This root beer originated from an in-car (A&W style) drive inn restaurant. The first Dog n Suds was opened in 1953 in Champaign, Illinois. It was two University of Illinois music teachers, James Griggs and Don Hamacher, who started the chain. The chain grew and a training center was established in Champaign, named "Rover College" after the dog on the restaurant sign. At its peak there were over 500 restaurants.
The franchise was sold in the early 1970s and the franchise business was abandoned. About a dozen Dog n Suds restaurant still remain in the Illinois/Ohio region. The Dog n Suds brand of root beer was sold off to a private bottler. It is currently bottled by Clover Club Bottling Corporation in Illinois.
Now for the review. (Click here for a list of all root beers tested or to be tested and the rating criteria.)
Ingredients: carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), caramel color, phosphoric acid, sodium benzoate (as a preservative), natural and artificial color
Nutrition information from the label (Per 8 0z):
- 110 Calories (13.75 per oz)
- 30mg Sodium. (3.75 mg per oz)
- 30g sugar (10%) of Daily Carbohydrates (3.75 g per oz)
Aroma and Flavor -- 2.2 out of 3
It is the use of high fructose corn syrup that caused me to lower the score by 0.5. (So really a 2.7 is I did not like the HFCS use.)
Upon opening the bottle it immediately has the aroma of solid root beer. Although for my liking, there is no notable vanilla scent. At the first drink I found it to be rich and creamy. There is a subtle vanilla flavor with a stronger caramel flavor. The flavor nothing special, being comparable to many mass-produced root beers. Although the lighter carbonation has it near the top of the HFCS mass-produced root beers which are normally way over carbonated. It is easy to note the syrup texture, which tends to linger long after consumption.
Head -- 2.5 out of 3
The head is what I would expect from a drive in root beer, very high with suds. Although, the carbonation balance impacts the experience I like from the head of the root beer.
Zip -- 1.9 out of 3
The beverage lacks in this category. The carbonation is a little higher but need to offset the lack of creative flavor. Hard balance to find and it is a little off the mark, based on my preferences.
Post Consumption Impression -- 2.4 out of 3
This is a beverage that would be great with a hot dog. Really not saying that cause of the name, but it is just the chilidog with a solid root beer experience. It did not satisfy my thirst. In fact, the syrup aftertaste made my mouth dry. I would not turn away from the beverage if available, but there are other that are clearly my personal favorite.
Would I recommend this at 9 out of 12 mugs?
The Aftertaste also has got the right stuff. I say that this root beer is just plain good, but not great. I bet when it was originally produced, it was significantly different than the commercial brand I experienced today.