Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Big Bear, Big Taste

This is the time of year where it becomes difficult to find a spare moment to write about my beloved brew. Yard work, kids and repairs. Did I mention yardwork? Well, I finally got the time and I had a Root Beer in the fridge ready and willing to give it up for the cause, Bennett's Big Bear Root Beer.

This is an odd Root Beer that uses molasses as a dominating flavour and manages to make it work. I've tried a couple of other brews that used molasses and didn't care for them at all, but Bennett's changes that for me. As a good Southerner I actually do like the flavour of molasses in many things. It's the original American sweetener and is used much too infrequently these days . Big Bear manages to make good use of the flavour, even if it overshadows the Root Beer extract they used.

This was a nice Root Beer, despite the HFCS and I can easily see why B. Scott Bennett developed this particular Root Beer for use as a Float Brew for his Los Angeles Farmers Market Ice Cream store, it would go well paired with a scoop of vanilla. From what I can gather, that's what Big Bear was created to do and it likely does it well, (I didn't have any ice cream around or I'd give you a definitive answer to that one!). On its own, tho it still stands as a drinkable Root Beer.

Filtered Water
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Root Beer Extract
Sodium Benzoate

Carbonation: Nice carbonation that adds bite.
Mouth Feel:Not too creamy.
Root Beer Flavour: The flavour of Big Bear is old style draft when it's not overwhelmed by molasses.
Aroma: Molasses and light old style draft Root Beer smell.
Head:Nice head.
Aftertaste: Need I say it? It has a molasses aftertaste. Nice.
Overall Taste: Molasses dominated Root Beer in this one and that's not necessarily a bad thing. The Root Beer flavour is hiding in the background but it is there. Overall this brew has a nice flavour and I won't turn one down if offered!

Bennett's Big Bear Root Beer gets a 6.5/10 or a B

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sunni said...

I like molasses too, and have noticed fewer recipes using it. Maybe I'll have to devise a few of my own to buck that trend. Isn't maple also a uniquely American sweetener?

Michael said...

I do believe that you are correct. I have never noticed maple syrup anywhere but the US and Canada as anything but an import. I am a huge fan of molasses and cane syrups and so are my kids. All the mass produced syrups around now are HFCS and artificially flavoured. Yuck. Mississippi produces some of the best sorgum and canes syrups around, (as well as some blends) and we usually stock up enough for a year or two when we get down that way. Unfortunately, we won't be back that way this year so I'll have to see what the Carolinas and Virginia have to offer.