Dec 102014

Bottle of Angus O'Neil's Root BeerAussie brew number 2! It’s made by Slade’s Soft Drinks which is located in Victoria Australia and was started over a hundred years ago by the O’Neil brothers. This drink supposedly dates back to the founding and it uses a “secret recipe”. Angus was the son of one of the two brothers. The company was originally called O’Neil Brother’s Soft Drinks but they changed to Slade’s because they deemed it “appropriate” whatever that’s supposed to mean. This one took me forever to get a hold of. It was always frustrating because it was just out of reach. First Slade’s Soft Drinks ‘liked’ my Facebook page, but never responded to any messages about me getting any of their root beer. Then I found a case on Ebay and asked the seller if they’d ship to the US. They said they would but it would be over $100. If they only shipped two bottles, shipping would be only $50 but they’d still charge me for the full case of root beer. I balked and the item expired. I searched high and low and found markets in India that sold it but nobody shipped to the US. Throughout this time I’d tried to contact the company directly but they never responded. Then one day, out of the blue, they did. After a month of negotiations I finally got it shipped to me. It wasn’t cheap. And then they didn’t even bubble wrap the bottles and so one leaked due to damage (is it just me or does the post like to damage fragile packages?). At least I had one pristine bottle to review. It comes in a 375 ml bottle like Bundaberg, though it’s a screw cap.

The Body is sour and fruity with a sarsaparilla flavor. The sour fruity, though, is by far the strongest profile. The Bite is acidic and with a hint of spice burn, not much. The Head is tall, but it fizzes down quickly. The Aftertaste is a light licorice flavor that gives way to ginger and vanilla. That part is rather nice actually.

The sour is really overpowering, but the aftertaste is quite nice. It reminds me of Francis Hartridge’s but better. I’d say that this is the best foreign brew (excluding Canada) so far, though that really isn’t saying much. I’d still pass on it though, if I were offered it again. See how it rates against other root beers.

2.5/5 Root Beer Kegs

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.