Sep 242014

Fizzy Izzy Root Beer BottleSeal of ApprovalThis one is made by the Crown Valley Winery and named after a Siberian Tiger in the Crown Ridge Tiger Sanctuary. This was most likely done as an appeasement measure to keep the tigers on the ridge and out of the valley, you know, like sacrifices to the volcano gods. The bottle sports a picture of Izzy, who is a male tiger, lest there be some confusion over the gender of that name. Evidently if you collect the bottle caps you can send them in for prizes from the sanctuary who then gets some additional tribute money from the winery. It’s like cereal box tops for your school, except is root beer bottle caps for … tigers. Another plus is that this is all natural with no preservatives for those of you, like my wife, who hate artificial flavorings and sodium benzoate.

The Body has a rich vanilla and wintergreen flavors accompanying a medium strength sassafras core. There’s a solid Bite with this one as well from ample spices. The Head is medium-tall and very frothy and foamy. It lasts the whole time you drink it. The Aftertaste is a spiced vanilla and wintergreen. It has a nice clean mouth feel from the lack of preservatives as an added bonus.

This is a quality brew in all respects. Dare I say, the best all natural root beer that I’ve had. Now I wish I lived closer to that tiger sanctuary. I’d get all sorts of cool prizes with the amount of this stuff that I’d drink. See how it rates against other root beers.

4 kegs

Sep 172014

Trader Joe's Root Beer Bottle My uncle brought this up from California one visit after I’d been reviewing for about a year. At the time Trader Joe’s wasn’t near as spread as it is now and I had never even heard of it. For some reason all I could think of was “Hey Joe, what do you know?” I still actually think about that anytime I see this bottle. It’s got a sort of surfer theme on the label, which is similar to what you’ll actually find in the Trader Joe’s stores. As expected from them, this is all natural without any preservatives or artificial flavors. However, it still has HFCS because avoiding those wasn’t trendy in the late 90s. It’s also “Premium Draught Style” making it one of only three other brews to use the olde spelling of draft. Reading further in their flavor text explains that it is “turn-of-the-century style” Evidently their thesaurus has Premium Draught as a synonym for turn-of-the-century.

It has a nice Body, Bite, and Aftertaste, but is lacking in Head. There is absolutely nothing special about this.

Drinking this is whelming, and dare I say, ceptional leaning heavily towards quite adequate. I might also describe it credible, ordinary, markable, and standing. Basically I would put this as the stereotypical gourmet root beer and say that this stuff is completely average for me. It could be much worse but also much better. Congrats Trader Joe’s on a job done. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three and a half kegs

Sep 102014

White Rose Springs Root Beer Bottle I know it doesn’t say “Springs” on the bottle but the people who make it insist on calling it that. You’d think they’d put the name on the bottle but no, why would they do something easy and consistent like that? That brings me to wonder about all of the root beers named after springs. It usually has something to do with the soda works’ water supply, but not for this one. This one is actually bottled by Natrona. It has the same slightly too tall, slightly not enough root beer as the Red Ribbon Root Beer. It even has the same nutritional information and listed ingredients as Red Ribbon. If I didn’t know any better I’d say they were the same root beer simply relabeled. Luckily, I do know better as I called them to find out and they swear the two are different. The label says that this root beer is “Definitely Better” but doesn’t say just what it is better than. For lack of any further clarification on that part I’m going to say they mean than Red Ribbon.

The Body is dark and turns fruity after the initial contact. There’s some anise and wintergreen hints in there as well. There’s a strong Bite, mostly from carbonation, that hits after you first start drinking but it subsides quickly for a smooth finish. The Head is medium short and fizzes away quickly. The Aftertaste is fruity and minty and isn’t my favorite.

Take away the fruity and this could be decent, but not as it is now. It is better than Red Ribbon, though I wouldn’t say Definitely Better. Maybe they were comparing themselves to Free Natural in which case I’ll agree. See how it rates against other root beers.

2.5/5 Root Beer Kegs