Thursday, June 11, 2015

Wondering Down Under

Now comes the wonder from Down Under. A Bundaberg Root Beer from Australia. I've been wanting to try one of these for a while now, but no-one has sold them individually in my area, till recently. On a recent Soda and Root Beer venturing I stopped in at a local Fresh Market to see what they might be offering and lo! and behold they had Bundaberg Root Beer for sale in their cooler. Without pause I snagged one and added it to my other purchases. I am really interested to see how such a brew holds up against its American rivals. Root Beer is such an American thing, but if anyone can get the spirit of it down in a location outside the US then it would be our Australian cousins.


Carbonated Water
Cane Sugar
Root Beer Brew (Water, Sugar, Molasses, Ginger Root, Sarsaparilla Root, Licorice Root, Vanilla Bean, Yeast)
Caramel Colour
Citric Acid
Potassium Sorbate
Sodium Benzoate
Ascorbic Acid
Root Beer Flavour

Aroma: Strong licorice scent. Hints of molasses and sarsaparilla.

Head: Nice head. Doesn't dissipate as fast as many on the market.

Carbonation: Nicely carbonated. Not a lot of bite to it, though.

Root Beer Flavour: This is not your usual American Root Beer flavour. There's an astringency to it that is almost medicinal in nature. The molasses and licorice that are in the scent do not really show up at all in the taste profile. It's not bad, but it's not a flavour that many Americans would associate with Root Beer, as we are used to it. The sarsaparilla does come through a bit, though.

Sweetness: Well balanced in its sweetness. Not cloying in the least. They hit this just right and chose well in using Cane Sugar.

Aftertaste: There's an astringent taste that lingers on the back of the tongue, that is reminiscent of an alcoholic beer. Perhaps this is due to the yeast in the formulation. It's not unpleasant, at all, but it is unexpected.

Bundaberg Root Beer gets a 6 out of 10. Well worth trying, but it may not be your cuppa tea if you're stuck on American Draft Flavour.

Friday, May 01, 2015

Follow Your Arrow

Yet another Jungle Jim's acquisition is a Red Arrow Root Beer from Orca Beverage Bottling Company in Mulkiteo, WA. I rather like the simple labeling for the bottle, it's understated and somewhat old fashioned. Orca specialises in Retro Soda's and Red Arrow certainly has a Retro look to it. The ingredients list looks promising, too. I like the stated addition of licorice and wintergreen. It gives you something to anticipate.


Carbonated Water
Cane Sugar
Natural And Artificial Flavours
Caramel Colour
Phosphoric Acid
Extract Of Wintergreen And Licorice
Sodium Benzoate

Aroma: An upfront whiff of wintergreen and sugar with a hint of licorice.

Head: Nice initial head while pouring, but it dissipates quickly.

Carbonation: Soft carbonation with a bit of an initial bite.

Root Beer Flavour: Red Arrow has a light licorice flavour with understated wintergreen and sugar flavours. Not the usual mass production flavouring you'd get from many Root Beers. The Cane Sugar is a nice addition to the mix and lends itself well to the overall flavour.

Sweetness: Not overly sweet and it's well balanced between flavour and sweetness. Orca got this balance just right.

Aftertaste: A nice aftertaste that lingers on the tongue. Cane sugar and the licorice/wintergreen flavours dominate.

Red Arrow is a good Root Beer. Well worth buying. It gets a 7.5 out of 10.

Friday, April 17, 2015

North To New Hampshire

A recent acquisition was a bottle of Squamscot Root Beer, a product of the Conner Bottling Works in Newfields, New Hampshire. They make quite a few flavours of Soda and I wouldn't mind giving many of them a try. But, all I currently have is their Root Beer. I liked the old fashioned labeling on the bottle, simple and to the point.It also sports a rather interesting ingredients list. Oils, aromatics, gum acacia and not much else. This stands out for me. Can't wait to get to the tasting.


Lightly carbonated water
Cane Sugar
Caramel Color
Gum Acatia
Methyl Salicylate
Oil of cloves
Other Aromatics and Essential Oils
Sodium Benzoate

Aroma: Has a spicy scent and you can catch the scent of the clove oil. You can also smell a sugar scent.

Head: Doesn't develop a head to speak of.

Carbonation: Soda-like carbonation with a nice fizz. Has a bit of a bite to it, but not a lot.

Root Beer Flavour: Not your average Root Beer extract style flavour. Spicy tones to it that give it a retro, not modern draft, flavour. It's nice and a good change from the usual flavourings that dominate the market.

Sweetness: Well balanced sweetness that is not cloying. The flavour of  the Cane Sugar supports and doesn't overwhelm the other flavours.

Aftertaste: The flavour of Squamscot lingers on all parts of the tongue and is rather pleasant. Makes you want to take another drink. The spiciness and essential oils make for a not unpleasant aftertaste.

Overall: Squamscot is a winner in the Root Beer category. It has everything I am looking for in a premium Root Beer or Soda. Great taste, good aroma and just enough carbonation to give things a little kick. Well worth searching out and drinking!

Squamscot gets a solid 8 out of 10.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Dang It!

On a recent trip to Cincinnati, my spouse was kind enough to drop into Jungle Jim's and score me a few Root Beers and Sodas. One of the Root Beers was Dang!, a Root Beer that is bottled for Imperial Flavors Beverage Company Inc, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 
   Their Root Beers are carried in a variety of places nationwide, so finding one shouldn't be a great problem. This is one of those Root Beers that is worth tracking down. Now, I'll have to track down their Butterscotch Root Beer!


Carbonated Water
Natural and Artificial Flavours
Caramel Colour
Citric Acid
Sodium Benzoate (as a preservative)

Aroma: Vanilla scent is upfront and pleasant. A bit of sugar in the scent, but not too much.

Head: Soda-like head that dissipates quickly.

Carbonation: Good carbonation. Keeps its fizz. Not a lot of carbonation bite.

Root Beer Flavour: Hints of wintergreen and nutmeg. Just a bit of spice to this one.  A very nice taste.

Sweetness: Not overly sweet. It well balanced and not cloying at all.

Aftertaste: A spicy aftertaste on the tongue with vanilla overtones. Very nice!

Overall: This was a delightful Root Beer. Has a good flavour and aroma. I could drink this often. It is a "Dang" good Root Beer. Imperial Flavours can be justifiably proud of this one!

I give Dang! Root Beer an 8.5 out of 10 an A. It's a solid Root Beer. Well worth drinking!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Sugar Gaining Ground

Add Snapple to the list of drinks abandoning HFCS for Sugar. Yeah, I know it's not a beautiful, fizzy beverage, but it's a sign of the times and it is owned by Dr Pepper.
Snapple, once the “official beverage of New York City,” is being redesigned — inside and out — this year.

The popular iced teas are losing the high-fructose corn syrup and the dated font. The bottles are becoming more svelte (to better fit into cup holders, which became a force after Snapple iced teas were originally introduced). The labels will also emphasize the green and black tea leaves used to make the drink. The changes are rolling out over the first few months of the year, and they are expected to hit New York in early March, according to Dr Pepper Snapple Group, which is now the owner of the brand.

Snapple, which once defined the genre of specialty tea, now finds itself fading in an increasingly crowded field of competitors. The brand, which passed through many hands before landing as part of Dr Pepper Snapple, went through a round of focus group testing over the last two years.

“Through that work we really found that Snapple had lost of its luster and had been replaced in the minds of consumers by other beverages out there,” said Jim Trebilcock, an executive vice president with Dr Pepper Snapple.

(For example, President Obama prefers (the more lightly sweetened) Honest Tea, and the White House is now stocked with his favorite flavors, Black Forest Berry and Green Dragon.)

Real sugar is replacing the corn syrup. (Sugar vs. corn syrup, by the way, is the difference between Mexican and American Coca-Cola.) In some cases, that has actually resulted in a decrease in calories.

The old ingredient list for Lemon Snapple Iced Tea: “water, high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, tea, natural flavors.” Calories: 200. The new ingredient list: “filtered water, sugar, citric acid, tea, natural flavors.” Calories: 160.
Now if only Coke and the other people out there would hop on the train. And I'm pretty sure that Obama has nothing to do with their decision, despite his inclusion in the article.

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