Jan 012020

Barq's Crafted Soda Root Beer Bottle Canadian Barq’s! That’s right, they make it different in Canada. I don’t know why, but they do. Not only do they only use pure cane sugar, but they use a little less sugar in total, and there’s less sodium. The nutritional information is therefore different, as the ingredients, slightly. And they even had the decency to call it something different, Crafted Soda. That’s not what we call it down here. So that means I can review it properly as it’s own brew. It even has a different logo. I found this in Toronto last year in a grocery store near my hotel. It caused quite a stir in the online root beer community, as no one knew about its existence. Maybe it’s something that came out recently? But the real questions, is it good, and does it taste the same as American Barq’s?

The Body has a rich creamy sassafras flavor with some nice vanilla surfacing after the initial contact and caramel notes. It’s a rather middle of the road, almost generic creamy root beer. The Bite is a little prickly from carbonation, but otherwise lacking in spices. It finishes moderately smooth. The Head is very tall but fizzes down a little too fast. The Aftertaste is vanilla with hints of caramel and the slightest bit of the sarsaparilla flavor you get in American Barq’s.

This is markedly different. I even went out and got a bottle of American Barq’s just to make sure. There’s more than just sugar substitution going on for this type of flavor difference. This is clearly, not your father’s Barq’s, but it’s better in my opinion, and earns an extra half a keg. Definitely worth trying if you can find it, just to see how different the same brand can be across a boarder. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three and a half kegs

Dec 252019

Pucker Powder Sweet Root Beer

Last time I was at Blue Sun Soda I noticed this in their candy section. They had little plastic tubes of various sizes where you could fill from the various flavors, including this “Sweet Root Beer”. Pucker powder itself is the creation of Creative Concepts, Inc. Their start was actually dispensers for colored sand in order to make tube art. They expanded the idea to make “interactive candy art”. The idea is the station will have multiple flavors, each of a different color, which you can dispense into your tube to make colorful designs. Then you can eat it because that’s way more fun than mere sand. I think it’s a very cool concept, yet I was only interested in their root beer, so I only got the smallest tube possible and filled it with nothing but that.

It has a chalky texture and is sweet, though not as sweet as I’d expected. It’s a little tart and the root beer flavor is mild and generic and you can’t really make out any specific flavors. It reminds me of my memory of the root beer Bottle Caps I would eat as a child.

This isn’t very good to be honest. I don’t really like the flavor, nor the texture. Maybe some of the other flavors are better, but I didn’t try them. It reminds me of pixie sticks, though a less sweet version of them, which I think actually makes it a bit worse. If you’re the sort of person who loves to consume flavored sugar powder in large quantities though, you may love these. Or if you love to make edible art, you’ll probably not care as much about the flavor and when you need that sort of tan color, you’ll get some of this. I’m not really in either camp so I’ll pass on the whole thing in the future.

Dec 182019

A&W Licorice

I am still burning through my Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store stock, though I’m almost done. These root beer licorice twists are also made by Kenny’s Candy, makers of the other, not-so-good licorice twists. These ones I assume are their premium variety, as they are actually packaged for sale outside of dedicated candy stores and they are sporting the flavor and branding of the most recognizable root beer brand on the planet. They also really hide who makes these, as you have to search deep in the fine print on the packaging to find out. I’m sure they’d want these to just be known as A&W Root Beer Licorice but I’m a stickler for calling them by who makes them. Anyways, I still like licorice and I quite enjoy A&W, so hopefully this time they will pull it off?

There’s a sweet, spiced root beer flavor that is not unlike A&W though the vanilla is missing. The flavor is still pretty mild but it is distinct enough that you don’t question you’re eating something There’s a waxy texture almost, so they are slipperier than other licorice I’m used to.

All in all they’re not bad, and far better then the other Kenny’s root beer licorice. I’m not sure I’d go so far as to seek them out, but they are enjoyable enough if they’re around. So, really, a step in the right direction, but I’m still searching for a better root beer licorice.