Sunday, January 29, 2017

Kutztown Sarsaparilla (#63 - 8.1 out of 12)

The Kutztown Bottling Works, Inc. is located in Kutztown, PA.  It has the distinction of being one of Kutztown's oldest continually operated businesses.

In 1851, Ed Immel began bottling beverages from an excellent spring near Main St. & Constitution Boulevard. In 1888 he sold the business to Cyrus Rhode and his son John. The Rhodes built a bottling plant at the rear of their homes.  The plant was close to the Kutztown railroad terminal, where rail cars carrying beer in barrels from the defunct Barbey Brewing Co., of Reading, PA..  The barrels were unloaded and taken to the Rhodes' bottling plant. This practice was continued from 1890-1905 by Harry B. Sharadin and from 1905-1920 by Joseph Dreibelbis. A

When prohibition was enacted on January 16,1920, following the ratification of the 18th Amendment to the constitution, Keodinger focused more on the production of his soft drinks. He developed a well-liked list of 16 flavors, his most popular item being birch beer, his own recipe. After the repeal of prohibition at the end of 1933, the state assumed charge of liquor enforcement. Kiesinger applied to the state for a distributor license and was granted the 23rd license in the state. Soon after the repeal, production of soft drinks increased and the building at Schley St. became too small.

In 1940 Keodinger purchased the Leibovitz Shirt Factory of New York, New York, located at 78-80 S. Whiteoak St., the current location. The factory was originally a two room schoolhouse, with two additional rooms added later. The schoolhouse was then demolished and the current building erected on the site, the foundation of the school still remains intact.

After World War II Keodinger's nephews, Donald "Barney" Bieber and his brother "Elly" Bieber worked at the bottling works. In 1962, they purchased the business and property from their uncle Percy Keodinger. The two brothers continued operations of the soft drink line. With the growth of the Schmidt's Brewing Co., Philadelphia, PA, distribution rights were acquired in1954, allowing the Kutztown Bottling Works Inc. to become a supplier of soft drinks and beer to a larger area of customers. In 1989, after many years in the business Barney and Elly decided it was time to retire and sold the business to Barney's daughter Audrey and her husband Donald "Spike" Miller.

In 2002 the Kutztown Soda Works was formed and incorporated to focus on the Kutztown soda brands. The new corporation was spearheaded by Spike and Audrey’s son Tom. In December 2007 both businesses were sold to Jeff and Dana Taylor who continue to carry on the tradition.

Ingredients: Triple Filtered Carbonated Water, Pure Cane Sugar, Caramel Color, Citric Acid,  Sodium Benzoate (Preserves Freshness), Natural & Artificial Flavors, Acadia and Yucca Extractives.

Nutrition 12 oz. serving (from the bottle)

150 Calories
25 mg Sodium.
36 g (13%) of Daily Carbohydrates
0 mg Caffeine

Aroma and Flavor – 2.2 out of 3 mugs

The aroma is solid root beer.  A great way to start the beverage!  At first sip this is a root beer.  Not a commercial root beer a home brewed flavor.  After more sips the flavor becomes interesting and hard to place.  It has a slight birch beer taste and a touch of Coke.  The birch beer may be a holdover as Kutztown has been known to produce one of the best birch beers.

Head –1.5 out of 3 mugs  

This isn’t a trademark for this beverage.  While it does have a head, it is fast to dissipated with little remint.

Zip – 2.2 out of 3 mugs  

This has a strong herbal root beer zip.  Lacks the sarsaparilla dominance I would expect.  The blend is pleasing and unique. 

Post Consumption Impression – 2.2 out of 3 mugs  

This is a unique beverage.  Searching other reviews, I found no review that hated the brew.  It was either loved or middle of the road.  This is one if I was in the mood, would crave significantly yet I can’t get over the slight Coke taste. 
Would I recommend this at 8.1 out of 12 mugs?

This root beer is worth a try.  Again, it is a love / like beverage to me as opposed to some which are love / hate.


Sunday, January 8, 2017

Boots Sarsaparilla (#62 Rated 4.0 out of 12)

Did not find as much history as I thought would be available about the brew.  The label says at age Ambrose Kristen voyaged from Germany to Galveston, Texas.  His father perishing on the journey.  He was a wheelwright who took care of his family, eventually purchasing Bellville Bottling Works.

Boots Beverages was created by Mark Kristen’s father, Boots Kristen, when Kristen Distributing was little more than a bottling company.  They bottled things like Dr. Pepper, Nesbitt, 7Up, and Frosty Root Beer. Boots Beverages featured seasonal flavors, similar to craft beers today.  People didn’t have much in those days. Getting a Dreamlike, or going to the Picture Show, were highlights of your day, that you talked about for weeks. In honor of his father and the sacrifices the entire family made to keep the family business afloat, Mark reintroduced the brand which features flavors that were popular during the 1940’s and 1950’s. A small way to remember the things that add the greatest flavor to our lives are often simple.

Ingredients: Filtered Water, Sugar, Natural Flavors, Caramel Color, Phosphoric Acid, Quillaja Extract, Sodium Benzoate (Preserves Freshness), Potassium Sorbate.

Nutrition 12 oz. serving (from the bottle)

170 Calories
25 mg (1%) Sodium.
43 g (14%) of Daily Carbohydrates
0 mg Caffeine

Aroma and Flavor – 1.0 out of 3 mugs

The aroma was less than pleasing?  It was almost a bitter medicinal aroma.  I was not having a solid impression of the beverage.  The first sip was uneventful.  It was hard to place what this was trying to be for a flavor.  There was not deep sarsaparilla flavor, very little bite.  It was almost like a bitter and flat mix of Coke with a little grape Neha mixed in to the brew.  Just hard to place.  It earned 1.25, which is higher than my preference but the oddity earned a few points.

I have wondered if soda gets old, does it go bad.  This just taste fermented?

Head –1.0 out of 3 mugs  

The head is very light in build and color.  While smooth, it was minimal froth.  May be enhanced as a float?

Zip – 1.0 out of 3 mugs  

There is nothing unique about this beverage.  It is dry and has a slight aftertaste.  I have had beverages with Quillaja in them before and thought they were dry as well.  That could be what I taste?

Post Consumption Impression – 1.0 out of 3 mugs  

This was an odd soda.  One I would not venture to purchase for myself in the future.

Would I recommend this at 4.00 out of 12 mugs?

I am sure there are people who have acquired a taste for this beverage.  I am not one of them.  I love a smooth rooty soda with vanilla and caramel.  This had not a single one of those desired qualities.