Sunday, November 20, 2016

Tree Fort Soda (#60 – rated 5.75 out of 12)

Tree Fort soda is a hometown brew.  Meaning in the metropolitan area where I live.  Eva and Sam Ducker stated they would spend time tasting soda’s while the adults in the family tasted wine.  They wanted to “make something better” and now they make four flavors:  Root Beer, Juicy Orange, Ginger Ale and Classic Cola.  They say the root beer is “wintergreen, anise, cinnamon, sarsaparilla, marigold, peppercorn, and of course, real honey, for a subtle, rich brew great out of the bottle”. 

Eva Ducker, 17, brought Tree Fort Root Beer to market in 2015 after developing the brand for her senior project at Blake—a private school in Minneapolis, MN.  Eva’s brother and sister-in-law, David and Lily Duckler, own a tea house and café in the Seward neighborhood, and helped develop the brand by providing the know-how, ingredients, and the facility to help the young entrepreneur with her ambition.

Duckler wanted to develop something creamy, sweet, all natural, and something different than traditional sodas like Coke and Pepsi that she deemed “kind of rough stuff.” According to Duckler, the root beer is hand brewed with herbs and flowers including marigold and chicory, with vanilla and honey also in the mix. She creates most of the flavors herself by “steeping out a bunch of herbs using water extraction.” Indeed, the soda is not in line with a traditional root beer flavor, but Duckler acknowledges this, adding that the soda is much more “layered and balanced.” She says, “It’s what I’d like to think root beer tasted like back at its origins in the 1800s when people were just drinking it made from roots!”

After 70 failed attempts, and much trial and error, Duckler finalized the beverage she was looking for now I am about to review the beverage. (Click here for information on the rating criteria and a table of all the root beer tested or to be tested.)

Ingredients: Filtered Water, Cane sugar, White Honey, Natural Favors, Caramel Color, Quillaja Extract, Malic Acid, Sunflower Oil, Phosphoric Acid, and Xanthan Gum.

Nutrition 12 oz. serving (from the bottle)

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

Aroma and Flavor – 1.5 out of 3 mugs

The aroma is very medicinal and not much like a deep dark root beer I prefer.  The color is almost Crème Soda/Ginger Ale tomes.

At first daring, this is not really a root beer.  It is closer to a root beer/ginger ale mix.  The honey is noted along with a light wintergreen or cinnamon taste.  I almost felt like I was drinking  dandilion?

Head –1.75 out of 3 mugs  

The head is average.  Quick dissipation with a slight remnant at the outer edge when fully dissipated. 

Zip – 1.25 out of 3 mugs  

The zip is from clove, ginger and cinnamon.  It is light and dry.

Post Consumption Impression – 1.25 out of 3 mugs  

I do not know what to say?  It is not a bad soda, but not really a root beer.  It is unique and very dry.  My mouth felt dry after drinking the brew.  What is odd is for a soft drink, I have the sensation I am drinking a carbonated tea with honey.

Would I recommend this at 5.75 out of 12 mugs?

I really like the story of the young entrepreneur breaking out with something different, yet as a root beer lover, this is a beverage I would look twice before making a purchase.  However, if you want to try a dry beverage that would give you the sensation of drinking a solid tea with honey, give it a try!


Sunday, November 13, 2016

Briar’s (#59 - rated 9 out of 12)

Briars USA is a non-alcoholic distributor in the central New Jersey region. The company is a subsidiary of High Grade Beverage (HGB), a franchised wholesale beverage distributor of malt beverages, wine, spirits and soft drinks. Briars USA has been in business since 1937. Briars USA currently distributes Monster, Vita Cocoa, Function Drinks, Cintron Beverages, Jones Soda and 24 C, Muscle Milk, Sunny Delight, Sweet Leaf Tea Redline Energy and Welch's Juices.

Historically, Briar’s may be better known for its Birch Beer, but has produced many popular flavors over time including Black Cherry, Diet Black Cherry, Cream, Diet Cream Soda, Diet Root Beer, Lemon, Sarsaparilla, and Grape Soda.

High Grade Beverage Company was originally founded by Nicholas DeMarco and Harry "Butch" Levine in 1940. This business was located on Redmond Street in New Brunswick and consisted of only six others - three delivery men, two sales people and one secretary.  Over the years the company grew, bringing on the Briar's USA soft drink beverage bottler in 1986.

Ingredients: Carbonated Water, Invert Sugar, Caramel Color, Sodium Benzoate (Preserves Freshness), Citric Acid, Natural & Artificial Flavors, Aspartame, and Yucca Extractives.

Nutrition 12 oz. serving (from the bottle)

168 Calories
15 mg Sodium.
42 g (15%) of Daily Carbohydrates
0 mg Caffeine

Aroma and Flavor – 2.5 out of 3 mugs

The aroma is commercialized.  Nothing unique and actually removed me of barq’s.  The first drink was enjoyable.  Overall a good blend with a little too much carbonation for me.  The sweetness level was a little higher than I prefer.  Could be the “Invert Sugar” that was listed as the sugar?

Head –1.5 out of 3 mugs  

The head was slightly below average yet would make a great root beer float.  Within 30 seconds, there was no sign of any head remaining.

Zip – 2.5 out of 3 mugs  

This has a remarkable balance of flavors accented with caramel, vanilla and carbonations.  I really enjoyed the sensation from the first drink.  It was pleasing, although the carbonation was a little higher than I would desire.

Post Consumption Impression – 2.5 out of 3 mugs  

I was pleased and would look for the beverage again.  It is not my top rated but close to the top 10.  This would most certainly be my nomination for a root beer float!  The more I consumed, it reminded me of my love for Taco Bell.  The first bite is SO good, by the third bite I realize I am eating something and by the fifth bite, same old crap I could get anywhere.

Would I recommend this at 9 out of 12 mugs?

It is worth a try.  A little sweet and carbonation higher than I prefer, which may make this a hit with those who love the commercial mixtures such as A&W or Barq’s.  I would buy this again.


Thursday, November 10, 2016

Fest Pecan Root Beer (#58 - rates 6.25 out of 12)

Intriguing to say the least.  Pecan root beer?  I love the taste of pecans yet can’t imagine what this will bring?

This is a brew from New Orleans.  It is named for King Joe Oliver, jazz pioneer of the brothels and bars of New Orleans.  He was nicknamed Papa Joe by Louis Armstrong! Fest has four soda flavors: Almond Cola, Pecan Root Beer, Bourbon Cream and Satsuma Mint soda.  I am not sure how this story really blends into the beverage, other than a cool story.

Ingredients: carbonated water, sugar, natural flavors, caramel color, phosphoric acid, sodium benzoate (preservative), potassium sorbate (preservative)

Nutrition 12 oz. serving (from the bottle)

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

Aroma and Flavor – 2.0 out of 3 mugs

At the twist of the cap, I anticipated a nice aroma, like only that pecans can provide.  This thought came to mind by the color of the soda as well.  A light pecan color, not a deep dark root beer color.  Immediately upon opening, I was disappointed.  At best it was a sweet flavored water aroma.  The aroma did not provide any anticipation for drinking the beverage.

Then came the first sip and it was very sweet.  A little much for my enjoyment.  There was a small pecan flavor, nothing overpowering and just enough to make you think about what you are drinking.  It really tastes more like a cream soda than a root beer.  I do like cream soda, so that made drinking the bottle easier.

Head –1.5 out of 3 mugs  

The head is medium at best with very small bubble.  It totally dissipated quickly and there is not remint at all.

Zip – 1.5 out of 3 mugs  

This beverage has a unique flavor, again more like a cream soda than a root beer.  It is a good combination for the soda, just not for a root beer.

Post Consumption Impression – 1.25 out of 3 mugs  

I was really mixed on this brew.  I tended to like it as I like a cream soda, but did not like it as I thought I was going have a deep rich root beer with a pecan hint. 
Would I recommend this at 6.25 out of 12 mugs?

If you like a cream soda, give it a try.  If you like a mid-carbonation rooty root beer with little sweetness, I suggest looking at another brew.


Sunday, November 6, 2016

Crim City Root Beer (#57, rated 6.5 out of 12)

Crim City Soda is a subsidiary of Double D Beverage Company.  Double D Beverage Company was founded in 2005.  It is a Canadian company located in British Columbia. 

When I first purchased this brew, I thought I was buying a “gamers” brew.  It has a label as well as a name which is a corny teenage video game.  According to its website, it states:

“The Crime City Soda (CCS) Root Beer is in a league of its own… it's a premium craft root beer enhanced with Yucca Root Extract that really delivers a smooth, creamy taste. Our Renegade character is smirking as he always sees the other guys getting the cuffs, even though he's usually the one doing all the damage. If you're a true root beer aficionado, Renegade Root Beer is you must have.”  Sounds like teenage gamer grammar!

Ingredients: Carbonated Water, White Cane Sugar, Natural Flavors, Caramel Color, Yucca Root Extract, Phosphoric Acid, and Gum Arabic.

Nutrition 12 oz. serving (from the bottle)

160 Calories
0 mg Sodium.
40 g (13%) of Daily Carbohydrates
0 mg Caffeine

Aroma and Flavor – 1.5 out of 3 mugs

The aroma a very solid root beer.  The taste is very smooth with a unique spice.  There is a hint of vanilla and the caramel is notable.  Unusually sweet for my liking.  Could be the Yucca?  Many compounds from yucca have been used in the manufacture of new drugs.  Makes me wonder what am I really drinking, even though it was smooth and blanked.

Head –2.0 out of 3 mugs  

The head is very solid.  Could be the yucca extract, which is used as a foaming agent in carbonated beverages.

Zip – 1.5 out of 3 mugs  

Overall this has a unique flavor I enjoyed, overall there is nothing to make this stand out as an exceptional beverage.

Post Consumption Impression – 1.5 out of 3 mugs  

The first sip is enjoyable but the more I consumed, the less enjoyable it became.  I believed it was just too sweet, almost syrup aftertaste.  By the end, I was not having an experience that made me desire a second bottle.
Would I recommend this at 6.5 out of 12 mugs?

It is worth a try if you like a sweet root beer.  I am not sure I would seek out the brew, but would drink it again.  I am not sure what Yucca tastes like, yet I assume that is the odd, yet enjoyable, flavor I can’t place.


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