Sunday, July 24, 2016

Towne Club Root Beer (#45 - Rated 8.0 out of 12)

This is a brand out of Michigan made with real cane sugar.  It originated in 1960 as a low cost alternative to the main brands.  While once a thriving business, it has dwindled and many articles assume it will phase out entirely in time. 

Ingredients: carbonated water, pure cane sugar, caramel color, natural and artificial flavors, sodium benzoate (preservative), citric acid, and phosphoric acid.

Nutrition 16 oz serving (from the bottle)

180 Calories
40 mg Sodium.
50g (18%) of Daily Carbohydrates
0 mg Caffeine

Aroma and Flavor – 2.2 out of 3 mugs

There is very little aroma upon opening the screw top.  Yes that is right, a screw top. 
At first taste I believed this was a pleasant taste, but nothing special.  Much like Ramblin Root Beer with a sweet mid-range body.  It is sweet, that is for sure.  The flavor is hard to match, which gives it a higher score. 

Head – 1.4 out of 3 mugs  

The head is small with very fine bubbles that dissipated slowly.  There is little or no remnant after 30 seconds.

Zip – 2.1 out of 3 mugs  

The overall carbonation and flavor are pleasing.  Nothing great.  I really believe this is not intended to be a fine brew, but a commercial cane sugar brew that is above average.

Post Consumption Impression – 2.3 out of 3 mugs  

This is a commercial style beverage I would purchase again.  It would be good on a hot summer day when you just wants a refreshing beverage or with a bratwurst.  This is not a social drinking root beer, in my opinion.

Would I recommend this at 8.0 out of 12 mugs?

The more I consumed, the more I liked the beverage.  Not enough to raise the score, but again, if you grilled some bratwursts and it is a hot day, grab a Towne Club and round out a great meal!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Dublin Texas Root Beer (#44 - Rated 10.2 out of 12)

Dublin Bottling Works originated in 1891, but before that in Waco, Texas, Wade Morrison’s Old Corner Drug Store pharmacist Charles Alderton realized customers loved the smell of the soda fountain. He invented a drink and it was named Dr Pepper.  Eventually, Bill Kloster, who operated on instinct made Dr, Pepper a top 10 producer in per capita consumption.  The media called him “Mr. Dr Pepper.” 

At one time, economics encouraged the use of other sweeteners to replace pure cane sugar in exchange for less expensive corn sweeteners.  Some Dr. Pepper plants did, Bill refuses.  That was against the high standards Mr. Kloster had for a beverage.  

Bill was always at the Dr Pepper plant. In 1995, his wife of 54 years passed.  Bill died suddenly on Sept. 27, 1999, after a full day at the bottling plant.  History says they still do the quality beverage over economics today.  Yet Dr. Pepper is no longer in their product line. 

Ingredients: Carbonated water, pure cane sugar, caramel color, natural and artificial flavors, sodium benzoate (preserves freshness), phosphoric acid, citric acid.

Nutrition 12 oz serving (from the bottle)

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

Aroma and Flavor – 2.8 out of 3 mugs

The initial aroma is a sweet root beer.  There is a slight wintergreen hint.  Overall, I was anxious to try this brew upon opening.  At the first sip, I immediately thought lovers of Dr. Pepper would like this brew.  Smooth creamy beverage with a hint of caramel and a slight licorice favor.  I really enjoyed the beverage!

Head – 2.4 out of 3 mugs  

The head is golden and frothy.  It dissipated average speed to be totally eliminated.

Zip – 2.5 out of 3 mugs  

The carbonation is where this gets most of the zip.  A blend of spices that is both notable and similar to those typically found in the most common root beers.  While this scored a little higher, it is a typical root beer zip.

Post Consumption Impression – 2.5 out of 3 mugs  

The carbonization and sodium is a little high for my overall enjoyment.  Yet I really rated this high.  I enjoyed it more after each drink and when I was completed, I was looking to see if there was a second bottle hidden in the refrigerator.  No luck.  Oh well, I will not hesitate to purchase this again.
Would I recommend this at 10.2 out of 12 mugs?

I would suggest trying the beverage.  While I enjoyed the beverage very much, it was also very commercial root beer similarities in carbonization and flavor.  Although they did it using pure cane sugar.

Monday, July 11, 2016

NORKA, Akron backwards! (#43)

Based in Akron, Ohio and originally founded by Jacob Paquin in 1924.  Jacob desired a handcrafted sparkling beverage. It was common after prohibition that breweries switched to producing soft drinks.  As part of the competition, Paquin a factory called NORKA.  A man after my own heart when you play with words.  Like when I once drove through Nebraska and saw all these adds for the Aksarben facilities.   Also when I drive down a road and see a car that is U R A Bus.  See the twist?  The car is Subaru.  Norka is the hometown Akron spelled backwards!

During peak production, NORKA 24,000 bottles a day!  NORKA shut down operations in 1962, capping off nearly 40 years of soft drink history. 

Last year, Michael Considine, an Akron native, revived the brand.  They produce a Gluten and Caffeine free drink that is also low in sodium.

Ingredients: Carbonated water, Cane Sugar, Natural Flavor, Caramel Color, Lactic Acid, Potassium Sorbate (Preserves freshness), Sodium Benzoate (Preserves freshness).

Nutrition 12 oz serving (from the bottle)

170 Calories
15 mg Sodium.
45g (15%) of Daily Carbohydrates
0 mg Caffeine

Aroma and Flavor – 2.75 out of 3 mugs

This had a light aroma.  Really nothing notable and was not sure what to expect.  At First sip, I thought this was great.  Then I found an odd aftertaste.  Almost a bitter aftertaste.  Then I wonder what was that outstanding beverage I just enjoyed and have another sip.  Go though the same process.  It is creamy and smooth with a bold vanilla flavor, yet not like a cream soda vanilla.  Overall, pretty nice!

Head – 2.5 out of 3 mugs  

The head was very foamy and dissipated quickly.  I like the balance.

Zip – 2.5 out of 3 mugs  

This is a unique blend that is not the same impression at first sip, during the drink or long after.  Carbonation is very balanced.  It has a sharpness that could easily be disliked by many, yet I enjoyed.

Post Consumption Impression – 2.5 out of 3 mugs  

This was a love hate root beer that had more love than hate.  It leaves you with a desire to want more and trying to think, “what did I just drink”?   For me, it rates high.  Be curious what others think.
Would I recommend this at 10.3 out of 12 mugs?

YES I WOULD!  I will look for this again.  Of the 45 root beers I reviewed, this is in the top 5!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Meyers Avenue Red Root Beer (#42)

Not a root beer, in my opinion!  That is about all you need to read, but if you want more information, keep reading.

It took me longer than it should have to find information on this beverage.  Even the website for the maker failed to load (  I found the name was trademarked in 2011 by Michael Lynn and then abandoned in 2012.   

The root beer store has a long history, but it seems exaggerated.  Other reviews claim this was an awesome beverage that changed recipes and destroyed this.  One went so far as to compare ingredients on two bottles (older and new) and they were different yet the company claimed no change.  Very odd history and information. 

Ingredients: Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Caramel Color, Natural And Artificial Flavors, Phosphoric Acid, Sodium Benzoate (Preservative), Potassium Sorbate and Molasses.

Nutrition 12 oz serving (from the bottle)

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

Aroma and Flavor – 1.25 out of 3 mugs (Docked 0.5 for HFCS)

First off, the lid almost fell off!  Very little seal and it smelled sour and sappy!  I was not looking forward to the first drink.  When poured, the color is very light.  Almost looks like cream soda. 

The aroma overpowering and the taste is slight fruitiness yet sour.  There was an aftertaste that was not to my liking. I could sense a cinnamon accent and the molasses as noted.  Overall, the flavors are unique but do not blend well.  This is more of a unique soda than a root beer.  Absolutely no taste to sense I was drinking a root beer. 

Head – 2.25 out of 3 mugs  

This brew has an outstanding head.   It was almost a downfall as it was better to drink after the head dissipated.  That decreases the score slightly.

Zip – 1.25 out of 3 mugs  

The carbonation is low.  The blend of spices is unique yet no root beer flavor noted. 

Post Consumption Impression – 1.0 out of 3 mugs  

This was a unique beverage, but not a root beer.  You could put root beer on a Coca Cola and iced tea blend and get the same result.  It might even taste a little better!
Would I recommend this at 5.75 out of 12 mugs?

If you want a unique soda without any root beer taste, this may be for you.  The very low carbonation and sour smell were to much for me and I will certainly pass on any future opportunities for the beverage.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Jack Black's Dead Red (#41 - Rated 9.0 out of 12)

Third time available in 420 Years?  Really?  I was not sure what to expect.  I prepared the hyperlinks at the bottom first and saw the scored are all over the place.  It appears to be a love/hate root beer?

The presentation is a brown glass bottle with a wacky cartoon pirate and two swords on the dark label.   The cap reads, “Once you’ve Jacked Black you’ll never go back.  Better dead red and just plain dead”.  The overall presentation is a little goofy!

Jack Black's Dead Red Root Beer is a caffeinated root beer.  The ingredients mimic an energy drink with Brazilian guarana, herbs, extracts and finally sweetened with cane sugar.

Ingredients: Carbonated Water, Cane Sugar, Caramel Color, Caffeine, Brazilian Guarana, Sodium Benzoate (Preservative), Phosphoric Acid, African Capsicum, Natural And Artificial Flavors, Red #40.

Nutrition 12 oz serving (from the bottle)

I scoured the web for 15 minutes and no nutrition is provided on the bottle or the web.  It stated I should call the 1-800 number for nutrition.  When I called, it was a non-working number.

Aroma and Flavor – 2.5 out of 3 mugs

Once opened the anise, horehound and vanilla is noted.  It was quite pleasant and inviting!  The blend was a little medicinal.  The first sip found a sweet and creamy vanilla with other traditional root beer flavors.  This is to my liking.  By the second drink you get the intense guarana and other spices bite.  The longer I enjoyed the beverage, the greater the medicinal flavor was noted.

Head – 2.25 out of 3 mugs  

The head is frothy but small.  I was well over a minute to fully dissipate.

Zip – 2.0 out of 3 mugs  

The carbonation is lower than expected.  A very good blend of spices makes this a unique and enjoyable brew.

Post Consumption Impression – 2.25 out of 3 mugs  

 This is a solid brew but be cautious if you are caffeine sensitive.  Without 30 minutes of drinking the brew I was feeling the effects.   
Would I recommend this at 9.0 out of 12 mugs?

I understand why other reviews showed a Love/Hate.  This is a unique brew that I enjoyed.  If the push of vanilla cream are not your preference, this is not for you!  

This is not a brew I would enjoy with a meal.  It is unique and I would prefer this a social drink.  In that setting, I would rate this highly.  For that reason, it scores higher.  A score of 9 ties it with four others that score 9 (out of 41 tested).