Jun 132012

Another one from Northwoods Soda, the natural version of their Wild Bill’s. Pretty cool actually that they make two types of root beer. I always appreciate a company that makes more than one type of root beer. This one also features “organic sugar.” They say on the label that it is “Organic dehydrated cane juice” which is marketing speak for JUST PLAIN SUGAR! That’s right, cane juice? That’s what ALL cane sugar is made of. How do you get a solid from a liquid mixture? You remove the water or “dehydrate” it. I’ve been meaning to bring this up for sometime, because you’ll see this more and more these days as companies want to show how healthy and natural their sweetener is. Anyways, I guess organic Michigan beet sugar is too hard to come by or something so they went with cane sugar on this one. While I was excited to try the natural version, I was worried that it would be nasty like that Thomas Kemper Natural Root Beer.

This has a medium Body. There is a nice sweet caramel flavor and some vanilla hints. It is crisp but not creamy. The Bite is a tad sharp but ends smooth. The Head is a decent height and frothy so that it lasts several minutes. The Aftertaste is of spiced caramel and a tad vanilla that lasts awhile.

So, they didn’t screw it up like Thomas Kemper. Another solid brew from Northwoods. When comparing the regular Northwoods Wild Bill’s with this Natural side by side (I do have two frosty mugs after all) reveals that the Natural is a little milder and less creamy. It is more crisp and it has a better Head. I like the original a tad better than this one though they taste extremely similar. See how it rates against other root beers.

Jun 062012

Not to be confused with Wild Bill’s Rocky Mountain Root Beer. The same way Vinepark River City Root Beer is not to be confused with River City Root Beer, or Route 66 with Root 66 with Old Town Root Beer 66. Ok, people, what’s up with this. I mean, can’t you think of unique identifiers for your brews? Have you ever thought of doing a Google search on your root beer name before you start your company? I mean, whenever I write a technical paper, the first thing I do is search the title in quotes to make sure no one else has the same title. I did the same thing with my name, E. Sortomme, there aren’t any other technical authors that use E. Sortomme so if you read something from him, it’s from me. See, nice and simple like. Not saying that Northwoods Soda and Syrup Company is the primary offender (they could have had the name first for all I know), but finding them was just the straw that broke the camel’s back if you will. They do have a much classier label than the bullet riddled other Wild Bill’s, so I suppose this is after Wild Bill went into retirement and became all high society or something. A last note on these guys, they proudly declare in the ingredients that this soda is sweetened with “Michigan Beet Sugar.” And why not? What’s wrong with beet sugar anyways? I think pure cane sugar is really overrated. Plus I once spent a summer weeding a sugar beet field for $5 an acre. So beet sugar will always hold a special place in my heart. Especially after the sugar beet factory co-op failed miserably and went bankrupt, wiping out the financial resources of many farmers in the region … Anyways, the root beer.

A sweet carmely flavor with some creamy vanilla and hints of licorice make up the full Body of this brew. The Bite is good as well from some spices and carbonation. The Head is ok. It foams up to a decent height but then quickly fizzes down. The Aftertaste is caramel with some licorice accents and vanilla.

So, not bad at all. It’s definitely a solid brew, yet it doesn’t really do anything for me. I don’t know why, but when I drink it I just don’t feel moved the way I should by root beer. Oh well. See how it rates against other root beers.