Oct 222014
 

IBC Root Beer Bottle IBC holds a very special place in my root beer reviewing life. It was probably the third that I ever tried, and could be found at the local Walmart in 6-packs of 12 oz bottles, 24-packs of 6 oz bottles, and single 32 oz bottles. My friends and I would snag the latter occasionally after bowling trips and buy the 24 packs for parties sometimes. It was also, during the great sadness in the summer of ’98, that taught me that all gourmet root beers are not created equal. At that time I was drinking several bottles of root beer a day to drown my sorrows. As IBC was much cheaper than the Henry’s I’d usually drink in such occasions, I started getting it as well to relieve the budget. Over the course of several weeks, I could clearly see that there was a difference between the two, and in this case you’d get what you paid for.

It’s an okay root beer by my standards. Good Body and Head but too harsh and too much Bite for my taste. Aftertaste is okay.

First off, I’ll admit that my reviews were significantly less detailed back in the day. I could go back and re-review it being more descriptive, but then I’d have to go back with all of them and that’d be a lot of work and some of them aren’t made anymore so I’m just going to keep it as is. You should feel blessed that you can read reviews from those early days and have a time capsule about how the web once was. Now there are some people who think that this is the greatest root beer ever made. I disagree. But it’s good enough for parties, or for the huge 32 oz bottle occasionally. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three kegs


Oct 082014
 

Natural Brew Draft Root Beer BottleAnother brew from my very early days of reviewing. This one, like Health Valley, was also found the the “Health Food” section of the local Safeway. It was actually the root beer I reviewed right after the Health Valley as the next day I went to Safeway to see what other glass bottled root beers could be found. This stuff was the very first product I ever encountered that listed “Evaporated Cane Juice” as an ingredient. This is a pet peeve of mine. Anyone who knows anything about how sugar is made knows that all cane sugar is evaporated cane juice and beet sugar is evaporated beet juice. All crystallized sugars start as liquids that are then evaporated. Do the people who label sugar this way believe that we think crystallized sugar is mined somewhere in solid form like salt or something? I mean, seriously, we’re not that dumb. This also has one of the highest non-sugar carbohydrate level (5g) of any root beer. I’m not sure what makes it a “draft” root beer when it’s clearly in a bottle, but that’s another rant for another day.

It starts out with a full Body and good Bite. Then a strong licorice flavor surfaces that grows stronger the more you drink, however. The Aftertaste is very strong licorice.

I am not too fond of this one. I also admit that I was significantly less descriptive in the old days about how the root beer tasted. I don’t like it. It’s got way too much licorice flavor. Though, the cinnamon and cloves give it that good Bite. If you like herbal, licorice-y, spicy, evaporated cane juice brews, however, you’ll probably like this this. I surely don’t. See how it rates against other root beers.

2 out of 5 root beer kegs


Oct 012014
 

Health Valley Old Fashioned Root Beer Bottle This was one of the very first glass bottled root beers that I ever tried. Probably the sixth if I can remember that well. The amazing thing was that it was in my hometown, a small city of around 5,000 people. It was just sitting there at Safeway but it was in the “Health Food” section. Remember back in the 1990’s before organic and all natural got all trendy? There was a “Health Food” section. I’d never thought to look for root beers there which is why I’d missed it. Granted I’d only been looking for root beers for a few months at that point so I hadn’t thought to look in a lot of places. Anyhow, it was my dad who found it and brought some home so we could try it. They also had a Sarsaparilla and it was then that I decided that if it wasn’t called specifically “Root Beer” or some close phonetic variation thereof I wasn’t going to review it. Health Valley later renamed their Sarsaparilla to Sarsaparilla Root Beer but forgot to tell me so I never got to try it. Interestingly they sweetened this with fructose which you’d never see in any “health food” nowadays.

This is all right at first but an absence of vanilla ruins the Body and the Aftertaste. It’s also not very sweet. The Aftertaste is a strange herbal flavor and there is not much Bite at all. Head is mediocre at best.

Yeah, this stuff is pretty nasty. Which I’m sure has nothing to do with the fact that it was discontinued a few years back (before I realized I needed to try their renamed Sarsaparilla Root Beer). To its credit it isn’t super vile like some other strange herbal brews, but the as a whole is very much not good. See how it rates against other root beers.

2 out of 5 root beer kegs