Mar 042020

Fentiman's Old English Root Beer Bottle Ah Fentiman’s. Makers of Dandelion and Burdock soda and some other English flavours. Long have I hoped for the day when they would release a root beer, figuring it was right up their alley, despite the fact that it is a uniquely American drink. And now, they finally have! And called it Old English Root Beer, which is something root beer is most decidedly not. Maybe, I suppose, one could argue that there’s a old English way of making sodas, like dandelion and burdock, and when those techniques are applied to root beer it makes it an “old English” root beer, but that’s a stretch. Whatever, they made a root beer, in the UK, and are selling it all over America so I can drink it and complain about it’s name in both print and video form. Truly no greater gifts were given to me by company without a history of making root beer. Any ways, UK root beers are generally bad, almost exclusively, so how is this?

The Body is sweet but not overly so. There’s a complex botanical sarsaparilla flavor with accents of fermented ginger and sweet pear nectar that somehow all works together in a way that makes it intriguing to drink. The Bite is mild but it isn’t smooth. The Head is amazing. One of the best ever. The Aftertaste is a nectary sarsaparilla.

So, um, huh. I expected it to be kind of nasty, what with the “pear juice concentrate” in the ingredients. And yet, they’ve managed to keep it tasting root beer enough to make me acknowledge that they’ve done better than other British brews. It’s not bad. It’s not really good either, but it’s unique enough that it’s worth trying once. And while no one will say that it’s a good root beer. I think most will probably think of it as a decent soda and an experience worth having once. Just not multiple times. See how it rates against other root beers.

2.5/5 Root Beer Kegs

Apr 052017

Soda Folk Root Beer Bottle Yet another UK root beer. Well, kind of a UK root beer. Soda Folk is a UK company and this brew can only be obtained there, but the owner is from Colorado and the root beer is actually made by the Tommyknocker Brewery. I figured it out when I saw they used maple syrup and aged vanilla which Tommyknocker also uses. The labels used identical paper as well. The owner, Ken, said that it was even Tommyknocker’s recipe. Then I had to figure out which recipe it was since Tommyknocker seems to have a new recipe every other year, and whether or not it was unique. As best as I could track down it appeared to be Tommyknocker New Root Beer but with some slight differences in the nutritional info, most likely to meet UK standards. So it is different so I can review it. This was very welcome news to anthony who ordered this brew and graciously traded me some. Who’d want to spend shipping fees to England only to find it’s merely a vanity label? But since it isn’t on to the review.

The Body is medium strength with aged vanilla and maple flavors. Wintergreen is also present. The Bite is strong, sharp, and spicy. The Head is good and lingers. The Aftertaste is more maple and vanilla with a little bitter hint, from the wintergreen.

Well this is a pretty good brew. Especially when you think that it’s sold in England. I would say that it’s the best UK root beer yet, but since it’s made in Colorado, I can’t really label it that way. There is hope for our neighbors across the pond though, if they start liking this stuff, maybe it’ll raise the quality of the rest of their brews. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three and a half kegs

Oct 142015

Square Root London Root Beer Bottle A rare find indeed is this brew. All the way from the London borough of Hackney. That’s right another UK brew. They are as rare as they are awful, historically speaking, though this could be just the brew to break that losingest of streaks. I mean, it seems like they’re going for a pun, Square Root and root beer, and I just love puns. Plus a math pun with the square root sign on the label. That’s pretty … radical … The rest of label is way cool too, what with those nifty plants and bordered text. You can’t see it in the picture, but the label is textured so it feels really nice on the fingers. But then again, there are things that don’t bode so well for them. Square Root London Soda was started in 2012 with ginger beer as their first flavor, which kind of dashes the whole pun, though not entirely as ginger is a root. The math is still cool. But then there’s this on the label: “Root Beer is not for everyone. If you like it you probably don’t understand why you like it but you just do. Sit back, think rooty thoughts & enjoy this medicinal mix of unusual flavors.” Yeah, um that’s not generally the best way to introduce something that you think is amazing. The ingredients listed seem legit though, so who knows.

This has a Body that is sour with lots of bitter root and herb flavors mixed together like so much medicine. There’s a lot of strange complexity to it but none of it do I find pleasant. The Bite is lacking though it isn’t smooth. There’s some spice presence but it doesn’t really bite as it were. The Head, however, is a wonderful exception that makes it look like a proper root beer when poured. The Aftertaste is more bitter, medicinal flavours, sourly fading but not quickly enough.

Ugh. that was painful. I know that most English despise a good root beer, but I can’t imagine that they’d think that this tastes like the fine brews I enjoy. It seems that despite promising ingredients of sarsaparilla, wintergreen, vanilla, and caramel (amongst others) their description of “unusual” and “medicinal” and “not for everyone” is spot on. At least they realize it. It does have a very pretty bottle though. See how it rates against other root beers.

1.5 out of 5 kegs