Sunday, April 24, 2016

Ginseng Up (#34 - Rated 8.0 out of 12)

Ginseng is any one of 11 species from slow-growing perennial plants with fleshy roots.  It originates from the genus Panax of the family, Aralianceae.  It is commonly found in North America and in eastern Asia, typically in cooler climates.

I was not sure how this would be with a good root beer.  The taste of Ginseng, if I recall correctly, is a little bitter.  It at least sparks my interest with the uncommon combination. 

Since 1981, a Worcester, Massachusetts company has brewed this brew.  They wanted to share the “Ginseng beverage with the world”.

Ingredients: Triple Filtered water, cane sugar, wintergreen, oil of cloves, natural root beer flavors and other and natural flavors, Gum Acacia, Caramel color, and Korean Ginseng Extract.

Nutrition 12 oz serving (from the bottle)

160 Calories
10 mg Sodium.
42g (14%) of Daily Carbohydrates
0 mg Caffeine

Aroma and Flavor – 2.25 out of 3 mugs

With the ingredients of wintergreen, Ginseng and Clove, I was not sure what to expect!  The aroma was not anything out of the ordinary.  The first sip noted wintergreen and a very creamy mix.  I could note the Clove yet there is the slight ginseng and wintergreen aftertaste.

Head – 1.5 out of 3 mugs  

The head was large yet dissipated to nothing in less than 10 seconds.  It was not a real frothy head, just large bubbles more common for a standard cola.

Zip – 2.0 out of 3 mugs  

There is nothing extraordinary yet has a unique blend to keep interest.  Carbonation is light.  With 42g of cane sugar, I expected a sweeter beverage. I would think the ginseng and Clove dampen the sweetness slightly.

Post Consumption Impression – 2.25 out of 3 mugs  

This is a good beverage, with nothing outstanding to set it apart from others.  At the same time, nothing to make it a less desirable option either.

Would I recommend this at 8.0 out of 12 mugs?

Overall, I like it and would not hesitate to try it again.  It did score a little lower than many others; this is because it is a good brew, not great.  It was rated 12th out of the 25 root beers rated to date.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Harmony Springs Sarsaparilla (#33 - Rated 6.5 out of 12)

Harmony springs is a brew from Massachusetts.  It is real big on promoting the use of natural ingredients, including pure artesian water.  The bottle states the company originated in 1908, yet I can’t find any details.  For being it 109 years old, I expected to see some info related to the founders.  The website states:

At Harmony Springs, it isn’t just our sodas that are old-fashioned. Our customer service is a bit old-fashioned too. We still operate our own home delivery service throughout the local community and take pride in the fact that we can count area police stations, firehouses, schools, churches, spas, wellness centers, and local TV and radio stations as some of our best and oldest customers.

Not sure why they make a big deal about the artesian water.  Chemically and physically, artesian water is not different than other groundwater, but it comes to the surface differently. Your mom is drinking water from a well that taps an aquifer that is "confined". This aquifer is water-bearing rock (the pores and cracks between rock particles are filled with water) that is surrounded by other rock or material that does not allow water to pass through. So, the water in this aquifer is squeezed by the other rocks, creating pressure in the water-bearing aquifer.  When an artesian aquifer is tapped by a well the pressure pushes the water up the well, sometimes all the way to the surface, creating a flowing well. Imagine it as a very wet sponge contained in a closed plastic bag. Put a straw through the bag into the sponge; hold the bag tightly around the straw, and SQUEEZE - that would be artesian water squirting you in the face.  So not sure what makes it special, other than for marketing to people who do not know the difference. 

Ingredients: Carbonated Pure Artesian Water, 100% Cane Sugar, natural and artificial Flavors and color, Citric Acid, Sodium Benzonate.

Nutrition 12 oz serving (from the bottle)

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

Aroma and Flavor – 1.75 out of 3 mugs

At first, the aroma was outstanding.  It filled me with anticipation of a beverage I was anxious to enjoy.  Then the first sip was a let down.  Not that this is bad; I just had such high expectation from the aroma.  The flavor is slightly bland with a taste that almost reminds me of seltzer water.  The score is a little higher because of the strong aroma

Head – 1.5 out of 3 mugs  

It was almost non-existent.  It did fizz, but within 10 seconds you would not know there was a head.  Kind of disappointing for a root beer and really reminds of a sugar flavored seltzer water with a hint of sarsaparilla.

Zip – 1.5 out of 3 mugs  

The beverage is rather plain.  There is a balance of carbonation and flavors I can’t readily identify.  Carbonation level is just below moderate.

Post Consumption Impression – 1.75 out of 3 mugs  

This is an average beverage.  I would choose it over most highly commercialized beverages; although it has high sugar content and the ingredients are unknown (just listed natural flavors).

Would I recommend this at 6.5 out of 12 mugs?

This was not a great beverage or miserable.  It is one that I am sure some will like much more than I.  I would suggest a taste, just don’t buy a 6 pack until you know if you like the overall flavor mix.