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.

8Big BearSurprisingly pretty good. Not a complex flavor one of the best.
8SprecherThis one has been one of my favorites for years ever since my brother in law sent me a case. Not sure why it never made it on the list.
This is a good solid brew. Can't say it is anything special in any one area but just a solid mix. Makes a great Float.
8Death Valley
Indian Well Valley Brewing company
This one is back on the near the top of the list after being marked down after a bad batch. Has a nice mix of the expected root beer flavor with perhaps just a tade too sweet

Here are the original notes:
Nice smooth taste that is very subtle and grows as you enjoy. Sugar content seams low which allows the flavors to come out. I've had a bad bottles of this before that seamed to taste like cheap beer.
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"
7.9Barrel BrothersGood! Has nice overtones.
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.
That was the entire original rating. Just visited the old Fitz factory in St. Louis and sample this one again and I have to say the original rating was correct. This is good. It isn't great. There is nothing that stands out. It doesn't have what I consider a strong root beer flavor but then it doesn't have anything that stands out.
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.
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.
6.5Red Arrow Solid brew. Nothing complex. Not much in the way of secondary flavors. Good solid soda.
6Buckin'Average. Reasonable overtones. Contains artificial ingredients
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.
5.5Eli'sA nice change of pace. A decent bottle to grab with a sandwich though not one I would serve at a 4 star restaurant. Does not have what I would call a strong Root Beer flavor with almost no notes of vanilla.
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.
5FaygoLike so many Rootbeer's there is was nothing memorable about this
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.
4.5Gene Autry Root beer (RocketFizz)The best part of this brew is the catchy name
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?
4.4Judge Wapner (RocketFizzJudge Wapner may sentence you to drink his root beer but civil unrest may follow
4ZuberFizzPerhaps paired with the right food this might be better. Had a bitter taste
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
4Squamscot I'm probably being unfair with this one but it just wasn't memorable.
3Triple XXXI had so much hope for this one but in the end this is just one that can be skipped.
Tried it more than once and both times decided that it just isn't very good.
3AJ StephansI've had worse. Very strong flavor what I finally decided was penny bubble gum.
3Maine root beerStrong after taste that lingers. Bitter.

Label looks promising

3Jack BlackBitter taste
3Boylan BottleworksTrying too hard! Had a strange after taste--did not linger for long. Includes artificial ingredients
3Hanks GourmetLos Angeles water is much better.
3Sea DogTrying too hard. Bitter taste. No overtones
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.
5Maid-RiteHomemade brew from this iconic hamburger stand in Springfield MO. I love their attempt and this is the real deal but the flavor isn't what I seek. Too much emphasis on vanilla not much on the root or the cream.
4StubbornThough all natural I'm not a fan of the flavoring. It has that flavor trying to act like an old time vanilla flavor without any of the the other flavors. Just leaves an aftertaste of don't buy it again.

1 Comment

  1. robert

    Robert wrote:
    This is the best root beer hands down

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