, June 17, 2023

Jimi's Hey Joe Root Beer

I don’t know if I mentioned this already but my wife and I invented a national holiday called Ice Cream’s Birthday. I have no idea when ice cream was really invented, and I doubt the internet does either which is why I refuse to Google it. We choose to celebrate the birth of Ice Cream on June 17th every year, kinda like how Jesus wasn’t really born on Christmas. And wouldn’t you know it, that means Ice Cream’s Birthday is… TODAY! We just figured it should be during the summer time, which is peak ice cream season, and this arbitrary date holds a bit of personal significance to me that is completely un-ice cream related. It’s something we came up with 20 years ago this year when we were just friends and before we ever dated. We were hanging out at night in a park eating some ice cream and the conversation led us to creating this holiday that is now celebrated annually by a very small group of people. But I’m hoping to make it catch on, so please spread the word (all 4 of you that read this blog). This year we are going to a new ice cream shop that we haven’t been to before. That’s one of the more popular ways we have done this in the past, but I’ve also celebrated by bringing ice cream sandwiches to work and handing them out to people in an attempt to get this thing to catch on. And in case I need to say out loud what everyone already knows, it hasn’t. I’m not affiliated with any ice cream stores and I’m not plugging or shilling for anyone’s personal business. I’m not interested in being compensated or even recognized for creating this glorious holiday, I just want it to be celebrated. I’m just saying go eat some ice cream on June 17th, people. 

Now, another completely un-ice cream related topic, Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix is considered one of the greatest (if not the greatest) guitar players of all time. His career was cut short when he overdosed at the age of 27. Still, his music is celebrated world wide and he definitely left his mark with his iconic appearances at huge music festivals like Woodstock. Still, for me he was only a passing casual listen. My best friend growing up was obsessed with Hendrix so i've definitely had exposure to most of his catalogue of songs, but even now i don't ever just throw on some Hendrix while I'm driving or working or what have you. 

So what does he have to do with root beer? Nothing, as far as i'm aware. This is another cheap exploitation of a famous person to sell sub-par root beer by the candy store we've all come to know and love; Rocket Fizz. They probably put the same generic root beer into the same bottles as all the other ones and then allocate which ones get which labels. Nothing about this root beer distinguishes it from any other run of the mill average basic root beer. It is flavored with cane sugar and has a thin, weak, watery root beer base flavor laced with a light carbonation. It also leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Truly a terrible root beer to disgrace this man's legacy. I say boo to you Rocket Fizz for this one. I'm about to review a KISS root beer that likely tastes identical to this but still seems more rightly fit for such a mediocre beverage.

My official review is the Jimi's Hey Joe Root Beer gets 4 (four) IBCs. I toyed with giving this a 3 because of how insulting it is to use Jimi's name on this, but on it's merits it's still not an absolutely garbage root beer. It's bad, but i've had worse. And do not be surprised at all when i review the KISS root beer and give it the same rating because i'm fairly certain it's the same liquid in both bottles. 

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Black Bear Root Beer

I want to talk a bit about hummus, or as some call it, terrorist peanut butter. It’s a food product that I came to late in life due to my long-time personal bias against hippies. And i know hippies aren’t the source or origin of hummus as a food, but the current incantation of hippies in society today certainly gravitates toward hummus as a means of sustenance. There’s lots of hummus you can get out there in the world today. All different kinds and flavors and consistencies. Store bought, restaurant prepared, homemade… it turns out whatever your specific desire can be fulfilled without a whole lot of fuss or effort. But the one that really sold it for me, really turned the tides against my hippie-centric bias against this food, was the cilantro jalapeno hummus from Pita Jungle. 

For those not in the know, Pita Jungle is a chain of restaurants here in the greater Phoenix area which caters to those looking for a health-conscious meal, mostly delving into Mediterranean cuisine. It’s a local hotbed for hippies. There are several locations just around where I live and all of them are simply lousy with white dudes with dreadlocks, unshaven ladies, and body odor that could strip the paint off a car. I swore this place off for years and refused to go near them, but as it turns out my wife has a soft spot for hippies and enjoys the fruit platters from Pita Jungle very much. SOOOO… not-so-long story even less long, I went there one night with my wife and some friends and we end up getting a starter plate of pitas and cilantro jalapeno hummus. And that was it. I’m officially in love with this hummus. I’ve tried to find similar mixtures from stores, my wife has attempted to make some at home from a recipe she found online, and each time I’m left disappointed because no one can recreate the magic that Pita Jungle has captured in their preparation. It’s crazy how perfectly balanced it is and just seems to cut through all the nonsense that gets packed into other hummus recipes. Even the other hummus flavors at Pita Jungle can’t compare. I mean, many of them are fine, but this stuff is in a whole different league. 

What does this have to do with root beer? Nothing, as far as i can tell. But i figure i'd just get that admission off my chest. So switching gears entirely, lets talk about this root beer. I think i got a 6 pack of this either from my wife of from a friend of mine. Black Bear Root Beer is bottled by Sprecher Brewing Company in Glendale, WI. I reviewed the standard Sprecher Root Beer years ago as one of the first ones when i started this blog and remember being fond of it but i couldn't tell you anything about it right now off the top of my head. Going back to read my post about it didn't provide much insight either. But just know this root beer is another offering from the same brewery/distributer. It comes in a standard bottle with an image of a large full moon in the background with the silhouettes of a mama bear and two cubs walking in the foreground. There is a short paragraph on the website about a bear named Clara, dubbed "the Legend", that was spotted in 1931 drinking from a puddle of root beer in the Northern Wisconsin woods under a full moon. I don't know how a puddle of root beer came to be in a remote area of the Northern Wisconsin woods, but sometimes it's not for us to know and just to believe and accept. Like religion. Or dying of cancer. 

Let me just say this is a classically good tasting root beer. Like i said, i was fond of Sprecher Root Beer but ultimately deemed it a middle of the road root beer only worthy of 5 IBCs. There is a smooth, creamy sweet base with strong root beer notes that carries this flavor profile quite well. I like the bite of the aftertaste and the overall sweetness. It's just a solid root beer is all. I can't really think of anything else to say about it. So i won't.

My official review is that Black Bear Root Beer gets 7 (seven) IBCs. Like the cilantro hummus from Pita Jungle, this one came out of the gate strong to make it's mark. I really enjoyed this root beer, likely because i have been limiting my sugar intake for the past couple months so having any soda for me right now is a real treat. This stuff is worth picking up if you come across it. 

Sunday, April 30, 2023

O-So Butterscotch Root Beer

Well, summer is here in Phoenix, AZ and it's time to get our summer bodies in shape. I have been trying to exercise regularly and cut out sugar in an attempt to slim down so i don't embarrass myself when i go to the public pool. I find my biggest problem is that i have a seriously concerning sweet tooth. I love sweets; candies, ice cream, pies, cookies, soda, etc. All of them have been a non-stop for me basically since the holidays. There wasn't an eggnog i would say no to during that time, and now i have to pay the price for my gluttony by depriving myself of all of it to satisfy my vain ambition to be "decent looking" with my shirt off. It's really all i can hope for at this point. So for the past 2 weeks i have cut sugar out of my diet, and i've been quite good about it. Aside from a sip or two of Pepsi when my wife cracks a can or a small taste of her dessert after a meal, i have cut it out of my diet, and it SUCKS. I still have a crazy craving for sugar, and even with my best efforts to exercise and run at least 3 times a week i am just now starting to see the results of my efforts. It's kinda like driving in a car. You can't be going 60 mph and throw it into reverse and all of a sudden be going backward. You have to slow the speed of your car until you come to a stop and then you can start to go backward. So i'm working this stuff through my system and getting ready to go in reverse and start shedding some lbs. (Every nutritionist out there is calling me an idiot right now, and you know what? They are right.) All of this is to say i've been doing good with my diet but i am breaking it for the sake of this blog. That's how committed i am to getting the truth out there about root beers. Will it be worth it? Probably not.

I thought for sure i did this one before because it's one i've heard about several times in several places, but it appears i am just now getting to reviewing O-So Butterscotch Root Beer, bottled by Orca Beverage Bottling Co. We've seen Orca before as they bottle several other root beers i have tried, like Bedford's and Americana. The label states that O-So has been in production since 1946. I don't know much else about the history as this was likely an old company that either went out of business or sold off the recipe near the end to Orca to continue bottling the root beer. I feel like Orca specializes in finding older, often no longer in production sodas to give them a new life. This seems to be the kinds of root beers bottled by Orca to my knowledge and memory. And as i stated, this one seems like i should have done it already but i didn't see it in my archives so i've either just mistakenly not reviewed this or i got this root beer a long time ago and it's just been sitting in my fridge (both are highly likely scenarios). Since we are already talking about the label i will just go ahead and say the design on this one was phoned in. They did minimal work on this and it shows. Its a yellow... i guess clover shaped blob(?) with white writing in it. No extra points there. The name O-So lends to the statement on the bottom of the label which states that this stuff is "O-So Delicious!"

Well... i don't know if i would call it delicious, but it's pretty good. My main gripe is the same i have with any of the other butterscotch root beers i have had in the past. Too much butterscotch, not enough root beer. This stuff tastes much more like a butter beer than a root beer. This is made with pure cane sugar, which is prominent in the sweetness, and has hints of vanilla and carmel throughout. But the main overwhelming flavor is that of butterscotch. Luckily for me, i enjoy butterscotch quite a lot so this is a bit of a treat for me considering i've been off sugar. I almost don't want to say it but rather like this. My instincts tell me it should have more of a root beer flavor but i think what they have going on is working for them. Perhaps just change the name to butter beer and i won't make such a fuss about it. 

My official review is O-So Butterscotch Root Beer gets 7 (seven) IBCs. This is rated much higher than i should but it's a good drink. Again, i wouldn't call this a root beer but i would say it lives up to the O-So moniker. That's really the only reason it gets a 7, because it tastes very good and scratches that sweetness itch i've been having for the past 2 weeks. Ultimately this was not worth breaking my sugar abstinence for, but to be fair my kids helped me drink it so that i wouldn't overdose. 

Thursday, March 30, 2023

MoneyBag Root Beer

I know I harp on this a lot, but every time I go to Disney I am more and more convinced of how sinister that organization is. I’m currently in therapy, so before I level yet another criticism I have against this corporation, I want to start by saying something nice about Disney. When I go to Disneyland, or any of the Disney World parks really, I expect the park to be clean, to be safe, and to be reasonably in working order. And for the most part, Disney delivers. For the amount of garbage generated in these locations, you never see it piled up in back corners or low traffic areas. People are employed to make sure it looks nice. Disney Security is no joke. They don’t suffer idiots lightly and will remove anyone seeking to make problems for the rest of the park goers. When I go to drink water from the water fountain, I don’t worry if it's clean water or not, and as an added bonus I can count on it to be cold. I was once told that every night Disney employees go through the park and replant any dead flowers and touch up any painted surfaces that may need it because they want the park goers to have the best possible experience. Not sure if that last one is true or not, but it certainly fits the narrative that Disney is putting its best foot forward when it comes to giving you the optimal experience. The one catch; you’re gonna pay for it. The Disney Corporation has SO MUCH MONEY. An insane amount of money really. All they care about is money. Money money money. It’s the only motivation this company has. Nothing they do or create or promote is not in the service of getting you to give them more of your money. Why? So that it can be their money. As of this posting, the Disney Corporation has a market capitalization of $176.96 billion. What does market capitalization mean? I have no idea. But I know what $176.96 billion means. It means they have so much money that they simply leave it lying on the ground all over their parks. 

These photos show coins, “wishes” really, littered around the Disney parks that they don’t even want or need. They won’t ever collect this money because THEY DON’T EVEN WANT THIS MONEY. Ride Small World, or Big Thunder Mountain, or even the ferry from the Magic Kingdom parking lot to the park entrance. There is a staggering amount of money all around you just lying on the ground, in the water, on buildings, in small crevices, everywhere. And I know it’s just coins, but that all adds up. I go through my wife’s car from time to time to harvest all the coins she accumulates and routinely come up with around $100 every 6 months or so. Now imagine all the money Disney accumulates every day that it doesn’t even care to collect. This isn’t even on the books. It’s just there, YOUR money, to remind you how rich they are. Perhaps instead of raising ticket prices year after year they could just go pick up all these forgotten wishes. But they would never do that. They would just collect those coins and still raise ticket prices next year. 

That being said, this root beer is the answer to the age-old question, “what root beer do rich people drink?” The answer is right in front of your nose, my friend. Of course, it’s MoneyBag Root Beer, brought to you by none other than Gene Simmons, the legendary face of the 1970’s glam rock band KISS. Now, first and foremost I have to make it clear… I couldn’t care less about the band KISS. I’m a 90’s kid and had little-to-no exposure to this music growing up. By the time I had developed my taste in music and could actually find any value in the catalog of this band, I simply did not. I heard enough to formulate my decision fairly early. On top of that, all I know of Gene Simmons is that he is a self-obsessed ego maniac and a promotional whore. He really thinks he’s the cat’s pajamas, even while looking like if Satan’s henchman was actually an old, angry casino mob boss’s grandma (and that’s without all his performance makeup on). And in an attempt to both stay relevant and also bilk working class people out of their hard earned money (Disney’s ears are burning), Mr. Simmons has created a line of sodas, what I can only imagine is his idea of a lucrative revenue stream since all his fans are now in recovery. 

Alright, i've already rambled on for far too long, so let me just make this brief. The bottle is a clear glass 12 oz with a slight champagne bottle shape, not that it's anything special. I doubt that was intentional but perhaps Grandma Gene thought it would appeal to his clientele and add to the overall theme of "look how wealthy I am". The label is a sticker with just 2 or 3 colors, all in the brown/tan/beige variety. It's not a bad design, featuring a large sack of money under the name of the root beer. But it's instantly ruined by the fact that this narcissist has to put his signature on the label (and the bottle cap) so you won't forget he's taking your money and in return giving you the bare minimum of what a root beer should be. That's right, the big reveal; this stuff isn't very good. [insert lack of surprise here] To be fair (again, my therapy kicking in here) it has a decent creamy vanilla flavor and nice carbonation with a sweet cane sugar finish. Now, niceties dispensed, the flavor it does carry is very small and thin. It mostly tastes like watered down root beer. They are letting the cane sugar do most of the heavy lifting with the sweetness, but in reality this stuff is just mediocre. I struggle to find the root beer flavor shine through and when it does it's quite enjoyable. But ultimately i'm left drinking basically just sugar flavored water. Still, it's more of a root beer than many others i have tried and it doesn't leave a gross taste in my mouth. 

Also, my wife says it tastes like medicine. Just thought i'd throw that in there if anyone was curious.

My official review is that MoneyBag Root beer gets 5 (five) IBCs. I feel like i'm being generous here, way more generous than i really need to be with this stuff. Still, for what it is (an obvious cash grab by a money-hungry, hanger-on has-been who really doesn't need it) they could have done way way worse with it. And so for the middle of the road effort put into making this thing i will award a middle of the road rating. I doubt i will get this again, but it's not the worst thing you can do with your money. 

That would be giving it to Disney.