Root Beer

written by Mike

I like a good root beer.  Some years ago I started keeping track and unofficially rate root beers. I have come across a few worthy to mention; a couple that are very nice ; and whole bunch that are either trying too hard or seem  to care more about how the label looks than the stuff inside.

In general Root beers in my mind fall into 3 groups.  Anything above about a 7 is a good root beer.  Anything below a 5 should be left in the store.

What follows is my rather biased and unscientific review.

RatingNameComments 
8Big BearSurprisingly pretty good. Not a complex flavor one of the best.
8Death Valley
Indian Well Valley Brewing company
Nice smooth taste that is very subtle and grows as you enjoy. Sugar content seams low which allows the flavors to come out. I need to try it again since it comes from where I grew up and I'm trying not to be biased and only had a single bottle. I managed to buy a case of this stuff and I knocked the rating down a bit. I really should do a bind tasting between the top sodas's here and figure out which is the best
7.9Barrel BrothersGood! Has nice overtones.
7.9Gray'sNeed to try this again since it has been such a long time to see if worth of its original high rating.. Notes were "not bad--Not super complex but basic straight flavor"
7.8BerghoffNow we are talking. Has a few nice flavors. Really pleasant. Thanks again to my sister who sent me a case!
7.6Trader Joe's Vintage Root BeerAs usual Trader Joe's does not disappoint.
7.5Thomas KemperNice Flavor overall. Perhaps a few overtones but nothing really special.
7.5Old Town Root Beer CompanyBasic--not complex all but--just well done.
7.3FitzGood
7BJ brew houseI put a 7 but this one varies widely from one batch to the next. Sometimes is a amazingly nice and complex with strong vanilla and root flavors and other times it is way too sweet like cheap dime store bubble gum.
7FHZGood--I need to find this and rate it again. Just had it once.
7Virgil'sReally pretty good for what is becoming mainstream product. Never a bad choice.
6.5Red Arrow Solid brew. Nothing complex. Not much in the way of secondary flavors. Good solid soda.
6AmericanaNot bad at all. First impression was not all that good but the secondary flavors grew on me. It has a strong flavor and nice aromas.
6AbitaNeed to try this one again since I have no notes on it.
6The Original BulldogI tasted this one a second time and perhpas it was the lunch pairing but my impression was much higher than the original 4 I gave it the first time.
I didn't detect the bubble gum flavors I detected the first time and it had a nice after taste. Perhaps I need to try this one again and see if it goes up some more or falls back down.
6Buckin'Average. Reasonable overtones. Contains artificial ingredients
5.5Bundaberg AustralianNice root flavor but in the end tried a bit too hard with too strong of flavors
5.3RocketFizzThis is RocketFizz flagship root beer. It is bottled by the IWV brewing company. I may have been a bit harsh on this one and probably ought to give it another try.
5FrostiesJust OK--better than the soda fountain
5BaumeisterNothing special
5Dad'sNot sure ow to score this. It isn't bad, It isn't good. It has some complex flavors but they too are just so-so. It is a bit on the sweet side. I would probably choose another soda over this.
4.5Bedford's (Port Angeles)Overpowering vanilla without much else.
4.5River CityWow! I originally reviewed this as a very high 8.5 but then on retry it was not any better than the stuff the comes out of the fountain. Original notes said "nice". I'm not sure if they have batch to batch variations or if my tastes changed?
4.5Gene Autry Root beer (RocketFizz)The best part of this brew is the catchy name
4.4Judge Wapner (RocketFizzJudge Wapner may sentence you to drink his root beer but civil unrest may follow
4Sparky'sOriginal notes said "just OK"
4Rat BastardWould have been a 5 but knocked it down since it contains caffeine and artificial ingredients. Just OK flavor.
4Olde Rhode Island Molasses
3Tripple XXXNot so good
3Jack BlackBitter taste
3Hanks GourmetLos Angeles water is much better.
3Boylan BottleworksTrying too hard! Had a strange after taste--did not linger for long. Includes artificial ingredients
3Sea DogTrying too hard. Bitter taste. No overtones
3maine root beerStrong after taste that lingers. Bitter.

Label looks promising

2Waiolua Soda WorksBad. Has odd overtones
1Olde PhiladelphiaLow grade diesel fuel. Artificial vanilla.
0Dog-N-SudsVery Bad. Perhaps a good substitute for Diesel Fuel?
WBC Root BeerI wish had my notes on this one. As I recall it wasn't great nor was it bad.
4ZuberFizzPerhaps paired with the right food this might be better. Had a bitter taste

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