May 172017

US Foods Craft Root Beer BottleIn case you hadn’t noticed, craft sodas have really become a thing in the last few year. This is great news for a reviewer of gourmet craft root beers. It’s become so much of a thing that even larger companies are getting into it. US Foods, for those who don’t know, is a large restaurant supplier and wholesaler. They created a Craft Artisan soda line to address our needs of fine craft root beers in our restaurants. They are all natural as well. The picture on the label is some French chef type person. I think he’s a chef. He looks French, with the beret and the striped shirt. His expression is not one you’d expect on a root beer bottle for sure. Despite this coming from a large restaurant wholesaler, they don’t really supply many places in the Puget Sound Area, so I ended up ordering it from Minnesota.

The Body has a nice vanilla and sweet birch flavor accented by spices. It is well proportioned. The Bite is small put present with a bit of cassia and nutmeg burn. The Head is medium but fizzes away very quickly unfortunately. The Aftertaste is a light birch and vanilla.

This is a good one. It has a nice birchy tang to it, but the Head is disappointing. Additionally, it could use a little more rooty depth to it. But it’s definitely worth getting with your meal. I’m glad to see that root beer world is getting this kind of addition. Here’s hoping more companies follow suit. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three and a half kegs

May 032017

Wisco Pop! Root Beer Bottle Another root beer with crowd funding roots. Like the others I donated, shared on social media and even wrote a blog post about it. And, once again, after all of that work, once the bottled product was hitting the shelves, there was no response to my requests to purchase some to review. I had to get some from a place called Fizzy Waters. This has no preservatives whatsoever, so they had to ship it overnight with an ice pack in it. It was pricey. Supposedly this can never be not cold. It’s made is Wisconsin (hence the Wisco) with only real, whole, natural ingredients like turbinado sugar, Wisconsin maple syrup (that’s a thing?), and sarsaparilla. The label keeps it pretty plain, though they’ve got too many fonts. They also are one of those few companies who likes to put an exclamation point in their name, which means you really should shout it whenever you say it.

The Body has a strong and pleasant herbal flavor with notes of sarsaparilla and molasses and a little maple. There’s quite a lot of other flavors going on in there and the net effect is that it comes across as an herb tea. The Bite is spicy and fizzy with lots of clove and cinnamon. The Head is very short but foamy. The Aftertaste is herbal molasses that lingers awhile.

Another herb tea type brew. These are not my favorite. I don’t know who’s idea of root beer is a carbonated herb tea, but I’ve encountered enough of them to have them as their own genre. It’s the most different take on root beer and I really wonder who started it, because I really wish they hadn’t. Oh well. If you like herb tea brews, this is for you, I’ll pass. See how it rates against other root beers.

2.5/5 Root Beer Kegs

Apr 262017

Levi's Root Beer Soda Bottle Levis is an old root beer. From back way in 1895. It was originally served at a marble soda fountain at a place called Levis, that served hot dogs and fish cakes and what not. After seeing the success of Hires’ brew, Levis made his root beer even better with a bold flavor, if the back of the bottle is to be believed. The hot dog stand is actually still there and has been continuously operating since its inception. It doesn’t say when the root beer started to be bottled, but currently the bottled version is owned and distributed by Amazing Beverages. The back of the bottle claims that it’s bottled with the same flavor used for almost 100 years, but they can’t be using exactly the same recipe because they only use part sugar and part sucralose. It still has enough sugar for me to consider it not a diet (25g) but it kind of is some strange hybrid type almost. I can’t imagine that does anything to improve the flavor. It does only have 100 calories per bottle which was probably the reason for the sugar dial down. To appeal to some strange health conscious subset of the population.

The Body is weak with a prominent sour and icky fake sugar taste. Why did they put sucralose in it instead of another 15g of sugar? The Bite is a bit harsh from carbonation and sour. The Head is medium-tall and lingers an average amount of time. It’s not super foamy but it’s okay. The Aftertaste is an icky sucralose flavor that coats my teeth and doesn’t go away.

This stuff is bad, and is what happens when somebody wants to reduce the calories in their root beer a little bit. I mean really, do you think anyone going for a bottle of soda is going to not get it because it has another 40 calories? Has there ever been anyone, in the history of the world, who thinks that the fake sweetener flavor is somehow better than real sugar? I will give them the fact that despite the fake sugar detraction, it does taste old-school-soda-fountiany. See how it rates against other root beers.

2 out of 5 root beer kegs