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Old 10-14-2008, 07:44 PM   #1
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Default Soft Drink Review Thread

At another site I'm a member of, I've been doing soft drink reviews for some time. In this thread I am copying the reviews I've done for the other site, and when I'm finished I will start writing new reviews. This thread is not just for me, anyone can join in with reviews of their own.

Most of the reviews are of various kinds of root beer. I'm a root beer fanatic, and imagine myself to be something of a root beer connoisseur. Even so, I've reviewed other soft drinks as well.

I have a rating system, and I ripped off the following images to fit my system. One through five stars.

Witness:
= Undrinkable!
= A poor quality drink, but not a total loss.
= Not a bad drink. Enjoyable.
= A superior drink in nearly every respect.
= Among the best!

Without further ado, on with the first review!
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Old 10-14-2008, 07:47 PM   #2
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Default Goose Island Root Beer

Goose Island is a Chicago brewery more famous for beer than root beer. However, they do root beer and other sodas also.

Looking at the ingredient list I see a mixed bag of news. Cane sugar is good. Artificial flavor is not. Chemical preservatives are also present, another not good.

I will take a moment to comment on the label, which is aesthetically pleasing. Simple and bold. A somewhat retro look without being cheezy.

Off comes the cap, and the sniff test. A scent both rooty and sweet. An inviting smell. No undertones of other flavors that might be present.

And to drink: A strong sarsaparilla bite, moderated by the presence of real sugar. Hints of wintergreen flavor. The merest trace of a sweet aftertaste that lingers. The carbonation isn't strong, and the texture of the drink is smooth without being creamy. A repeated drink reveals a slight artificial tang to the aftertaste, which I now identify as the wintergreen flavor. If there are other flavors present, I don't notice them.

Conclusion: A good quality drink despite the presence of artificial flavoring. I enjoy the bite of the flavor, and the aftertaste is weak enough to not ruin the experience. It's hard to imagine a good root beer that isn't creamy, but this one pulls it off. I recommend it.
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Old 10-14-2008, 07:54 PM   #3
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Subscribing! I love root beer.
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Old 10-14-2008, 08:30 PM   #4
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Default Gale's Root Beer

Since I'm copying, I will go ahead and post another one just for you!

The label declares "Made by chef Gale Gand." A good pedigree. The label also says it is flavored with cinnamon and vanilla. Here we go...

Off comes the cap, and here comes the sniff test. The smell reminds me of cinnamon candy. An inviting smell, but I have to wonder at the strength of the cinnamon scent.

The scent is somewhat deceiving. The cinnamon taste is present, though mild. There is only a hint of vanilla in the flavor, allowing the rooty taste to come through. The carbonation is strong, and the mouthfeel is not smooth. Despite that, it's quite enjoyable. The only oddity is a transitory aftertaste that reminds me of perfume. The aftertaste doesn't last long enough to be unpleasant, however.

It has a good head when poured and it made me belch quite loudly, so that's a plus.

In conclusion, this is a mildly spicy root beer that makes for a very pleasant change of taste. I give Gale's Root Beer
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Old 10-16-2008, 10:21 PM   #5
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Default Irn Bru

I have before me a can of IRN BRU, complete with UK compliant packaging. This is obviously an import and not produced locally. The label does not say "high fructose corn syrup" on the ingredient list, but not knowing UK labeling standards I don't know if it would need to. Otherwise it looks fairly typical of a cola.

Okay... this is no cola. I don't know what that smell is, but it's definitely not cola. It smells kinda orangey or kinda peachy. *shrug* I can't place it.

Pouring the drink reveals a peach-like color, no head to speak of, and more of that odd scent. With some trepidation, I take a drink.

It has harsh carbonation, with a flavor that reminds me somewhat of beer. Despite the fruity nose, it doesn't really taste fruity. I have to concede I've never tasted a soft drink like this. The phosphoric aftertaste lingers a long time.

It's strange to my palate. I suppose you'd have to grow up with the drink to truly appreciate it, as it seems like an acquired taste. I wouldn't push it away if someone offered it to me, but I won't be buying any more for myself.

for IRN BRU.
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Old 10-17-2008, 12:45 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Dromond View Post
IRN BRU, ....Okay... this is no cola.
Lolololol - its very much an acquired taste, and more a Scottish one than an English one. You need RubyRipples to comment as she was probably bought up on the stuff!

I hate Root Beer but I like the way you write and this is so much a labour of love I cant wait to read more!
Tracey xx
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Old 10-17-2008, 02:10 AM   #7
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Thank you, BeaBea! It very much is a labor of love. I really enjoy trying new soft drinks. My style in writing a review is to do it in real time. I write down my impressions of the drink at each step as it happens.
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Old 10-17-2008, 09:04 PM   #8
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Default Sprecher Brewery Root Beer Soda

As always, the first thing I do is look at the label. The ingredient list is very promising indeed. Carbonated water, glucose-fructose syrup, malto-dextrin, raw Wisconsin honey, vanillin, vanilla extract, phosphoric acid, sodium benzoate.

The presence of honey and vanilla make me really want to taste this.

The sniff test reveals a mellow and sweet scent. Almost soothing. Vanilla is strongly represented, and the sweet scent must be the honey.

Time for a drink: It's hard to get a handle on this flavor. I've taken several drinks and still am struggling to find a way to describe it. The vanilla dominates every flavor vector, from the initial hit to the aftertaste. It's all vanilla, all the time. The honey is there as an undertone, and I can taste wintergreen too. There is no carbonic burn at all. The phosphate harshness is absent except for a tickle at the back of my throat. The drink is amazingly smooth, much more so than I would believe from a brew with phosphate in it.

In summary, it's a fine drink. for Sprecher Brewery Root Beer Soda.
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Old 10-17-2008, 09:35 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Dromond View Post
I have before me a can of IRN BRU, complete with UK compliant packaging. This is obviously an import and not produced locally. The label does not say "high fructose corn syrup" on the ingredient list, but not knowing UK labeling standards I don't know if it would need to. Otherwise it looks fairly typical of a cola.

Okay... this is no cola. I don't know what that smell is, but it's definitely not cola. It smells kinda orangey or kinda peachy. *shrug* I can't place it.

Pouring the drink reveals a peach-like color, no head to speak of, and more of that odd scent. With some trepidation, I take a drink.

It has harsh carbonation, with a flavor that reminds me somewhat of beer. Despite the fruity nose, it doesn't really taste fruity. I have to concede I've never tasted a soft drink like this. The phosphoric aftertaste lingers a long time.

It's strange to my palate. I suppose you'd have to grow up with the drink to truly appreciate it, as it seems like an acquired taste. I wouldn't push it away if someone offered it to me, but I won't be buying any more for myself.

for IRN BRU.
This is Scotland's other national drink! It was originally called iron brew but they had to change the spelling long long ago as there is no iron in it. It is famous in Scotland as a hangover cure, and no self respecting taxi driver would be without a bottle by his side all day long. It's more than a drink here, it's an institution! Watch the "If" advert here and you might see how important it is. ps. Our irn bru has sugar, no corn syrup nonsense. Ingredients - Carbonated water, sugar (carbohydrate), citric acid, flavourings (including caffeine and quinine), preservative (E211), colours (E110, E124), ammonium ferric citrate (0.002%). Quinine! It'll be good even for cramp!

Real connoiseurs of the drink insist that it only tastes good if drunk cold from the orginal glass bottle version. The other advantage of this is that you get 20p back (40c) if you return the empty bottle to the shop you bought it from, to be reused!



http://www.irn-bru.co.uk/if






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Originally Posted by BeaBea View Post
Lolololol - its very much an acquired taste, and more a Scottish one than an English one. You need RubyRipples to comment as she was probably bought up on the stuff!

I hate Root Beer but I like the way you write and this is so much a labour of love I cant wait to read more!
Tracey xx
I might have been, if my mum were not too mean to buy us fizzy drinks! We had Treetops orange diluted about one part in twenty, or milk!
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Old 10-18-2008, 02:06 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Dromond View Post
As always, the first thing I do is look at the label. The ingredient list is very promising indeed. Carbonated water, glucose-fructose syrup, malto-dextrin, raw Wisconsin honey, vanillin, vanilla extract, phosphoric acid, sodium benzoate.

The presence of honey and vanilla make me really want to taste this.

The sniff test reveals a mellow and sweet scent. Almost soothing. Vanilla is strongly represented, and the sweet scent must be the honey.

Time for a drink: It's hard to get a handle on this flavor. I've taken several drinks and still am struggling to find a way to describe it. The vanilla dominates every flavor vector, from the initial hit to the aftertaste. It's all vanilla, all the time. The honey is there as an undertone, and I can taste wintergreen too. There is no carbonic burn at all. The phosphate harshness is absent except for a tickle at the back of my throat. The drink is amazingly smooth, much more so than I would believe from a brew with phosphate in it.

In summary, it's a fine drink. for Sprecher Brewery Root Beer Soda.

Ahhhh yummy. Sprecher's is the BEST. I always bring home a crapton when I go home to visit my Mom.
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Old 10-29-2008, 11:21 PM   #11
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Default Root Beer by the Beach

Sorry I've not updated this in a while. Here is one for you SoCal people!

Monterey Bay Soda, Root Beer by the Beach.

The label is pretty straightforward. I assume it is an image of Monterey Bay. The ingredient list is okay. It contains cane sugar, honey, vanilla, as well as natural and artificial flavors.

Off comes the top. The scent has a strong presence of cinnamon among the vanilla. I'm thinking there is peppermint here too? Seems like an odd thing to be in root beer.

Now for the taste test. The first drink went down smooth. It is a creamy drink, with subdued carbonation. There is definitely cinnamon here. What I thought was peppermint isn't. I'm thinking it is artificial wintergreen flavoring. That adds a somewhat unpleasant tang to the flavor, which is thankfully mitigated to a great degree by the honey sweetness. The vanilla is not strong at all, being more of a subtle undertone. The cane sugar also adds sweetness without being syrupy.

In conclusion, a mellow root beer with a complex flavor that is very good. It would be great if they would use all natural flavors. for Monterey Bay Root Beer by the Beach. The artificial wintergreen keeps it from a perfect score.
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Old 10-29-2008, 11:30 PM   #12
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I have been on a root beer kick lately and the best I have ever had is from a restaurant called Tom Wahls if anybody has been there or heard of it. They make their own. It's so yummy!
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Old 10-29-2008, 11:32 PM   #13
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Homemade root beer is absolutely the best!
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Old 10-30-2008, 10:19 AM   #14
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As a huge root beer fan myself, I find it pretty baffling that my favorite throughout the years is still Barq's. It's chock full of junk and not small batch draft root beer, but I don't know...it's delicious.
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Old 10-30-2008, 11:31 PM   #15
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As a huge root beer fan myself, I find it pretty baffling that my favorite throughout the years is still Barq's. It's chock full of junk and not small batch draft root beer, but I don't know...it's delicious.
Barq's is really different that all the other rootbeers. Its that bite, that I think is licorice. I had my first Barq's rootbeer while visiting Florida in 1980. I'm not sure if it was just the flavor, or the additional umph from the caffiene that most rootbeers don't have. Drank it like water.
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Old 10-31-2008, 12:14 AM   #16
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I thought Barq's was caffeine free.

To me, I think it's just the lack of that earthiness a lot of other root beers tend to have that sort of muddy up the taste. The wintergreen-type root beer flavor really comes across crisply.

One I was rather disappointed in was Virgil's. It's won so many awards and I was psyched to try it. I think the spices may have been a little overwhelming. I dunno, it's hard for me to remember the taste exactly, but "dirty" comes to mind. I was pissed, too, that stuff's like 6 bucks for a 4-pack!
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Old 10-31-2008, 01:21 AM   #17
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Barq's is a different breed of mass market root beer. Of the mass market category, it is one of my favorites. It's not licorice which gives Barq's it's signature bite, but rather anise. Barq's also has a very good head, which is important for a root beer. It makes a high quality root beer float.

Barq's does have caffeine, which is an exception to the rule. Root beer does not normally have caffeine.
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Old 10-31-2008, 01:26 AM   #18
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I thought Barq's was caffeine free.

To me, I think it's just the lack of that earthiness a lot of other root beers tend to have that sort of muddy up the taste. The wintergreen-type root beer flavor really comes across crisply.

One I was rather disappointed in was Virgil's. It's won so many awards and I was psyched to try it. I think the spices may have been a little overwhelming. I dunno, it's hard for me to remember the taste exactly, but "dirty" comes to mind. I was pissed, too, that stuff's like 6 bucks for a 4-pack!
I hear you. Virgil's root beer was a huge disappointment for me. They make a great cream soda, though.
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Old 10-31-2008, 11:23 AM   #19
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I hear you. Virgil's root beer was a huge disappointment for me. They make a great cream soda, though.
I'm also a huuuge cream soda fan, but I do have trouble sometimes finding one that has a lot of vanilla flavor without being cloyingly sweet. I wish more soda makers would use a little bit of salt. I really dislike the ones that have that weird chemical tutti-frutti taste, blech.

In your honor, I'm going to go buy some wacky soda at work today to try out.
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Old 10-31-2008, 08:45 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katorade View Post
I'm also a huuuge cream soda fan, but I do have trouble sometimes finding one that has a lot of vanilla flavor without being cloyingly sweet. I wish more soda makers would use a little bit of salt. I really dislike the ones that have that weird chemical tutti-frutti taste, blech.

In your honor, I'm going to go buy some wacky soda at work today to try out.
I am honored.
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Old 10-31-2008, 08:47 PM   #21
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Default Jackson Hole Soda Co. Buckin' Root Beer

Up for consideration today is Jackson Hole Soda Co. Buckin' Root Beer.

The label is cute. Very old west in feel, with two marshals stars on the label, and a central graphic of a cowboy being thrown from a bull. The ingredient list: Carbonated Filtered Water, Real Sugar, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Caramel Color, and Sodium Benzoate. Promising, except for the dreaded "artificial flavors."

Holy moses, that's a real bottle top. No mere twist off imitation, this sucker needs a bottle opener. Fortunately I have one handy.

I smelled the scent even before putting my nose to the bottle. The smell is STRONG, and medicinal. That's a cinnamon scent. A powerful cinnamon scent. Yikes.

With some trepidation, I take forge ahead and take a drink.

This root beer assaults the senses. It's the root beer equivalent of a drive-by shooting. The flavor is harsh, bitter, and definitely medicinal. Not smooth, not creamy, not sweet. The aftertaste is equally sadistic, with a lingering bitterness that almost brings tears to the eyes. The carbonic acid is strong, despite the lack of actual carbonation. But for the absence of it on the label, I would swear there was phosphoric acid in this root beer. It does not taste at all like root beer, and it does not feel like root beer in the mouth.

This gastronomic outrage is not even worth a rating.
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Old 10-31-2008, 10:34 PM   #22
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katorade has a ton of rep. Literally. As in over 2000!katorade has a ton of rep. Literally. As in over 2000!katorade has a ton of rep. Literally. As in over 2000!katorade has a ton of rep. Literally. As in over 2000!katorade has a ton of rep. Literally. As in over 2000!katorade has a ton of rep. Literally. As in over 2000!katorade has a ton of rep. Literally. As in over 2000!katorade has a ton of rep. Literally. As in over 2000!katorade has a ton of rep. Literally. As in over 2000!katorade has a ton of rep. Literally. As in over 2000!katorade has a ton of rep. Literally. As in over 2000!
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Okay, so my venture was way more fulfilling than yours, I'm sure!

Today's venture was a canned soda, actually revisiting an old fave of mine that I haven't had in quite some time. Canfield's diet (gasp!) chocolate fudge soda. Rarely do you find the words diet, fudge, and soda in the same title.

Initial impression of the smell: Chocolate cake or something like a hard chocolate candy. It doesn't have that milky smell that accompanies a chocolate bar, definitely much sweeter and syrupy with a slight note of coffee about it. You would imagine it would taste a lot like Hershey's syrup.

The color is gorgeous, first off. It's not a typical brown like cola or root beer. It's thick like a good root beer, but has almost a reddish tint to it, like cocoa powder (imagine that!). It also isn't heavily carbonated, which I find to be a problem with most diet sodas. They can be caustic on the tongue where as this seems to have a very gentle bubble about it and even has a creamy head like root beer.

As far as taste is concerned, this is the best diet soda I've ever had. Hands down. I would actually pick this over a lot of regular sodas, and I HATE artificial sweetener. I think the trick is that they don't try to fight to hide the aspartame, rather they work around it and balance it with other flavors. Cocoa seems to be a great deep balance to aspartame's insanely sweet punch. The aspartame bitterness even seems to taste GOOD in this soda.
It TASTES like old fashioned chocolate soda, but more specifically, like a tootsie roll. It has a rounded out flavor that lingers, but leaves a rather pleasant aftertaste. I imagine this would make an incredible soda float, completely destroying its diet potential. It's still as good as I remember.

All in all, I give it a 4.5/5, if only because I would really like to try a non-diet version.
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Old 10-31-2008, 10:45 PM   #23
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A&W Diet Root beer


I have the diabetes and find this the most delicious diet pop ever.
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Old 10-31-2008, 10:57 PM   #24
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I love root beer! I have not had any in many moons, but I simply adore it.

Meanwhile do you guys like cordial? I know it is a drink from childhood, but I like it and drink it often as it is not carbonated. I dilute it a fair bit.
I am drinking some orange punch cordial right now actually. You can get all kinds of flavors.
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Old 11-01-2008, 12:04 AM   #25
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The best diet root beer I've ever run across is diet Stewart's. Normally the flavor of aspartame or sucralose absolutely ruins root beer. But in the case of Stewart's, it seems to work.
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