May 232012
 

Another root beer from England. And not just any British brew, but one that is actually brewed in a medieval brew house. They dip the bottles in wax as was customary in medieval times since the glass then was too porous to be watertight. That makes for one of the coolest bottles I’ve ever seen. And what a cool name. Seems like it should have been the beverage of choice in Harry Potter or something. I actually ordered this one and had it shipped surface mail since my tosser of a manager couldn’t seem to find it (and I was WAY too impatient to wait for him to go back to get it). Sadly they packed it in mulched paper which left fibres all stuck in the wax and required extensive cleaning. The ingredients are allegedly foraged in a local river valley and then hand brewed in small batches. They say it’s a 1950′s diner style root beer so I had great hopes for it to be much better than the last UK root beer (Hartridge’s) I tried.

It has a mildly sweet medium Body that is extremely different than any other root beer I’ve ever tasted. The strange herbal flavor has some of the standard root beer essences but also some other stuff that just isn’t right. It almost tastes like fermented bubble gum at some point and then a medicine. It almost makes me want to gag but then doesn’t quite. This is probably because the flavor isn’t very strong. There’s a noticeable ginger flavor but no Bite at all, nothing. The Head is similar, a few bubbles but it doesn’t even cover the entire surface and there isn’t even a fizz release. “Lightly Carbonated” indeed! The Aftertaste is a sort of fermented fruity herbal flavor that reminds me of the white sangria I was recently tricked into taking a mouthful of (I was in Portugal and they told me it was potato juice, I spit it out).

So, um, I don’t like this at all, not one bit! Especially when you consider that this is their 1950′s diner style interpretation. I mean, this stuff makes Hartridge’s taste good! It isn’t the worst brew I’ve tasted, but it ranks up there with them. Perhaps it was the witches that they mentioned in the paper I was sent with the bottles who often ‘spoil’ batches of brew. If this is the case, that was a strong spell they used, perhaps Lord Voldemort himself cursed it. Though, they did say it had an antiseptic flavor like Germaline, so maybe this is how it’s supposed to taste. But they do have a really cool bottle, especially when you consider that they also sell this in wax sealed stone crocks, which may be the coolest root beer bottle ever conceived. They are the true embodiment of the 1 Keg brew. See how it rates against other root beers.


May 022012
 

I like a diverse brand. Any brand that feels they need to make more than one root beer flavor makes the world a better place in my opinion (except for Journey but that’s another story). So I was pleased to find that Hosmer Mountain makes a sarsaparilla root beer as well as their regular. Note that isn’t a sarsaparilla. I don’t review sarsaparillas. They’re not root beers. This is a sarsaparilla root beer, much like Dang! That’s Good makes a butterscotch root beer, and Frostie makes a vanilla root beer. Though, my most recent experience with a sarsaparilla flavored root beer (Hartridge’s) didn’t turn out so well so I wasn’t sure what to expect for this one. Though this one is “bottled in the land of swift moving waters” so has to be good right?

It has a nice creamy Body with a distinct sarsaparilla flavor in addition to the more standard root beer flavors. The brown sugar is noticeable. The Bite is adequate without being overbearing from both spices and carbonation with the overall mouth feel very smooth. The Head is nice and tall. It fizzes down a tad faster than I prefer, but it still lasts plenty long. The Aftertaste is sticky wintergreen and vanilla with hints of sarsaparilla.

Yum! Though it has sarsaparilla, it’s still definitely a root beer and it’s definitely good. It seems that with this one they corrected all of the flaws of their regular root beer and then added that sarsaparilla to change things up a bit. And you know what, variety is nice. I look forward to more of this in the future. See how it rates against other root beers.


Apr 182012
 

A British made root beer! That’s right folks, the chaps across the pond thought they’d give root beer brewing a try. And not just any chaps, but the Hartridges (whose coat of arms features prominently on the neck of the bottle). Francis Hartidge himself, the distinguished gentleman on the label, allegedly brought this recipe back from the Americas. Luckily for me my project manager (a tosser really) hails from Hampshire and actually likes to visit home for some reason rather frequently. I found the nearest stockist to his house and to my joy he returned after Christmas vacation with a kingly gift indeed, two bottles of the Celebrated Root Beer. I must say that I was certainly celebrating. However, he said he tried a bottle himself and it tasted like washing up liquid, then again, he says all root beers taste like that and other bullocks along those lines.

The Body is fruity with a noticeable sarsaparilla flavor on the initial contact but then quickly fades to a watery sour flavor. There really isn’t much root beer flavor but there is a lot of sour fruity. Perhaps that’s due to there being more citric acid in this than flavor (as per the ingredients). There is a strong acidic Bite, both from the sour and carbonation, not the best. The Head’s pretty decent. It’s very tall but quickly fizzes down, kind of like the Head on Barq’s. The Aftertaste is a faint fruity sarsaparilla but rather empty.

So yeah, really sweet and fruity, not really root beer. What rubbish! He was right, if you want a good root beer this is like washing up liquid. I suppose the trainspotters with nothing better to do would think drinking this to be quite diverting. But really, Francis Hartridge dropped a bullock on this one. It reminds me a lot like Bundaberg but not even that good. Those Brits seem to have the same affliction of the Aussies when it comes to root beer. Shame indeed. See how it rates against other root beers.