Aug 012012

Another one from England. My project manager goes there so often so I’m always trying to find more gourmet root beers for him to bring back. Sadly, I think this is the last one available in glass bottles. I’ve spent hours looking for others to no avail. This one I had to order from and have it delivered to his house since he’s getting a bit tired of spending his time off running to stores to look for root beers for me. Of all of the UK root beers I’ve had so far, this definitely looks the cheapest. No fancy wax dipped bottle or coat of arms or nothing, just a cheap little green bottle like what they use for wine in airplanes on transatlantic flights. It also says “sweetened with fruit juice” which I must say didn’t give me high hopes for the brew.

The Body is sour and sort of rancid. It tastes like nasty apple juice that someone threw some weird herbs into. Most likely because they sweeten it with apple juice concentrate. The Bite is pretty mild, some carbonation mostly but a little herbal-ness. The Head is the only redeeming feature; though it isn’t much go on about. It is short, about an inch at the most, but rather frothy. It isn’t a good Head by any means, but it isn’t terrible. The Aftertaste is some medicinal herbal apple stuff with a hint of sarsaparilla.

Ok, what gives? Every time I get a new British root beer, it seems worse than the previous ones. Not only does this taste terrible, it doesn’t even begin to taste like root beer. More like, a diluted herbal Martinelli’s. And the little green bottle with the cheapo label … Not Pretty! So where should I rate it, it doesn’t have the worst flavor I’ve ever tasted, though it’s in the top five. But the other nasty root beers, at least resembled root beers, not like this. So when taken all together; it is nothing like root beer, it’s bad, and the bottle is not pretty, this terrible British brew earns a fat goose egg! See how it rates against other root beers.

May 232012

Another root beer from England. And not just any British brew, but one that is actually brewed in a medieval brew house. They dip the bottles in wax as was customary in medieval times since the glass then was too porous to be watertight. That makes for one of the coolest bottles I’ve ever seen. And what a cool name. Seems like it should have been the beverage of choice in Harry Potter or something. I actually ordered this one and had it shipped surface mail since my tosser of a manager couldn’t seem to find it (and I was WAY too impatient to wait for him to go back to get it). Sadly they packed it in mulched paper which left fibres all stuck in the wax and required extensive cleaning. The ingredients are allegedly foraged in a local river valley and then hand brewed in small batches. They say it’s a 1950’s diner style root beer so I had great hopes for it to be much better than the last UK root beer (Hartridge’s) I tried.

It has a mildly sweet medium Body that is extremely different than any other root beer I’ve ever tasted. The strange herbal flavor has some of the standard root beer essences but also some other stuff that just isn’t right. It almost tastes like fermented bubble gum at some point and then a medicine. It almost makes me want to gag but then doesn’t quite. This is probably because the flavor isn’t very strong. There’s a noticeable ginger flavor but no Bite at all, nothing. The Head is similar, a few bubbles but it doesn’t even cover the entire surface and there isn’t even a fizz release. “Lightly Carbonated” indeed! The Aftertaste is a sort of fermented fruity herbal flavor that reminds me of the white sangria I was recently tricked into taking a mouthful of (I was in Portugal and they told me it was potato juice, I spit it out).

So, um, I don’t like this at all, not one bit! Especially when you consider that this is their 1950’s diner style interpretation. I mean, this stuff makes Hartridge’s taste good! It isn’t the worst brew I’ve tasted, but it ranks up there with them. Perhaps it was the witches that they mentioned in the paper I was sent with the bottles who often ‘spoil’ batches of brew. If this is the case, that was a strong spell they used, perhaps Lord Voldemort himself cursed it. Though, they did say it had an antiseptic flavor like Germaline, so maybe this is how it’s supposed to taste. But they do have a really cool bottle, especially when you consider that they also sell this in wax sealed stone crocks, which may be the coolest root beer bottle ever conceived. They are the true embodiment of the 1 Keg brew. See how it rates against other root beers.

Apr 182012

A British made root beer! That’s right folks, the chaps across the pond thought they’d give root beer brewing a try. And not just any chaps, but the Hartridges (whose coat of arms features prominently on the neck of the bottle). Francis Hartidge himself, the distinguished gentleman on the label, allegedly brought this recipe back from the Americas. Luckily for me my project manager (a tosser really) hails from Hampshire and actually likes to visit home for some reason rather frequently. I found the nearest stockist to his house and to my joy he returned after Christmas vacation with a kingly gift indeed, two bottles of the Celebrated Root Beer. I must say that I was certainly celebrating. However, he said he tried a bottle himself and it tasted like washing up liquid, then again, he says all root beers taste like that and other bullocks along those lines.

The Body is fruity with a noticeable sarsaparilla flavor on the initial contact but then quickly fades to a watery sour flavor. There really isn’t much root beer flavor but there is a lot of sour fruity. Perhaps that’s due to there being more citric acid in this than flavor (as per the ingredients). There is a strong acidic Bite, both from the sour and carbonation, not the best. The Head’s pretty decent. It’s very tall but quickly fizzes down, kind of like the Head on Barq’s. The Aftertaste is a faint fruity sarsaparilla but rather empty.

So yeah, really sweet and fruity, not really root beer. What rubbish! He was right, if you want a good root beer this is like washing up liquid. I suppose the trainspotters with nothing better to do would think drinking this to be quite diverting. But really, Francis Hartridge dropped a bullock on this one. It reminds me a lot like Bundaberg but not even that good. Those Brits seem to have the same affliction of the Aussies when it comes to root beer. Shame indeed. See how it rates against other root beers.