Saturday, October 29, 2016

Saranac 1888 Root Beer (#55 rated - 10.1 out of 12)

This brew is from the Matt Brewing Company.  It originates from German ancestry which migrated to the United States in 1880.  Francis Xavier Matt I worked for Charles Bier Bauer Brewing before reorganizing it into The West End Brewery.  During prohibition, like so many others, soft drinks became the way to keep the factory operational.

The information found boasts “Since 1888 we have honored our great-grandfather's commitment to tradition and quality.”  I guess that is right, as the sweater is High Fructose Corn Syrup.  Way to keep the tradition and quality in check (sarcasm intended).  They go on to say their family-owned brewery (New York state's oldest, in fact – located in Utica) has a long tradition of taking pride in what they create.

Ingredients: Filtered Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Caramel Color, Sodium Benzoate (Preserves Freshness), Natural & Artificial Flavors, Aspartame, Citric Acid, Gum Arabic and Modified Food Starch.

Nutrition 12 oz. serving (from the bottle)

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

Aroma and Flavor – 2.1 out of 3 mugs

Upon opening, there was a hint of root beer aroma yet the licorice was stronger.  At first drink, it was enjoyable, but not outstanding.  I could not sense any vanilla and the carbonation was like that of a highly commercial beer as opposed to a craft brew.  I noted the high sodium count, which is not needed.  Overall this was a solid drink that was docked 0.5 for HFCS use.

Head –3 out of 3 mugs  

Now this is a head!  One of the best being very foamy without dissipating quickly.  After a few minutes, it had not fully dissipated. 

Zip – 2.5 out of 3 mugs  

Solid carbonation with good use of flavors did give this some zip.  It was almost a little high on the much carbonation for me.

Post Consumption Impression – 2.5 out of 3 mugs  

Overall a very enjoyable beverage.  The HFCS and sodium content make it less desirable, although very satisfying!

Would I recommend this at 10.1 out of 12 mugs?

Do you like Henry Wizard’s? You would like this beverage.  The score was the same and the enjoyment factor the same.  If you prefer that commercialize Barq’s, A&W or Dad’s, add this to the list.


Monday, October 24, 2016

Mom’s Root Beer (#54 tested - rated 5.25 out of 10)

They use a cute gimmick on the bottle.  As a reference to Dad’s root beer, they say “The Better Half”.  I tried to find information on the brew.  The bottle states go to but that comes up as “404 (page not found) Error”.  It also stated “Distributed by Core Beverage, Minneapolis, MN” but that company has no website nor any information.  So I do not have much background on this beverage.  That is too bad as I like knowing how it originated and how it evolved. 

Ingredients: Purified carbonated water, pure cane sugar, caramel color, sodium benzoate, natural and artificial flavor, citric acid

Nutrition 12 oz. serving (from the bottle)

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

Aroma and Flavor – 1.5 out of 3 mugs

The aroma is a little medical.  Almost like there is mint mixed with slight vanilla.  The first drink was very watered down, although the flavor grew with the second drink.  Unfortunately, this is not the better half in my opinion.  Both the aroma and flavor are average at best. 

Head –0.5 out of 3 mugs  

The head was almost non-existent.  Some people prefer little or no head to the beverage.  I prefer a medium head with larger foam bubble.  This was rather disappointing.

Zip – 1.5 out of 3 mugs  

While the first drink has little or no zip, that was just a sip.  If you take larger drink, the carbonation provides a little sensation, but the flavor mix does little in this category.

Post Consumption Impression – 1.75 out of 3 mugs  

I scored this brew higher than I believe it deserves, as the beverage was better than the 3.5 in the first three categories.  Although, I could not score it higher as the post consumption impression was average, at best.
Would I recommend this at 5.25 out of 12 mugs?

While this is not a terrible brew and I would not turn it down if it was offered, I would not seek out the beverage.  That is unfortunate, as the play with the name is the bed part of the beverage.


Saturday, October 22, 2016

Sky Valley Organic Root Beer (#53, rated 3.25 out of 12)

So they use organic ingredients.  They also use Apple Cider Vinegar.  They also have 170 mg of sodium.  Even as an organic, really that much sodium.  That’s what they do to fat free foods to make them taste good!

Ingredients: Carbonated Water, Organic Cane Sugar, Organic Caramel Color, Organic Vanilla Extract, Natural Flavor, Sea Salt, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, Citric Acid.

Nutrition 12 oz. serving (from the bottle)

110 Calories
170 mg Sodium.
26 g (9%) of Daily Carbohydrates
0 mg Caffeine

Aroma and Flavor – 1.0 out of 3 mugs

The aroma from the start was suspect as there was no root beer aroma.  I could tell there was vanilla and slight licorice.  There was something strange as well. 

At first drink I knew this was going to be a difficult review to write, as I really try to find something that makes the root beer enjoyable.  This was more like tonic water with a combination of fruit and vinegar at the same time.  This brew has a sodium content twice of that I have ever seen at 170 mg.  The must need to salt to lessen the vinegar taste?

Head –1.0 out of 3 mugs  

The head was fine bubbles that did not have the sense as the real froth I typically see on a root beer.  Rather disappointing.

Zip – 0.5 out of 3 mugs  

Almost want to give it a higher score, but the only zip I get is from the vinegar and sodium.  Nothing unique and it is hard to say this is a root beer.  In fact, when I have a mineral water with stevia drops, I found it more overall zip and enjoyable.

Post Consumption Impression – 0.75 out of 3 mugs  

I really found the more I sipped, the less I liked it.  Although, it has a hint of vanilla, which I like, that is all.  Nothing else resembled a root beer.
Would I recommend this at 3.25 out of 12 mugs?

This is one I would shy from, if you are looking for a root beer.


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Stobborn Root Beer (#52 tested rated 4.5 out of 12)

This brew is a craft beverage from Pepsi Co., which my first thought was over commercialized processing. It was introduced in late 2015, so there are very few reviews on this beverage. 

To spread its tagline, "IT'S GOOD TO BE STUBBORN™," the brand has partnered with Robert Kirk man, creator and executive producer of "The Walking Dead" and "Outcast," and Skybound Entertainment to bring a new campaign to life.

STUBBORN root beer is made with Fair Trade Certified Cane Sugar and Stevia. Therefore, this is a lower calorie beverage at 1000 calories.  It is made with natural flavors and without High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), artificial sweeteners, and Azo Dyes.

Ingredients: Carbonated Water, Sugar, Caramel Color, Natural Flavor, Sodium Benzoate (Preserves Freshness), Phosphoric Acid, Purified Stevia Leaf Extract, Citric Acid, Calcium Disodium Edta (To Protect Flavor)

Nutrition 12 oz serving (from the bottle)

100 Calories
85 mg Sodium.
27 g (9%) of Daily Carbohydrates
0 mg Caffeine

Aroma and Flavor – 1.5 out of 3 mugs

My first impression was HOLY COW, there is 85 mg of sodium.  This would not surprise me coming from Pepsi.  Anything to increase cravings to drink more. 

The opening was a pleasure.  It had a real rooty aroma, actually really pronounced.  At first drink, I understood why.  For some reason a birch beer has a stronger aroma.  This has more characteristics of a birch beer than root beer.  Typically Birch beer is made from oil distilled from the sap of birch trees, and that makes for the dry taste.

The first drink solidified my thoughts of this being mild carbonation, dry and low sweetener flavor.  It left my mouth quite dry. Not sure if that is from the higher amount of sodium or some other ingredient.  The more I consumed the beverage, my mouth grew increasingly dry.  This scored a little higher than I really believe it would deserve, but it is a blend that is middle of the road.

Head –0.5 out of 3 mugs  

What, there is foam here?  Sorry I blinked so I tried a second time.  There it is but like magic, it was gone.      

Zip – 1.25 out of 3 mugs  

This was rather dry and uneventful.  I could taste the stevia, which I am familiar with as I occasionally use stevia in mineral water.  This is not far from that taste, if the carbonation was lower.  This beverage is on the lower side of carbonation.

Post Consumption Impression – 1.25 out of 3 mugs  

This is worth a try if you like a dry, lower calorie beverage with stevia.  This is not overall to my liking.  I would not turn it down for a free bottle, but would spend money for so many other brews.
Would I recommend this at 4.5 out of 12 mugs?

May, at best.  If you like a dry beverage that is more like a birch beer, give it a try.