Jul 022014

Barton Springs Root Beer Bottle After a bit of a drought in new root beers (a month or two) I snapped and went on a buying spree. The first to get to me was this. Barton Springs Soda Company is located in Austin Texas and was only founded in 2012. That’s the spirit boys, keep new root beers coming. I need at least 52 per year to keep this pace … Anyways I like the simple label. It’s direct and to the point, kind of retro, and isn’t too busy. The only flavor text reads “Made with the finest quality cane sugar” That’s usually a good thing.

The Body, is sweet, very sweet, too sweet, near sickeningly sweet. It’s all sticky and syrupy. It’s caramely with some wintergreen and a strange chemically-something-out-of-place flavor. There is a prickly Bite but not too strong. It’s pretty smooth. The Head is adequate, medium height and frothy. The Aftertaste is more sweet syrupy wintergreen with hints of some unfamiliar chemical.

Ok, what the heck? This thing is way too sweet, and I eat raw sugar cubes for a snack. Looking at the ingredients reveals something I’ve never had in a root beer before, sucralose. Seriously? They put sucralose in this on top of already 42g of cane sugar. Why would you even DO that? How can you claim that you using the “finest quality cane sugar” if your going to dump some artificial chemical sweetener in it like it was some diet swill. Clearly, at 42g, you’re no diet. Bulldog only has 41g. The sucralose is clearly the cause of weird chemical flavor and the sweetness levels to make one nauseous. Too bad, it had such potential to be good, but instead this is something I don’t want to touch again. See how it rates against other root beers.

2.5/5 Root Beer Kegs

Jun 252014

Pallino Root Beer Pallino Pastaria is a modern Italian fast food type place that’s all around the Seattle area. Evidently the name comes from the small clay ball used in Bocce because why not? Everywhere I’ve lived over here has had a Pallino not far from it. Granted, that’s really only two areas, U-District and Redmond, but still. Despite this I’ve only ever eaten there twice and that was in the last year. Where I actually found this was at Sea-Tac airport when I was invited to the University of Washington for visit days while I was deciding which grad school to attend. On my way back to Utah I noticed the root beers at their little outlet and bought three bottles for reviewing. This was back when they actually allowed liquids on a plane. The label is simple and circular with the ingredients wrapped all around it. I find it classy and unassuming. They actually use real sassafras root bark in this one which is really cool, but they use licorice as well, and more of it than the sassafras.

The sweet Body was light on everything else though the licorice was noticeable. The Bite was light as well, giving a smooth brew. The Head was rather large but fizzed away quickly. The Aftertaste was a sticky licorice and vanilla flavor.

Ugh, too much licorice. I can’t abide these heavy licorice brews. This one wasn’t too heavy, but the other flavors were lighter than I prefer. The licorice then ruins what would otherwise be a pleasurable experience. See how it rates against other root beers.

2.5/5 Root Beer Kegs

Jun 182014

Spike's Root Beer Bottle This brew comes from Spike’s Junkyard Dogs, a hotdog restaurant chain in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. From the looks of their site they make some pretty epic all natural fresh hotdogs and claim to be the “World’s Best Hotdog-Maybe Better!” I’m sure they’re better than anything you can get on the International Space Station so why not? The brew itself is made by Empire Bottling Works to “[their] specification, bottled in 12oz. brown bottles, privately labeled, and available only in [their] stores. It’s and old fashioned ‘adult’ root beer – less sweet, less foamy, and a nice finish” According to the “Top Dog” Ok, I know I’m overdoing it on the quotes this time. Sorry. The ingredients to confirm it’s different than any of the other root beers I’ve had coming out of the Empire. They opted to go with the dog theme for their chain and root beer, even putting a dog on the label, though that fits a lot better with them than with a lot of others. When it arrived my wife I saw a large dark, wet looking splotch covering the whole bottom corner of the box. I flew into a rage at the postal service destroying yet more of my precious root beers and quickly opened the box to reveal perfectly dry and intact contents. The mark was a huge grease stain, no doubt from the hotdogs. Brilliant Spike, give me a heart attack.

This has a dark Body with a dominant sassafras flavor. The cane sugar is evident as well as the slightest whiff of wintergreen and that’s it. No creamy, no spicy, no licorice-y no nothing. It isn’t overly sweet yet just barely sweet enough. It’s very simple. The Bite is simple as well, some carbonation burn and that’s really it. It is nice and smooth from start to finish. The Head is very tall and decently frothy. It fizzes down at a moderate pace but still leaves traces of foam to the very end. The Aftertaste is some more sassafras with the tiniest bit of wintergreen.

There is nothing unpleasant about this brew. It’s got a solid root beer core without the slightest extra bit of accents, the complete opposite of the Intergalactic Root Beer I had right before it. This is a root beer that everyone will like, but I doubt anyone will truly love. There’s just nothing extra whatsoever. They say on the label that it’s best when you “lap it up while dining on one of Spike’s World Famous Junkyard Hot Dogs” and I’m inclined to believe them. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three kegs