Dec 172014

Napa Valley Soda Co. Root Beer Bottle One day I’m walking through Macey’s (a grocery store) in Provo and I spot this new root beer on the shelves. I’d tried one other brew from Napa Valley Soda Company, Rutherford, and it was an experience I wished I could forget. Closer inspection revealed that this iteration is certified organic instead of merely being all natural. The label had clearly changed from the peaceful bliss of Rutherford. Gone were the green valley and the sunny days and the lazy fliers and in its place a swirling vortex of doom. This cavernous void was no doubt the result of Rutherford Root Beer being unleashed upon the valley. Only one hot air balloon managed to escape the destruction, with the valley’s last hope for salvation, the new and improved Napa Valley Soda Company Root Beer. Only a truly excellent brew of the highest caliber could save them.

The Body is ok, very sweet but fruity and kind of weak. The bite is really not there at all. The Head is awful; it fizzes away in like two seconds. The Aftertaste is fruity as well, but luckily it goes away quickly.

Ok, this isn’t good at all. It has a hint of the right stuff, but not enough, not nearly enough to save them from the apocalypse they created. Most likely because natural flavor is the last ingredient. It’s better than Rutherford, but not much. At least they could claim they were making progress, however it was too little too late. Like with Rutherford, they wrote some spiel about Napa Valley and quality and what not, but once again, the product does not live up to the “tradition of excellence.” And thus the vortex of doom overcame them and the company has since been closed. Frankly, I’m not surprised at all. See how it rates against other root beers.

2 out of 5 root beer kegs

Dec 102014

Bottle of Angus O'Neil's Root BeerAussie brew number 2! It’s made by Slade’s Soft Drinks which is located in Victoria Australia and was started over a hundred years ago by the O’Neil brothers. This drink supposedly dates back to the founding and it uses a “secret recipe”. Angus was the son of one of the two brothers. The company was originally called O’Neil Brother’s Soft Drinks but they changed to Slade’s because they deemed it “appropriate” whatever that’s supposed to mean. This one took me forever to get a hold of. It was always frustrating because it was just out of reach. First Slade’s Soft Drinks ‘liked’ my Facebook page, but never responded to any messages about me getting any of their root beer. Then I found a case on Ebay and asked the seller if they’d ship to the US. They said they would but it would be over $100. If they only shipped two bottles, shipping would be only $50 but they’d still charge me for the full case of root beer. I balked and the item expired. I searched high and low and found markets in India that sold it but nobody shipped to the US. Throughout this time I’d tried to contact the company directly but they never responded. Then one day, out of the blue, they did. After a month of negotiations I finally got it shipped to me. It wasn’t cheap. And then they didn’t even bubble wrap the bottles and so one leaked due to damage (is it just me or does the post like to damage fragile packages?). At least I had one pristine bottle to review. It comes in a 375 ml bottle like Bundaberg, though it’s a screw cap.

The Body is sour and fruity with a sarsaparilla flavor. The sour fruity, though, is by far the strongest profile. The Bite is acidic and with a hint of spice burn, not much. The Head is tall, but it fizzes down quickly. The Aftertaste is a light licorice flavor that gives way to ginger and vanilla. That part is rather nice actually.

The sour is really overpowering, but the aftertaste is quite nice. It reminds me of Francis Hartridge’s but better. I’d say that this is the best foreign brew (excluding Canada) so far, though that really isn’t saying much. I’d still pass on it though, if I were offered it again. See how it rates against other root beers.

2.5/5 Root Beer Kegs

Dec 032014

A bottle of Rutherford Root BeerNestled in the quiet, green Napa Valley was the Napa Valley Soda Company. They looked at all of their peaceful serenity and bounteous vineyards and thought to themselves that they should harness the power of the valley and make a root beer, and other sodas. They named them after their favorite places in the valley. Calistoga Cola, Oakville Grape, St. Helena Citrus, and Rutherford Root Beer, amongst others. According to them, “Napa Valley has long been synonymous with quality, good taste, and natural beauty. Napa Valley Soda Company has captured this essence in a … natural soda” I found this on a journey to Sacramento. The label features an areal view map of the valley with the cities and geological features after which their sodas are named marked for all to see. Hot air balloons and an air plane survey the tranquility.

The Body is weak, watery, fruity, and tastes kind of like a cola or maybe medicine. There only a very little Head. The Bite, however, is good. The Aftertaste is fruity and medicine like that left a bad taste in my mouth long after I was finished drinking it.

Yuk! This stuff is absolutely horrible. If what they claimed about Napa Valley is true, I don’t know how this root beer slipped by them. Maybe the “essence” captured is like the Holy Grail in Indiana Jones which destroys everything if you remove it from its dwelling place. Whatever the case this is one of the worst brews I’ve ever had. See how it rates against other root beers.

One out of five root beer kegs