Sunday, November 5, 2017

Bar Harbor Old Soaker - #89, 7.25 out of 12

This brew was gifted from Leslie and Taylor Guillory, who found it on their honeymoon in Bar harbor.  The Atlantic Brewing Company in Bar Harbor Maine brews Old Soaker Root Beer. They initially were the Acadia Brewing company in 1990 located inside the Lompoc Cafe in downtown Bar Harbor. The location only allowed them to brew one barrel at a time. A few years later the demand forced two doors down from the restaurant and increased the capacity to seven-barrel batches.  In 1998, they outgrew that facility and moved to where they are today, 27 years after starting the business.  They occupy a 19th century Maine farmstead, that employs native vegetation and local stonework.

The company, which claims their root beer is a “Bar Harbor favorite and cult classic,” uses an old-fashioned root beer recipe made with natural quillaja extract from the bark of the yucca plant. In the past, I found quillaja to have foam, but also an aftertaste I did not enjoy.


Carbonated Water, Pure Cane Sugar, Natural Flavors, Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate as a Preservative

Nutrition 12 oz. serving (from the bottle)


Aroma and Flavor – 1.5 out of 3 mugs

There was very little aroma from the bottle.  I was not sure what to expect.  The first drink was not one I expected.  While this is a root beer, there was a sensation that I was drinking a mix of Cherry Dr. Pepper and root beer.  This is a very sweet and creamy beverage with noted caramel and vanilla.  There was just an odd taste which I attribute to the quillaja

Head – 2.5 out of 3 mugs  

The head is well above average which dissipated slowly and left slight ring after several minutes. 

Zip – 1.75 out of 3 mugs  

There is a slight zip and a slight spiciness to the finish

Post Consumption Impression – 1.75 out of 3 mugs  

Overall, I enjoyed the beverage, yet would not seek it out like some others.  I am sure it is the quillaja aftertaste.  My mouth was left dry after each drink.

Would I recommend this at 7.25 out of 12 mugs?

If you enjoy a complex flavor that leaves a dry mouth with the slightly bitter aftertaste, this is for you.  I however was happy to try the brew and would drink is again, if it was the best option available. 



Sunday, August 27, 2017

Sparky’s - #88, 5 out of 12

It all started in the 80's with a beer brewing kit in Pacific Grove, California. Kevin Knox got hooked on home brewing and his beers won many local, state and national awards.  He also wanted to make soda to give away to friends and family. After experimenting unsuccessfully with various flavors of soda, he began developing a recipe for his boyhood favorite, root beer. It took many years and many five-gallon batches before the recipe became fine-tuned. Throughout that time, Sparky’s was hand bottled in the same type 22oz. bottles used for his beer and gave both away as gifts, especially at Christmas.  After much encouragement from friends and family to offer Sparky’s Root Beer to the public, it was on April 1, 2000 this brew was born and debuted in Pacific Grove, California at the annual Good Old Days Celebration.

To make Sparky’s, a small commercial kitchen was rented and converted into a root beer brewery. The original plan was to produce Sparky’s on draft only, in 5 gallon kegs, for use in restaurants, private parties and other special events.  Now in bottles and distributed, which is why I have this to review.


Carbonated Filtered Water, Pure Cane Sugar, Honey, Caramel Color, Natural and Imitation Flavorings, Spices, Sodium Benzoate as a Preservative, Phosphoric Acid and Caramel Color.

Nutrition 12 oz. serving (from the bottle)

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

Aroma and Flavor – 1 out of 3 mugs

Immediately upon opening the aroma was one of cough syrup or overly fermented.  I have long questioned if soda can just go bad.  I will need to try this again just like Sassy Lil’lass which I tried three times and found very disliked by me.  The taste had a strong birch, wintergreen and honey flavor that really are not to my liking.  I am not much of a birch flavor lover.

Head – 1 out of 3 mugs  

The head was rather small and what did appear was gone just as quickly. 

Zip – 2 out of 3 mugs  

The carbonation was on the lower side and the flavor an interesting mix.  Although I was not pleased with the flavors, it scores high for the combination and zip.

Post Consumption Impression – 1 out of 3 mugs  

I will try this again in case I have a bad bottle.  Although, based on this experience, I have a hesitation as it was not one I enjoyed at all.

Would I recommend this at 5 out of 12 mugs?

If you like birch flavor and high sweetness, maybe give it a try. It really should be a 4 total score yet the zip was unique and prominent, just not to my liking.