Dec 062017

Crooked Oak Root Beer Bottle This root beer is made by the same people who make Penny Frosted root beer. I learned this fact when I was trying unsuccessfully to get the Penny Frosted Root Beer direct from the company. According to some guy named Ryan who works there, Crooked Oak is “a similar root beer flavór with a lot more love and time going into the process and ingredients.” So it’s their premium brand offering, the Lexus to Penny Frosted’s Toyota. That’s a new one in the craft soda world. The label itself tries really hard to drive this point home, saying things like “of the finest quality” and “Handcrafted” and “Limited production” and whatnot. There’s even signatures by people who approved this particular batch of root beer. And there’s also a large number 10 in red, but there is no explanation as to what it means. Maybe 10 ingredients? 10 painstaking days making this? 10 steps for the approval process? We may never know. Whatever it is, all of this really clutters up the label and makes me think of official forms and stuff. I guess the most important question is, how does it compare to Penny Frosted.

This has a sweet crisp body with a standard creamy root beer flavor and a hint of what seems sarsaparilla in there. The Bite is sour and sharp and spicy. But the sourness stays in the Bite and goes away later so it doesn’t really ruin anything. The Head is tall but fizzes down quickly. The Aftertaste is very light vanilla and some sarsaparilla. I think.

This is a pretty good root beer, AND it’s better then Penny Frosted in basically everything. Good job guys. I don’t like it enough to give it a Seal of Approval, but I’ll acknowledge their effort to make a better root beer than their entry brand. You know, after you’re more established in life, get some raises and a nice bonus, you can move up from the Penny Frosted and impress your friends and neighbors with Crooked Oak in your fridge. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three and a half kegs

Nov 292017

Best Health's Root Beer Bottle Another one that I’d been after for a long time. I was afraid I’d never get it, but then anthony saved the day, as he often does. The Brooklyn Bottling Company, who makes this, has been around since 1937 but I’m not sure if this root beer has been around that long. They do go for that old fashioned soda fountain look with their labeling. The label itself is painted on the bottle, which you don’t see often and makes me happy because it will last longer in my collection and it doesn’t get ruined with water like those paper labels. It’s naturally flavored, which you would expect from something with the name Best Health’s, but the name doesn’t stop them from using sodium benzoate, so maybe there’s a Bester, er Bestester? Health’s out there…

The Body is rich and full. There’re caramel and vanilla flavors as well as sort of a creamy cotton candy taste. It’s strange but not bad. The Bite is mild and not noteworthy. The Head is medium but fizzes down quickly. The Aftertaste is some wintergreen and more of that creamy candy with a hint of vanilla.

This is pretty good. I like it but the Head could be better and then it doesn’t quite taste right. Not anything bad or wrong, but the flavor combinations just don’t meld the way I feel a proper brew should. I can’t really explain it but you’ll know what I mean when you drink it. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three and a half kegs

Nov 222017

ramblinmaple_big The third flavor of Ramblin’ root beer, the maple root beer. I got curious, with all of these flavors of root beer, just what was the most popular. It turns out butterscotch is. As of the time of this writing (October 2016) I’ve had 8 butterscotch root beers, 6 vanilla root beers, 3 sarsaparilla root beers, just 2 maple root beers, 1 birch root beer, and 1 pumpkin spice root beer. How’s that for some stats? So a maple isn’t a popular name for a root beer, but many more root beers have maple syrup in them, so it’s probably closer to butterscotch in flavor popularity though much lower in the naming. As I said last time I got this in a mixed case with the butterscotch flavor. I’d like to point out that though Ramblin’ is a resurrected brand, these two flavors are new to it, so the folks at Monarch are adding their own personal twists on revived classics. Very nice. Well I think I’ve rambled on long enough, to the review!

The Body is rich with maple and vanilla on the initial contact, but then is rather hollow after that. So much so that I can’t find any of the other typical root beer flavors. The Bite is pretty mild but it isn’t very smooth either. The Head is very nice and tall and foamy. The Aftertaste is lovely maple with some vanilla notes.

This is pretty good, but not all there. They suffer from the same fate as many others, who think you can just add in some special flavor and neglect the rest of the root beer. At least they didn’t dump in overpowering amounts of extract like they did with the butterscotch. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three and a half kegs