Aug 272014
 

Red Ribbon Root Beer bottle There are many oddities about this brew. The first is that the bottle, while looking the standard shape and size, is actually about a millimeter or two taller than other long neck bottles I have. Why? I don’t know. The second that jumps out is the fact that while the bottle is ever so slightly taller, it contains 1 milliliter less root beer than a standard 12 ounce bottle. They all say 355 ml yet this one is only 354. If that isn’t nickel and dimeing you out of root beer I don’t know what is, especially since they oversized the bottle to compensate. Then there’s the “Pinpoint Carbonation” and the “Home Brewed Style” but the most glaring of all is the name itself. Red Ribbon is for second place. It’s like they didn’t even want to try to be the best, or have at least conceded that they’re not. You never see that on a product, “Second best soda” or “First Loser Brew” but yet, Red Ribbon is right here.

This has a Body that’s a little weak. There’s some wintergreen and maybe a tad bit of licorice in there as well. It’s pretty generic and also fruity. I never like that sour fruity. There’s not a lot of Bite but it really isn’t smooth either. The Head is tall but fizzes down quickly. The Aftertaste is fruity with faint traces of vanilla that don’t really mix well together.

It’s fair to say that I was whelmed by this brew. I’ve got to give their marketing team props for calling this even Red Ribbon. No doubt that was at the extreme end of the stretched ethics that is a corporate marketing department. First Loser Brew would probably be more appropriate. See how it rates against other root beers.

2 out of 5 root beer kegs


Aug 132014
 

O-So Vanilla Butterscotch Root Beer BottleYet another resurrected brand by Orca Beverages. Though this one bucks the Orca standard format of label design, it’s originality points are vastly diminished by it’s name, which is on the lines of Dang! That’s Good and So Duh! They predictably couldn’t resist the “O-So Delicious” text on the bottle. This is but the third butterscotch brew I’ve encountered and the only vanilla butterscotch root beer. I wonder what it is with annoying names and butterscotch anyways? Is it the whole, “we’re such rebels, we won’t follow proper naming conventions or flavor conventions, just check out our amazing butterscotch?” However, like so many hipsters whose originality comes from bucking convention, they’ve become a convention in unto themselves and the only irony is now the lack thereof. At least this one, in true hipster fashion, can claim to have been doing butterscotch before butterscotch was mainstream, at least if their “since 1946″ is to be believed.

The Body is sweet and hollow. While it’s in your mouth there are really only faint traces of butterscotch and vanilla and not a lot else. I search in vain for the classic root beer flavors. The Bite from spices is non-existent but the carbonation level is very sharp and prickly so you can’t really taste much until you swallow. It does, however, feel very smooth and rich in your mouth. The Head is medium tall and lingers awhile but not forever like some. The Aftertaste is a solid vanilla and butterscotch flavor that still doesn’t have a lot of characteristic root beer to it.

Because why would a butterscotch root beer actually taste like root beer? I actually think this has the best butterscotch flavor profile of the three, but it has the worst root beer profile. Probably due to the fact that root beer which tastes like root beer is too mainstream. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three kegs


Jul 232014
 

Jack Black's Dead Red Root Beer Bottle A pirate themed energy drink root beer, I’ve never seen one of those before. To be fair, I had this one first. At the time ordered it, I thought they were referencing one of my favorite comedy actors, who, to the best of my knowledge has never actually portrayed a pirate. The only other Jack Black was some pirate ghost from an old Disney series that had to go and save 100 lives to avoid damnation. I don’t think that’s what these guys are going for. It does seem a jolly scull and crossbones, so let’s just assume they were envisioning some sort of Nacho Libre prequel set on the high seas in a ship called the Dead Red with an awkward, incompetent captain (Jack Black) and a delinquent crew. Root beer would somehow be involved. Probably Jack Black’s favorite drink and the crew would always be doing something to it as part of a running gag. And then Jack would yell “Who’s been screwin’ with my brewin’?” or something like that. I’d definitely watch that movie. There are also many humorous sayings written on the bottle like “Second time available in 416 years” … okay, and “Better Dead Red than just plain Dead” which remains to be seen.

This has a nice sweet and creamy Body. After the initial contact however, there is a strange flavor that surfaces and takes away from beauty of the brew. The Bite is too strange. There is too much Guarana in it. The Head is alright. The Aftertaste is of vanilla and Guarana.

Well that is pleasantly surprising. These energy drink type root beers are usually frightening at best but that’s pretty decent. Not Seal of Approval good, but good enough to warrant an occasional bottle on International Talk Like A Pirate Day, for a Pirates of the Caribbean marathon, and similar type activities. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three and a half kegs