Saturday, August 29, 2015

Will This Be Pepsi's "New Coke" Moment?

Mug Root Beer has been around for many years now and has been fairly successful with Root Beer drinkers. Now PepsiCo has decided that they will change up the formula. They're going to add in a new flavour/sweetness enhancer and reduce the actual sweetener used in the beverage. Why the decision to change something that has been working for years? Corporate shenanigans, most likely. Mug is a perfectly decent massed produced Root Beer and doesn't need any "improvements". If they really wanted to improve on it they could switch over to Sugar as their sweetener and put out some nice glass bottle editions of it. That would be an improvement. This does not bode well for Mug fans, I am thinking.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Rhode Island Root Beer

Well, it's time to head back to the New England area for our latest Root Beer. Olde Rhode Island Molasses Root Beer was a recent addition to my drinks queue and I must say that I am looking forward to giving it a try, despite my lack of faith in molasses sweetened Root Beers. This particular Root Beer is bottled by Empire Bottling Works of Bristol, RI for the folks at Real Soda In Real Bottles, Ltd.  I have some faith in the Real Soda folks. I have had a number of their offerings over the years and they've never let me down. Now we get to see if that holds true for Olde Rhode Island Root Beer.
   One thing is rather strange, though. One thing missing from the listed ingredients is molasses. Maybe it's part of the flavourings that are listed. Let's get to it!


Natural Artesian Spring Water
100% Cane Sugar
Natural And/Or Artificial Flavor Extracts
Citric Acid
Sodium Benzoate

Aroma: A draft Root Beer aroma with some clove elements to it. Also some sugary scent with a hint of a molasses scent.

Head: Nice at the start, but dissipates quickly.

Carbonation: Nicely carbonated, with a bit of bite to it. Gentle on the palate, though.

Root Beer Flavour: A watered down draft flavour with some very subtle hints of molasses-like flavour. Not a very upfront flavour or very strong.

Sweetness: Nicely sweetened by the Sugar. Well balanced and not overly sweet.

Aftertaste: A slightly woody aftertaste. No lingering tastes other than Sugar sweetness.

Overall: Not a bad Root Beer, but it doesn't stand out in any particular area. The molasses flavouring is very subtle and the Root Beer flavour is mild. I did like that it had a bit of bite to it, but that didn't add a lot to the party.

Olde Rhode Island Molasses Root Beer gets a 6 out of 10.

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.