Showing posts with label caffeine-free. Show all posts
Showing posts with label caffeine-free. Show all posts

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Virgil's Zero Root Beer review

It's a midweek evening and I don't want a full 45% of my sugar intake (I eat too much chocolate as it is and I'm cutting that down!). What to do? Enter this sugar-free Virgil's Zero root beer.

I quite liked the full sugar root beer from Virgil's and at the first gulp the flavours of this sugar-free brew were almost identical. But it was too good to be true with the distinctive diet after-taste disappointment. It was like all big brass build-up then a quiet, rapy gasp of nothing.

Personally I don't see the point. At this price for any root beer it's more like a treat every so often so taking away the best bit renders this pointless. Anyone on a diet who loves root beer should just drink a normal one every month and double up the jogging.

Bought orginally from American Fizz at £1.49 for a 355ml bottle.

I rate this caffiene and sugar-free root beer:


Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Virgil's Doctor Better review

It's basically a Dr. Pepper drink, end of. Compared to the mass produced Dr. Pepper this Virgil's Doctor Better drink is a bit smoother but none the less has the same odd taste. I realise this sounds weird especially with root beer being a specialist taste. If you're a fan then get in there, it's probably the best Doctor drink you can get.

In case you were wondering where the 'doctor' drink concept came from then you have to go way back when these type of drinks were marketed as a brain tonic and energizing pick-me-up. Available only in chemists in the US around the late 1880s.

If you love Battenberg cake then you'll love this with a smooth marzipan taste. There's no caffeine and contains all natural ingredients so none of that nasty high fructose corn syrup. Available from American Sweets for £1.49 a 355ml bottle.

There's plenty of US-based soft drinks reviewers out there including this guy - Soda Tasting who rates it as much as I do:

I rate this personally:


Thursday, 15 October 2015

Hansen's creamy root beer review

After a few months of root beer abstinence due to giving up on finding any decent imports, the Soda Folk root beer success gave me some confidence in the UK market. I've since rediscovered that American Fizz is stocking a few root beers I've yet to review. Last time I ordered from this Bournemouth-based shop was the Virgil's root beer which passes the EU sodium benzoate ingredient test. I rated it 8/10.

This Hansen's root beer is Germolene on the extreme. Not too sweet but not as creamy as proudly displayed and stated on the 355ml can. Ingredients say there's Tahitian vanilla extract, wintergreen, birch, anise, sassafras as well as a lot of sugar. Luckily the sugar doesn't give you that tooth melting sensation and would say the birch taste takes over. If your freinds thought root beer tasted weird then be prepared to feel even more outcasted with this flavour. Don't be fooled by the the vanilla flavour - it comes in like a ninja, thinking you get a glimpse of it at the start but it's fleeting and disguised.

If like me, if you hadn't heard of Tahitian vanilla but more used to seeing Madagascan vanilla in your ingredients listings then let me enlighten you with this new knowledge!

Taken from Huffington Post:
"Tahitian vanilla comes from the island of Tahiti, part of the French Polynesia. It's sweet and fruity and has less natural vanillin (that distinctive vanilla taste) than Bourbon and Mexican vanilla. This bean has a more cherry-like, floral, licorice taste. The Tahitian vanilla pod is fatter and moister than Bourbon vanilla, and contains fewer seeds inside its pod. It tends to be deeper in color than vanilla from Mexico and Madagascar, but the flavor is more subtle. It's nuanced and unique taste make it a great choice for dishes that use vanilla as its main flavor profile."

This explains the limited vanilla flavouring with this Hansen's root beer. However, if you want a caffiene-free, vanilla-flavour free root beer for £1.09 a can then this is for you! The price is the same as paying for the likes of A & W, Barq's and MUG. I rate ths:


Monday, 1 September 2014

Dominion root beer review

The kind people at Heathwick contacted me and gave me a bottle of this Dominion root beer. So reviewing a freebie would be a little awkward if it didn't taste that good then I'd have to come up with some rubbish text. However, I can honestly say this is one of the best I've so far. No bull, the total truth m'lord.

To be honest I'm sure I've had it before as a 'Brown Cow' (root beer ice cream float) in Meat Liquor, Brighton - one of the coolest burger resturants (but no longer sell it). It has a clean natural taste, not sickly sweet but with a natural sweetness which I'm guessing is the honey. I enjoyed it so mych that I regretted drinking so fast and wished they bottled it in 500ml size. There's no horrible high fructose corn syrup and no caffeine either.

  • No caffeine

  • No high fructose corn syrup
  • Where to buy it - restaurants

    Heathwick tell me its sold mainly to the trade to restaurants (£2.95 a bottle) so try the following:

      Where to buy it - shops

      For those more eager you could try Beers of Euope website which sells Dominion root beer at a bargain £1.28 a 355ml bottle. The only catch is the postage at a whooping £7.49 for any order. So it makes sense to order a crate for £30 for 24 which makes it £1.56 a bottle. Still good value if you consider good gourmet root beers are at least £1.79 or more. Annoyingly, their website does not offer indvidual web page links so use their search to find it.

      For more information on the brewer have look at F&D Brewing (US) and the Dominion root beer web page for the ingredients.

      I rate this:


      Sunday, 27 April 2014

      Spring Grove root beer

      Normally I buy root beers in threes from my local Cyber Candy shop, here in Brighton but the shelves were nearly bare after the Easter break. No doubt all the visiting foreign students were spending the Euros trialling root beer or perhaps my blog is having an effect on the local economy (in my dreams anyway).

      So this Spring Grove was only one of two I bought with a Hosmer White Birch Beer - review coming soon. Drinking straight out of the bottle and the fizziness hits you first and I expected quite a flavourless root beer. A few more swigs and a good head starts appearing through the clear glass bottle. This makes the taste a little creamy, hints of vanilla and then your teeth alert you to the pure cane sugar. Normally I wouldn't recognise the sugary-ness but after checking the bottle's ingredients I spot there's actually a mixture of cane sugar and corn syrup. Its not as bad as Daddies root beer but I certainly wouldn't drink more than one bottle a day otherwise my dentist would have a heart attack. Towards the end of the bottle the caramel flavouring comes through reminding me of warmed up Coca Cola when your molars feel they have a sheen of sugary coating.

      Whilst I appreciate the full-headed, creaminess this is just a little too sweet for me.


      Wednesday, 16 April 2014

      Kutztown root beer review

      Sounding more like a small town hairdressers that would guarantee to cut your kid's hair like Beckham this Kutztown root beer went down a treat.

      It's very gassy towards the end but the vanilla like after taste is just enough without being too much. There's no caffeine and 'very' low in sodium, not that I've ever noticed root beers had it in the first place. 
      The quote on the back of the bottle is a bit odd and maybe more apt for a lager beer.
      "Tastes chust like old-fashioned, 'cause you know we make it that way. Drink 'til you ouch, there's more back!"

      First off is 'chust' just a spelling mistake from someone's bad accent? Secondly, is 'til you ouch' suggesting I'll get stomach cramps or even poisoned? 

      Anyway, despite the random bottle labelling this is a great root beer (bought from the Brighton branch of Cyber Candy).

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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:


      What do other reviewers say

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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:


      Wednesday, 26 February 2014

      Abita Root Beer review

      Bought from the Brighton store of Cyber Candy but also available at London's newest posh burger restaurant, Shake Shack (as featured in my UK posh burger trend blog post). Abita root beer is brewed in Louisiana and naturally caffeine free. The company has a history of brewing alcoholic beer but has only been around since 1986.

      This is a classic root beer taste, a strong medicine-like flavour which haters will hate. It has the right balance of carbonation and freshness without tasting watery. Bonus points for being caffeine free too. Since it sets a good standard and would happily drink this on a regular basis but with so many other gourmet roots beers around I'd personally would want that little bit extra for the same price. Supermarkets, if you're reading this then why not stock this!


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      Monday, 3 February 2014

      IBC Caffeine Free Root Beer

      I'm not the strictest person when it comes to diet and lifestyle rules. I get plenty of exercise cycling to work and don't go mad on fatty foods. But when it comes to caffeine I usually only have one coffee a day, a decent one not an instant to set me up for the the day. Plus, depending on how late I sleep in on Sunday I try to avoid caffeine on the day of rest so I know I'll get a good night's sleep for the start of a working week.

      Ok, long introduction for a review of a root beer but this IBC is caffeine free so it made sense to drink it on a Sunday. Quite a basic taste of root beer and the Deep Heat force is strong in this one. However, it's crossed over to the dark side with its combined chemical-like sharp taste and fizziness at the end of the gulp.

      Checking the ingredients and that four word combo reminds you to be vigilant when shopping - High Fructose Corn Syrup! Let's say I'm not a fan as its a sweetener that fails of taste. It sort of reminded me of Dr Pepper and checking Wikipedia, I notice that IBC go bought up by Cadbury Schwepps which owns the Dr Pepper brand. With that in mind, this is the Darth Sith of the root beers. Black and red in appearance and a member of the Dark Side.

      Another purchase from Cyber Candy, Brighton store for the slightly cheaper than normal price of £1.59 for a small bottle.

      <Jedi mind trick>This isn't the root beer you're looking for. You can go about your business. Move along. This root beer score is:


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