Saturday, December 19, 2015

Big Ben's (#27 - Rated 4.0 out of 12)

This is a brew bottled by the Catawissa Bottling Company in the rolling hiss of Central Pennsylvania.  They say they have been making Big Ben’s since 1926.  They appear to stay true to simplicity, as the website looks like is from the 1990’s early Netscape Navigator built.  That is about all the information I could find on them.  Unfortunate there is little history, as I like to have a full background.

Ingredients: carbonated water, sugar, caramel color, natural and artificial flavors, sodium benzoate (preservative), citric acid, yucca extractives and acacia.

I have not seen the Acacia before and still not sure why it is added.   Then I tried to see what Yucca Extractive was?  Web MD explained it best at this link.

Nutrition 12 oz (from the bottle)

180 Calories 
30 mg Sodium.
44g (15%) of Daily Carbohydrates
0 mg Caffeine

Aroma and Flavor – 1.5 out of 3 mugs

Upon opening the bottle, either I have a bad cold or water would have been the same.  It was nothing extraordinary.  At first drink I was very pleased. (The reason it scored that high!)  As I continued, the pleasure waned quickly.  It has a very soft and sugary taste.  The sodium content is high and for the first time I really can taste the sodium. 

Head – 0.5 out of 3 mugs  

What, there is a head?  Where is it?  It was nearly non-existent.  The little foam appearance ring around the outside of the class remained, but not much to be proud of in a head.

Zip -- 1 out of 3 mugs  

The beverage was average in zip.  Low carbonation a slight creamy taste.  It did not provide a lasting impression.

Post Consumption Impression – 1 out of 3 mugs  

While it was not considered bad, the more I drank the less I appreciated the beverage.  There is more of a slight root beer taste with excessive sugar taste.  It reminds me of a moderately flat Barq’s

Would I recommend this at 4 out of 12 mugs?

If you were to have several friends who wanted to try this, go ahead but limit the brew to 2 ounces.  As the first taste was tolerable, just finishing the bottle was the issue

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Route 66 Root Beer (#26 - Rated 7.0 out of 12)

The beverage is new on the market compared to others.  It originated in 1996.  It is bottled in Mokena, Illinois.  Hard to find much history at all!  Underlined text is updated text!

Ingredients: Carbonated water, cane sugar, caramel color, natural and artificial flavorings, citric acid and sodium benzoate.

Nutrition (12 oz from the bottle)

Calories  160
41 mg Sodium.
28g Sugar (12%) of Daily Carbohydrates
0 mg Caffeine

Aroma and Flavor – 1.00 out of 3 mugs

Is it possible to get a bad bottle of root beer.  Well, based on my second try, yes.  The second bottle is nothing like the first.  While it is still not GREAT, it is slightly above average.  Enough to up the score from the original 1 rot a 2 for this category.  The second bottle lacked the aroma and had a pleasing mix of spice.  Still lacked a little e in the Sarsaparilla but the caramel was noted.  The aroma is slight.  My first thought was this was going to have a medicinal taste.  I was right!  My first sip brought a quick realization there are no memorable qualities and little root beer enjoyment.  It is almost tolerable at first sip and then some unknown aftertaste arrives.  I can’t place it, but I do not like it.  I sense a slight vanilla taste with a caramel splash.  Still, the unknown aftertaste is a little more than I enjoyed.  Almost a rancid aftertaste.  Can root beer go bad/sour?

Head – 1.0 out of 3 mugs  

The head is a decent height, but fizzes away too quickly.

Zip – 1.25 out of 3 mugs  

The zip is tingles the tongue and the carbonation and spices is very odd. The Aftertaste is a sweet creamy vanilla.  The second bottle was much better in the Zip category.  It was even carbonation with no odd twang to it at all.  The score increase from 1.25 to 2.

Post Consumption Impression – 1.00 out of 3 mugs  

This brew is just not to my liking.  I am still trying to figure out the almost rancid aftertaste. The second brew was actually enjoyable.  While it had a commercial style carbonation, it was lacked in the preferred vanilla flavor, I was impressed by the second bottle to go from a 1 to a 2.

Would I recommend this at Second try a 7 - initial 4.25 out of 12 mugs?

I believe if you like Dad's Root Beer, you will like this brew as well.  Again, the first bottle must have been fermented as the score for the second bottle almost doubled the score.  Sure wish we had freshness dates on some of these bottle! I would not suggest this beverage, unless it is free and you want to try it.  While the sugar was relatively low, the sodium is very high.  The aftertaste was not pleasing at all and that was confirmed by two others in the household.   

Cosmos Root Beer Review  1 out of 10
Root Beer Respect  8 out of 10

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Columbia Soda Works (#25 - Rated 10.6 out of 12

Columbia Soda Works is a mystery.  I tried to find information on the history yet the website went nowhere.  The bottle states it was established in 1996 in the gold mining town of Columbia, California. The label reads, “The flavor will take you back to the days of yesteryear when miners and settlers alike enjoyed the rich tastes of these early refreshments.  A taste as rich as the Mother Load.”  It even boasts greater by saying Columbia Soda Works Sarsaparilla is “A VERY PRECIOUS LIQUID.”   That is all the information I could gather.

Ingredients: carbonated water, sugar, caramel color, natural and artificial flavors, citric acid and Gum acadia.

Nutrition (from the bottle)

170 Calories 
20 mg Sodium.
45g (14%) of Daily Carbohydrates
0 mg Caffeine

Aroma and Flavor – 2.8 out of 3 mugs

This soda definitely tastes more like a sarsaparilla.  The carbonation left a nice fizz in my mouth. The hints of caramel and light wintergreen were quite impressive.  The only thing that kept this from a perfect score was I prefer a hint of vanilla. 

Head – 2.2 out of 3 mugs  

The head is not strong and dissipated quickly.  There is a difference in the head based on the temperature of the glass and the pour method.

Zip – 2.7 out of 3 mugs  

This dark root beer has a unique flavor.  The mix is not harsh with a faint wintergreen taste.  r.

Post Consumption Impression – 2.9 out of 3 mugs  

This was enjoyed from the start and left me wanting another.  No HFCS (I think as it just states sugar), so that is a plus.  Super flavor balance with the right mix of carbonation.  You can’t go wrong with this beverage!

Would I recommend this at 10.6 out of 12 mugs?

Yes I would, without a second guess.  When I visit the store next year, this is currently my first root beer to choose.   As you can see for other reviews below, I am not the only one giving the beverage high marks.