Thursday, 27 March 2014

River City root beer review

I've been consciously buying more quality root beers lately by reading the ingredients and trying to avoid those with high fructose corn syrup - remember, just say 'no' kids.

This River City root beer is made with pure cane sugar and no sickly HFCS. It has a great vanilla like smell when the bottle gets opened. Strange being none mentioned on the ingredients list. It's also very fizzy so it isn't a smooth taste but the after taste is very pleasant with an almost syrupy texture. It reminds me of Stewart's root beer I reviewed recently but better.

Nice touch with the bottle label showing the perfect ice cream to root beer ratio (2 scoops to 1 bottle).

A Cyber Candy, Brighton store purchase, I rate this:


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Sunday, 16 March 2014

Stewart's root beer review

I already had reservations before drinking this Stewart's root beer. The ingredients list were suspiciously like other mass produced root beers headlined with the high fructose corn syrup and, for the UK it was available from online stores selling well known, mass produced products like A&W and Barq's, not the normal gourmet, independent ones I usually buy.

After a good root beer smell and a very strong carbonation feeling on the tongue there's a distinctive taste at the back of the throat which I really can't describe. It might be burnt caramel like crème brûlée but after a few more concentrating sips another memory came through - a kind of medicinal smell, even more so than the typical root beer flavour. My psychic powers could only conjour up that the after-taste was Covonia, the cough syrup.

Like all root beers drinking from ice cold is the best way. As this root beer warmed up the flavours changed and lost its tartness. I'll blame the HFCS (though have no scientific proof of that).

Bought from for £1.99, in light of the unusual after taste that kept me guessing but with the cheap ingredients and mid-range price I'm rating this a generous:


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Thursday, 13 March 2014

Dublin Texas Root beer review

Slightly confusing branded bottle here. Is it an Irish company in Texas? Is it made by a company called Texas. Ok, its not really that confusing and officially, Dublin Bottling Works located in Texas have created a tasty 'Texas' root beer

Dublin's website is actually quite interesting and explains its legendary soft drink history. Back in 1891 in Waco, Texas (the same Waco that had the massacre), a guy called Morrison created a drink fruit, spicy smelling drink the locals simply (or another violent referred to) called 'shoot me a Waco' but renamed it as Dr Pepper - yes, that Dr Pepper. Decades later the brand gets sold on but Dublin Bottling kept going with other soft drink flavours which root beer was a late comer. Other merchandise includes their Christmas decoration.

How's it taste, partner?
As soon as you unscrew the bottle there's a great smell, creamy root beer smell. The good stuff continues with a very fizzy and flavoursome gulp. The caramel after-taste and fizziness snaps at your taste buds.

Its caffeine-free and has pure cane sugar. Gets my vote.


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Friday, 7 March 2014

Squamscot root beer review

As soon as you open this bottle of Squamscot your expectations are raised by the inviting smell of vanilla. Just a shame that the immediate taste is a little disappointing being quite watery and distant. The root taste sneaks in at the end but it's too little too late.

Still, after a couple of mass-produced root beers its great to taste a fresh and natural albeit weak tasting drink. Good to see that pure cane sugar is being used instead of the horrible high fructose syrup and is caffeine free. The rest of ingredients looked very natural until I read the following two items: Methyl Salicylate and Sodium Benzoate. Actually both are (sort of) natural with no real worries. Only the Sodium Benzoate had some nutritional issues - it's not great for kids with AHHD but on the other hand its naturally found in cranberries and apples.

Squamscot are a very, very old New Hampshire brewery and their website matches this heritage (tongue-in-cheek, sorry). Established in 1863 there are an amazing amount of other flavours including the Maple Cream, Fruit Bowl, Half and Half (lemon and grapefruit), and Yup (which is just lemon, yup, just lemon). For this I doff my cap to.

Apart from that, the label design isn't going to win any awards. It looks like the company has used a Windows 95 PC with a first edition of PowerPoint to design it (and the website in Word). Still it has a some charm and could always be used in films and TV shows looking to recreate the early 1990s.


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Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Dad's root beer review

This was the second generous freebie from American Soda, the online shop for your Yankee vitals. Dad's Root Beer is the cheapest of their root beer selection but does this low price mean low taste?

Well, yes and no in this case. It's certainly better in terms of taste than the UK budget root beer maker, Carter's which I reviewed earlier this year. There's a traditional taste of root beer but for me its like drinking full-fat Coke. After about three gulps my teeth had that 'dissolving' feeling and I was looking for the ice to water it down. Checking the ingredients and I can see that its full of High Fructose Corn Syrup, basically a cheap substitute for sugar with some questionable health concerns. At least it's caffeine-free.

For the less discerning root beer drinker it offers a cheaper, full of flavour experience. For the older, root beer connoisseur I'm prepared to spend a bit more on those independent brews with natural ingredients. Otherwise you'll probably want to stick to A&W or the previously reviewed Barq's.

Dad's root beer (can designed by the same people behind WD40) is available to buy in 355ml cans at 99p from American Soda.

I rate this:


Monday, 3 March 2014

Barq's Root Beer review

Our friends up north, American Soda based near Manchester kindly contacted me to offer a couple of root beer samples. As well as Dad's root beer I was also offered this Barq's root beer.

American Soda offer a great range of USA goods from sweets, chocolate, soft drinks, baking goods and even washing powder (?). There's even some Harry Potter merchandise.

For root beer American Soda has a generous handful of canned and bottled drinks:
  • A & W (in regular and diet and also available in 2 litres)
  • Barq's
  • Dad's
  • Mug (in regular and diet)
  • IBC (in regular and diet)
  • Sioux City
  • Stewarts (in regular and diet)
  • Days
On the can it says there's 160 calories which I thought at the time sounded reasonable. However, compared to Coke it wasn't that much different. Still the marketing gimmick worked. Whilst we're talking business here it worth mentioning that Barq's is part of the Coca Cola group so it's mass-produced and therefore cheaper than the gourmet root beers I would normally go for.

The actual taste surprised me despite all the high fructose corn syrup. It's a standard root beer taste with enough depth and plenty of fizz (if you like seeing a head to your drink). Tried the second free can I received with a vodka based root beer float and it worked like a charm. There was an odd after-taste right at the end of the gulp but for some reason my taste buds weren't quick enough to recognize it. Strange and it didn't put me off.

Since Barq's is a mass-produced root beer like A&W there's not much difference between the two, hence the score being the same. They both taste good and are priced at £1.29 from the American Soda online shop. I can only suggest you buy both and take the taste test.


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