Dec 272017

Polar Root Beer BottleSeal of ApprovalA few years back Polar changed their recipe slightly. No doubt it was in response to my not-quite-good-enough review. They also had the decency to change their name a bit so I could review it as a new root beer. Thank you Polar, now if only everyone else would follow suit. Gone are the ‘classics’ and the ‘premium’ in their name. Now it’s just Polar, just plain old ordinary Polar (which incidentally is the worst acronym for anything edible). Maybe plain old Polar, then it takes sides in that whole “soda” vs. “pop” war. They also made it significantly less dangerous, so there isn’t a warning on the label. But, how does it taste?

The Body is full and sweet. There’s rich and creamy vanilla and nice caramel hints. The Bite is spicy yet smooth, just how I like it. There is a most excellent Head on this. It’s so tall I can’t pour it all in my mug without letting it fizz down first. And it lasts forever. A sweet vanilla Aftertaste seals the deal for this one.

I am pleased. They fixed everything that was wrong with them before and have a superb brew for all. Maybe what was really wrong was the extra explosives they originally put in there to weaponize it and now that it’s gone, the flavor is improved. I’m not sure, but whatever they did, they did it right. So recommendation, drink it whenever you can find it. See how it rates against other root beers.

4 kegs

Dec 202017

Bottle of Twig's Root BeerThe color scheme of this root beer’s label makes for a difficult photo. Mostly black, then brown and glossy gold to reflect the flash. I’m sure some expert or even amateur photographers reading this right now know exactly what to do, but I don’t study photography, I study root beer. And I just use my wife’s digital camera with it’s “Intelligent Auto Adjust” setting. It usually works well enough. Twig’s is a brand with a long, and continuous history. It was started by a fellow named Hartwig, who decided his last name was just a bit too long for a soda label. His company had humble beginnings up in Shawano, Wisconsin in the 1950s. According to their website he’d sell a case of soda and use the money made to buy a loaf of bread for his family. Bread must have been a lot more expensive back then or a case of soda cost a lot less. Either way, he somehow was able to both grow the business and not starve, though he was forced to mix ingredients with an ax handle. He probably used that same ax to slice his bread. And so today you can still buy Twig’s. I don’t know if they use the ax handle in the plant, but they should, then they could write “Ax Crafted” on the label. That’d be so metal…

The Body is rather generic with a middle of the road flavor that’s a little creamy and has a hint of sarsaparilla like taste. The Bite is sharp but not from spice. The Head is ye olde “two-second-Head” unfortunately. The Aftertaste is pleasant enough, a little vanilla and some more of that sarsaparilla but it light overall.

This is an okay root beer, the biggest flaw is the Head. The flavor will probably not get many haters nor fanboys, but it’ll do in a pinch. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three kegs

Dec 132017

Bottle of Junior Johnson Root Beer Question, what do you do after a successful career as a NASCAR superstar? If you thought the answer would be, get my own root beer brand, you’d be wrong. Because what you do is you become a successful NASCAR team owner. But what about after that is over? Root beer? Nay! You get your own line of fried pork skins and country ham. But when you get bored with that, then root beer? No, moonshine! Legal moonshine (is that even a thing?). And then, only after that many lifetimes’ worth of accomplishments, can you settle down and make a root beer. Or at least that’s what Junior Johnson did. If you didn’t know who he was before, you pretty much know it all now. He joins the likes of Gene Autry and Judge Wapner in the celebrity root beer market but unlike them, doesn’t have Rocket Fizz make his brew.

The Body is rich and sweet and creamy with a lot of vanilla. It reminds me of a root beer float flavor actually. There’s also a strong bitter herbal presence that surfaces. There really isn’t much Bite to speak about, smooth and rich creaminess instead. The Head is excellent! It can’t be better. In fact, pour with care, because it’ll build too tall and never go away. And the Head tastes strong to the bitter herbs. The Aftertaste is that earthy herbal flavor with some vanilla.

This reminds me of someone taking a strong herbal root beer and adding a scoop of ice cream to it, letting it melt and then bottling it. It’s pretty good, but just a little too off. Especially the Head. Since the first and last drinks of the root beer are mostly the Head, the bitter herbalness is very intense, which I don’t like at all. It was those two extremes at the start and finish that just knock this out of the coveted four kegs. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three and a half kegs