May 202015

Hot Rod Magazine Root Beer BottleSeal of ApprovalShortly after I began reviewing root beers my good friend found me this in Seattle. If you can’t tell the picture is of some sort of car completely consumed in flames. Above it reads “Something to drink when you’re hot” and below the destruction it reads “we’re sure he’s dead anyone got a root beer?” in two different fonts. This is both awesome and confusing but since I was but a mere teenager at the time, it was overwhelmingly awesome. It was also a limited edition root beer made for Hot Rod Magazine. The back side of the label says you can win a free year’s subscription if you send them a picture of something with wheels. There’s no expiration date on that. I wonder if I can still win 17 years later? For some odd reason this is only 11 ounces instead of the normal 12. If any root beer seems to be a mere private label in disguise, this fits the bill, however, I can find no other root beer that matches the same ingredients in my collection. The closest is Jack Black’s Dead Red, which has all of the same ingredients listed other than the sweetener, Jack Black’s uses cane sugar while this uses HFCS. Then there’s that whole “Natural and Artificial Flavors” that could be completely different. This is bottled by Generation Foods who also makes the Skeleteens line so it is probably just a variation of the Jack Black’s recipe. Yet it does have different ingredients and a different name so it is a unique root beer on its own.

This is one of those root beers with a nice sweet smooth Body. The Head is lacking but it doesn’t go flat. The Aftertaste is adequate. The Bite is wonderful with Brazilian Guarana. The worst part is that it is caffeinated but it does add to the Bite.

I like it. I really do. I like Jack Black’s as well, but this one is better, smoother, sweeter. The Head is a drawback, it it is much better than the two second Head. This was one of the first Seal of Approval’s I gave, though I haven’t seen this in years. It’s a shame. It’s the only guarana energy type root beer that’s worth drinking on a regular basis. See how it rates against other root beers.

4 kegs

Aug 212013

Root Jack Orange Flavored Root Beer Bottle Another pirate themed energy drink root beer. But this adds the twist of orange flavor and vitamin C to fight scurvy. Their website tells the tale of a one Astrea Valentine who through ruthless cunning and good looks, was able to seize control of a pirate vessel. She kept her crew scurvy free by giving them RootJack because root beer was evidently something that existed in the 17th century Caribbean. Maybe Columbus brought it there from Milligan’s Island. The bottle is pretty sick, sporting a pirate queen with cannon and sword and jagged letters. I must say I’ve not had very good experiences with energy drink root beers, nor pirate root beers for that matter (though Jack Black’s is the noted exception to both), and only once had orange peel in a brew so my expectations were not high. Perhaps it would surprise me like Cherry Root Bear…

First thing to noticed is that the Head is impressive, most impressive. Dare I say, perfect! It’s super tall, frothy, and lasts about forever. It rivals the best root beer Heads I’ve ever seen. So far so good. The Body has a strong and sour orange flavor that quickly masks out all others. As that fades, guarana and more standard root beer flavors begin to surface, mixed with some gross herbal notes. The Bite is solid but wrong. It burns with acid and herbs and isn’t pleasant. The Aftertaste is a super sour orange with a nasty medicinal herb flavor. Gross.

And then they lost it, big time. This root beer is just so wrong. Way too much sour orange, the gross herbal mix, the acid burn, the weak root beer flavors. Sadly it exceeded my gross expectations, which were not high to start with. But the bottle is really cool and that impressive Head earns it another half a keg to be sure. See how it rates against other root beers.