Soft Drink Review Thread

Dimensions Magazine

Help Support Dimensions Magazine:

Dromond

Pleasantly abstruse.
Joined
Oct 5, 2007
Messages
7,431
Location
East Central Illinois, USA
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!
 

Dromond

Pleasantly abstruse.
Joined
Oct 5, 2007
Messages
7,431
Location
East Central Illinois, USA
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.
 

Dromond

Pleasantly abstruse.
Joined
Oct 5, 2007
Messages
7,431
Location
East Central Illinois, USA
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. :happy:

In conclusion, this is a mildly spicy root beer that makes for a very pleasant change of taste. I give Gale's Root Beer
 

Dromond

Pleasantly abstruse.
Joined
Oct 5, 2007
Messages
7,431
Location
East Central Illinois, USA
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.
 

BeaBea

Man up or move on!
Joined
Feb 20, 2006
Messages
2,273
Location
,
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
 

Dromond

Pleasantly abstruse.
Joined
Oct 5, 2007
Messages
7,431
Location
East Central Illinois, USA
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.
 

Dromond

Pleasantly abstruse.
Joined
Oct 5, 2007
Messages
7,431
Location
East Central Illinois, USA
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.
 

Ruby Ripples

Dis Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2006
Messages
3,489
Location
,
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. :p 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






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! :p

View attachment ib_bottle.jpg
 

sunnie1653

Happiest. Mommy. Ever. :)
Joined
Jul 20, 2007
Messages
812
Location
,
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.
 

Dromond

Pleasantly abstruse.
Joined
Oct 5, 2007
Messages
7,431
Location
East Central Illinois, USA
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.
 

katorade

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2008
Messages
1,446
Location
,
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.
 

Fuzzy

Just a dirty old man
***
Joined
Oct 2, 2005
Messages
9,988
Location
Utah
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. :)
 

katorade

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2008
Messages
1,446
Location
,
I thought Barq's was caffeine free.:confused:

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!
 

Dromond

Pleasantly abstruse.
Joined
Oct 5, 2007
Messages
7,431
Location
East Central Illinois, USA
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.
 

Dromond

Pleasantly abstruse.
Joined
Oct 5, 2007
Messages
7,431
Location
East Central Illinois, USA
I thought Barq's was caffeine free.:confused:

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.
 

katorade

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2008
Messages
1,446
Location
,
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. :)
 

Dromond

Pleasantly abstruse.
Joined
Oct 5, 2007
Messages
7,431
Location
East Central Illinois, USA
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. :blush:
 
Top