May 212014

Private Label Beverages Root Beer BottleSeal of ApprovalBack when I traded for the the Ithaca, I also got two bottles of Lehman’s Root Beer and two bottles of Biker Brew Root Beer. I immediately got suspicious because both of them had the same sticker label, same ingredients, same nutritional values, and both didn’t appear on a Google search. Further inspection showed that the two also had the same barcodes so if that doesn’t prove they’re the same nothing does. I thought about calling Dr. Percival C. McGillicuddy but I didn’t want to pay exorbitant P.I. fees. I sent an email to the Lehman’s people and they were very accommodating and told me they got it from Private Label Beverages. I’m sure it’s bottled by Ginseng Up but these use sugar instead of the HFCS that Ginseng does so I don’t have to dig deep to find out that its a unique brew.

The body is sweet with a little bit of spicy vanilla and caramel notes; a very standard root beer flavor but well proportioned. The Bite is pretty mild, some carbonation tingle and just enough spice. The Head is super tall and pretty much foams over the top of the mug. Thankfully it doesn’t last forever so you can actually drink your root beer without having to slurp ridiculous amounts of foam off the top. The Aftertaste is some light, sweet vanilla and caramel.

This is a pretty solid, middle of the road brew with my favorite flavor profile. It was nearly a tossup as where to rate it. The super tall Head just barely pushed it over to a four. So now there’s another quality choice for your own custom soda. See how it rates against other root beers.

4 kegs

Nov 132013

Carl's BBQ Old Fashioned Root Beer Bottle My esteemed coworker, Jimmy Jeff got this down in Texas at a Carl’s BBQ Restaurant where it’s labeled as Carl’s BBQ Old Fashioned Root Beer. However, it’s really a custom recipe by Teeroo’s Private Label that’s bottled by Ginseng Up. The Teeroo’s recipe was originally developed by some private labeler in Florida who the owner of Teeroo’s worked for as a distributor. Eventually the Florida dude gave it up, probably to retire in New York, and Ginseng Up told all of the other distributors that they could operate independently and continued to supply the recipe, which is different than the Ginseng Up recipe. As Teeroo’s labels for lots of small businesses in Texas, I’d expect there to be numerous different labels. The trick to identifying it is to look for the small print that lists Teeroo’s as the distributor. Unfortunately, there is a very real possibility of other private labelers in other states, with no affiliation to Teeroo’s, to be using this recipe as well. I have no doubt that Dr. Percival C. McGillicuddy will need to solve that case sometime in the future.

The Body is sweet with a caramel sassafras flavor accented by vanilla. The Bite is ok, sharp carbonation with a little spice, but I’d prefer it more reversed. The Head is a good height but fizzes away very rapidly. The Aftertaste is some nice vanilla but it doesn’t really last very long.

So this is pretty much a generic creamy root beer. It’s not bad, but nothing special. I’m sure it would go well with BBQ ribs and whatever else is served at all the other places that have it labeled as their own. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three kegs

Oct 022013

Parley Street Root Beer BottleSeal of ApprovalI first learned about this brew from The Root Beer Store in 2011 as Parley Street Root Beer. They don’t sell it, but they had one bottle on display. The owner told me that it’s only really sold at the Lion House in Salt Lake City. I hoped that I’d be able to get my hands on it someday. Fast forward to a Saturday in March 2013, I had just run out of new root beers to try. My wife tells me that I should go to the temple in Bellevue. I do and afterwards I remember that I need a new journal so I drop by Deseret Book before headed home. As I walk in I notice a cooler with some unfamiliar bottles. I go up and there it is, Parley Street Root Beer. I was so happy I started dancing around laughing, not only did I now have something to review, but those people at The Root Beer Store didn’t realize that this root beer was right under their noses. Truly, my wife was inspired. Later as Dr. Percival C. McGillicuddy was investigating the case of the mystery root beer, it was found that Parley Street and the Boise Brew were one in the same, both by Dowdle and Daughters. The world famous detective traced this brew all the way back to Ginseng Up, who makes their root beer and sells it to private labelers around the country, including those I bought it from.

The Body is full of sweet creamy goodness. It’s got all of the right flavors in the right proportions, especially the rich creamy vanilla. The Bite is on the smooth side but present. There’s some spice and carbonation tingle, just enough. The Head is nice and tall but only moderately frothy. Though, as it fizzes down, it forms some really large bubbles, about an inch in diameter, which hang around for awhile. The Aftertaste is sort of a syrupy vanilla flavor with the slightest accents of spice.

Yum, yum. I really like this. I wish they were more descriptive with the ingredients other than “Natural and Artificial Flavors” I’d almost swear there was some honey essence or flavoring or something. This actually reminds me a lot of a Henry’s but not quite as good. I’d say this is a ‘generic’ Seal of Approval brew. It hits all of the benchmarks with my favorite flavor type. Not bad for a private label brew. If I ever need my own custom labeled root beer, I can rest assured that if I get it from the Ginseng Up bottlers, it will be good. See how it rates against other root beers.

4 kegs