Dec 262012

I keep wanting to call this Johnnie Walker instead of Johnnie Ryan. Not that I drink whiskey, but I do see it all the time in Duty Free Shops. There’s also several points of branding similarity. Johnny Walker has for a logo a distinguished looking fellow with a top hat and a cane, Johnnie Ryan has got a logo that is just a top hat and a cane, minus the gentleman. Then there’s Johnnie Walker Red Label, and Johnnie Ryan has a red label. So you can see why it would be easy to get confused. As far as I can tell from reading the various websites, there is no affiliation between the two (unlike Dr. McGillicudy’s which makes schnapps and root beer) and so I’m going to just chalk it up to an uncanny coincidence. The bottle is pretty unique and it was the first time I’d seen this type before when I reviewed it. The only downside is that it isn’t quite 12 oz, so you feel a bit ripped off by the whole thing.

This has a full Body that is sweet and slightly creamy. It basically has the standard root beer flavor. The Bite is strong from carbonation but light on spices; I prefer it a little more the other way. The Head is a decent height but low on froth and fizzes away in seconds. The root beer is not left flat by any means however. The Aftertaste is a mild sweet vanilla.

So, it’s a good brew, but not quite exceptional. Maybe if they used some more spices in there and a tad more vanilla. Or, perhaps if they used more “flavor” than preservatives … but what do I know? I’d drink it again, but not by itself, and they don’t need to worry about that extra fraction of an ounce. See how it rates against other root beers.

Jun 272012

So this one comes in a rather unique bottle. I’ve only ever seen this style on Johnnie Ryan Root Beer. There must be some Northeast bottle maker that does these or something. One really unique thing about this root beer is that it comes with a warning, and not some playful warning about it being too delicious or something, but a legitimate warning. “WARNING: Contents under pressure. Cap may blow off causing eye or other serious injury. Point away from people, especially while opening.” Wow. I’ve never considered root beer a dangerous weapon before. Maybe it’s just this root beer. Though, if you try and hold up a store with a bottle of this, I doubt they’ll be very afraid. Unless of course they’re root beer experts at which point I’m sure it’ll work. I can see it now; “Give me your money!” “What’s that a bottle of soda … Holy Crap! It’s Polar Classics Root Beer! Take it all!” Or something along those lines.

The Body is sweet and creamy with lots of vanilla, yet it is a little less full than it should be. There seems to be something not quite right about it, but not really any bad flavors. There really isn’t much Bite at all, yet it isn’t smooth, it is prickly and goes down prickly. The Head is proper, tall and very frothy, so it lingers around the whole time you drink it. The Aftertaste is lovely vanilla that last just about the right amount of time.

So not bad. This root beer almost pulls it off, but not quite. It just seems not quite right though the vanilla and nice Head give it a boost. I’d drink it again. In fact, if I were held up, I’d offer to buy it first. It’d go well with pizza I’m sure. See how it rates against other root beers.