This is probably the first “Old Style” root beer I’ve had. It reminds me of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Movie where the Shredder is all “You fight well, in the old style …” So clearly Mr. Stephans’ recipe has been handed down to him from a family of ninja monks who practices the “Old Style”. The same can be said of his website at the time of writing this review. It’s interesting that AJ doesn’t focus on making sodas but rather “the finest elixirs and mixers in New England” They also seem to be pretty hung up on calling them tonics. It must be more of that old style talk. Their flagship flavor is a ginger beer so a mixer works for that. I’ve never really considered a root beer as a mixer before, and definitely not a tonic (not a good root beer anyways). Calling a root beer a tonic reminds me of the time on my mission I tried to make root beer with tonic water, which contains quinine, and I got the nastiest of surprises. Hopefully they haven’t gone down that route.
The Body is not very sweet and “dark” tasting if you know what I mean. There is lots of “flavor” (one of the ingredients) but I wouldn’t say that that is necessarily a good thing. There is not much Bite at all. The Head is nice though it could be frothier. The Aftertaste is sticky, almost cola-ish, and with more of the “flavor.” I think that I caught a hint of anise in there too.
My first reaction when I finished it, “Yeah, it’s a root beer.” Maybe calling it a tonic isn’t too far from the mark. Since I would still prefer this to drinking tonic water, their claim of having the best tonic in all of New England may not be false after all. Now claiming they make the best root beer, that’s something else. See how it rates against other root beers.