Sunday, October 18, 2015

Lost Trail Sarsaparilla (#17 - Rated 10.3 out of 12)

Today I grabbed Lost Trail Sarsaparilla.  Lost trail also makes a root beer.  What is the difference was the immediate though through little activity that goes on above my shoulders.

Sarsaparilla essentially is typically used in all root beer recipes and is augmented with a variety of flavors live honey, maple syrup, cinnamon, clove, licorice, vanilla, wintergreen.  At a higher dose, Sarsaparilla is used for treating psoriasis and other skin diseases, rheumatoid arthritis(RA), and kidney disease; for increasing urination to reduce fluid retention; and for increasing sweating. Sarsaparilla is also used along with conventional drugs for treating leprosy and for syphilis.  Athletes sometimes use sarsaparilla as a steroid for performance enhancement or bodybuildingMexican and Honduran sarsaparillas are used for treating gonorrheafevers, and digestive disorders.

Lost trail is anything company I am unable to find much information about.  I generally like to learn a little history to understand how the beverage was formulated, but there is little info available.    The website shows four employees and that is located in Louisburg, Kansas.   They make snacks and dips, as well as soda.

Ingredients: carbonated water, cane sugar, natural and artificial flavors, caramel color, benzoate of soda (as a preservative), and citric acid

Nutrition (from the bottle)

Calories  150
 7 mg Sodium.
 37 g (13%) of Daily Carbohydrates
 37 g Sugar
0 mg Caffeine

Aroma and Flavor – 2.9 out of 3 mugs

Freshly opened, the aroma is mild.  No notable flavors like many root beers I have tested.  Then I took a drink.  THIS IS GREAT!  No flavor dominant, just smooth!  It does not have the vanilla that I typically prefer; the caramel is faint yet this is very solid.  I only dropped it 0.1 as I prefer a little more carbonation

Head – 2.5 out of 3 mugs  

Based on my preference, this is solid.  I really do not like excessive foam yet prefer it does not fully dissipate either.  The head here is smaller yet it lingers with a small portion lasting much longer.  The transition could be a little longer.

Zip -- 2 out of 3 mugs  

Fir this category, this is where it loses some points.  There is little zip and mix of flavors.  I hated to dock this smooth beverage at all.  I think a slight increase in carbonation would increase the score. 

Post Consumption Impression – 2.9 out of 3 mugs  

This is the best I experienced so far.  If I want a simple and flavorful beverage with low carbonation, this is it.  If I prefer a variety of flavors to provide a sensation, I would look for other   immediately upon my first sip, I loved the smoothness. 

Would I recommend this at 10.3 out of 12 mugs?

Yes I would!  While this is not my go to beverage, it will have its place in the top of the class.  There are times I prefer more carbonation and favor complexities.  But when I was a basic, simple and enjoyable root beer (sorry, Sarsaparilla), this is it.  It is the highest scoring root beer without HFCS of the 17 I have tested.  Give it a try and leave a comment. 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Crater Lake (#16 - Rated 7.5 out of 12)

I know, this is a twist of the Bob Seger song, but that song came to mind immediately upon pick up the bottle.

To start, unlike some soda’s that have a long history in many places on the web, Crater Lake was a mystery and a new player in comparison to others i have tested.  The best information is on their own website.   So I have very little unique info to share.

Ingredients: Sparkling Water, pure cane sugar, caramel color, natural and artificial flavors, sodium benzoate and citric acid.

Nutrition for 12 oz (from the bottle) 
  • Calories 160
  •  Mg Sodium 60
  •  41g (14%) of Daily Carbohydrates
  • 41g Sugar
  • NO Caffeine

Aroma and Flavor – 2.5 out of 3 mugs  

When I opened the bottle, the aroma was pleasing.  It has a dash of fruit but no strong fruit taste.  I was anticipating a solid soda. 

At first sip, I was really disappointed.  Then a few seconds went by and desired a second sip.  For not having HFCS and low carbonation, I was not turned off by not ready to rave either.  It had a solid balance yet I prefer great vanilla and it lacked in that category.  A stronger hint of vanilla would have made this a highly rated beverage for aroma and flavor, although it lacks in other qualities.

Head – 1.25 out of 3 mugs  

Well below average and little there was disappears fast. 

Zip – 1.75 out of 3 mugs  

The root beer does not give me a sensation of pure enjoyment.  It is a root beer in this category.  I wonder of the use of sparkling water removed some of the zip but added to aroma and flavor.  This is very low carbonation beverage.  It does have a slight citric acid taste that I prefer not to experience.  Although overall, the zip is slightly above average.

Post Consumption Impression -- 2 out of 3 mugs  

There is nothing special here, just a balanced taste without HFCS.  I believe a little more carbonation and vanilla would increase the score to be in the top of the class.  The way it is, I would buy it again, but not go out of the way to find it like a few others I have rated.

Would I recommend this at 7.5 out of 12 mugs?

I think this is a solid middle of the road root beer that you should try.  One thing I noted is the sodium content is higher than any other I have reviewed to date.  

I would not go out of my way to find this brew, but if it available, try it and leave a comment on your thoughts.


Anthony's 90 out of 100
Eric's Gourmet Root Beer 2 of 5
Rob's Root Beer Review 8 of 10
Saw Whet 9 of 10

Monday, October 5, 2015

Gene Autry (#15 - Rated 8.5 out of 12)

I have been very busy and had not had time to do a review.  While listening to a City Council meeting tonight, I decided to work on a review.  I went for Gene Autry as it was the perfect way to get back in the saddle!

Rocket Fizz is the maker of this and a variety of other sodas.  I have Rocket Fizz Root Beer Float and Judge Wopner’s Root Beer in my “to be reviewed” stock.  Rocket Fizz is predominately known for the diverse candy line (some say over 4,000 varieties), but unique sodas are also a niche.  Web search found they have made over 500 varieties of soda over their history.  Not all directly under the Rocket Fizz parent company. 

For example, they have Lester’s Fixins soda, which make Bacon Soda, Buffalo Wing Soda, Sweet Corn Soda, Coffee Soda, and Ranch Dressing Soda.  They also have Melba’s Fixings, which include Key Lime Pie Soda, Apple Pie Soda, Sweet Tea Soda, Peaches and Cream Soda and Strawberries and Cream Soda.  They even made a Sugar Ray Leonard Root Beer!

Ingredients: Carbonated Water, Cane Sugar, Caramel Color, Natural Flavor, Real Vanilla and Citric Acid.  (What is Natural Flavor?)

Nutrition (from the 12 oz bottle)

 180 Calories
 25 mg Sodium.
 45 g (15%) of Daily Carbohydrates
 45 g Sugar
 0 mg Caffeine

Aroma and Flavor -- 2 out of  3 mugs  

Before I opened the bottle, I had high hopes that no HFCS was used!  It is sweetened with cane sugar and the flavor profile is built using natural flavors and real vanilla. They just had Caramel Color and appeared to lack and caramel flavor. What are natural flavors?  When not be a little more open with the details.  

As soon as I opened the bottle, the vanilla and wintergreen surface immediately.  The aroma was much more significant than the flavor.  The wintergreen was harsh and the citric acid results in a slight unpleasant feel in the mouth.  The Body is very light and mild. 

Head – 2 out of 3 mugs  

The head on this root beer was not overly foamy yet disappears pretty quickly.  It is surly unique and this might be more of a by-product of the citric acid over many who use benzoates.   

Zip -- 2 out of 3 mugs  

The bite from the wintergreen, very deep licorice and herbs are excellent, if you like that type of bite.  I prefer a better balance with a little more sweetness and vanilla.  It is definitely above average yet for my taste, I scored it a little lower. 

Post Consumption Impression – 2.5 out of 3 mugs  

The Aftertaste is wintergreen and a splash of vanilla that lasts a long time.  It is actually a better drink a little faster than sip.  If you sip the beverage, the overall taste and feel are not the same as drinking it, not guzzling or sipping.  I actually score this higher as it has that unique taste with the long lasting impression, which I am mixed about, but again, if you love wintergreen and licorice, this is the drink for you.

Would I recommend this at 8.5 out of 12 mugs?
I write this blog and love root beer as I truly believe Root beer is the original All American beverage, not BEER!  Now Gene Autry singing “Back in the Saddle again” and while drinking a root beer just has a strong American feel!  Even better, is the ingredient list is simple and pure, so even with though not to my highest liking, it is worth the try and I will purchase it again!