Soft Drink Review Thread

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Dromond

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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.
 

katorade

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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.
 

Shosh

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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.
 

Dromond

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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.
 

Dromond

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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.
I remember this drink! But I haven't seen Canfield's sodas in my local stores for years. This is a blast from the past!
 

Shosh

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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.
I was told not to drink fizzy drink after having my lap band inserted. I miss root beer. I do not miss other carbonated drinks though, never think of them.
 

Dromond

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I was not able to drink carbonated drinks until six months after my surgery. Now I can drink carbonated beverages in small amounts, say two or three ounces. A shot glass is about the right size.

It is a myth, by the way, that carbonated drinks will stretch your stomach out. The stomach has two openings, so there is no way for the carbonation to build up enough pressure to actually stretch it.
 

MissToodles

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Love this thread! Boylan's is one of my favorite sodas, have you done a review yet?

Okay, something which is hard to find outside of nyc and found really in certain neighborhoods (traditionally Italian strongholds)tri-state area is Manhattan Special, still bottled in Brooklyn since 1895. It's an carbonated expresso beverage, made with cane sugar. It's much better than any bottled Starbucks drink, with a much purer coffee flavor. It certainly gives you a boost.

And how can anyone resist the label below, it fascinated me as a child.
 

Dromond

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Love this thread! Boylan's is one of my favorite sodas, have you done a review yet?
Yes I have! Here it is:

Up for consideration is Boylan Bottleworks root beer.

The label is quite plain, but the bottle itself is rather stylish. No mere glass bottle, it has an embossed design on the reverse side, and the label itself (along with the ingredient list) is painted onto the glass. I'm impressed with it and I haven't even opened the bottle yet.

I open the bottle and take a sniff. The aroma is STRONG. This does not bode well, but we shall see.

The flavor is equally strong. A very rooty taste, with strong carbonation. This is not a root beer for the faint of heart. But even with the kick it has, the flavor is not offensive. I worried from the aroma that it would have a bad aftertaste or even taste like medicine. Neither is the case here. Now here is something strange, yucca extract is listed on the ingredient list. That might explain the strong flavor.

Conclusion: Not smooth, not creamy, not sweet. But even with all that going against it, it's not bad. Someone looking for a potent root beer should be quite pleased with it.
for Boylan Bottleworks root beer.
 

ThatFatGirl

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Dromond, have you had a chance to try/review Fitz's from your neighboring state of MO? I'm not a huge rootbeer fan, but I like their offering just fine. I definitely enjoy the food there.

Also, in a previous post you mentioned something had anise flavoring rather than licorice.. isn't anise the spice that gives licorice its flavor? I love sucking on anise candies because they taste like black licorice to me.
 

Dromond

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Fitz's root beer is quite good, I do enjoy it. :)

Anise and licorice are two different spices, though anise oil is sometimes added to licorice candy for flavor. Interesting fact: people with liver disease should not eat licorice because licorice oil contains a chemical that is hepatotoxic, though a healthy liver can deal with the chemical in reasonable amounts. Anise is not toxic in any way.
 

Fuzzy

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My favorite, dry, not too sweet, really refreshing cream soda.. was discontinued back in the 90s. I've been impatiently waiting for its return:

 

Dromond

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I dug out my old review of Fitz's root beer!

A new root beer to try!

This time it's Fitz's Premium root beer. Without further ado...

Time to remove the cap and give it the sniff test. Very pleasant aroma. Reminiscent of vanilla and some sort of fruit that I'm not able to identify. This is a smell that invites drinking.

The first drink: A smooth yet complex taste, including vanilla, wintergreen, and that unidentifiable fruit flavor again. A bit sweet, but the sweetness is welcome as it comes from cane sugar rather than corn syrup. There is no aftertaste to speak off, and the carbonation is rather light.

Conclusion: A good root beer experience. It does not stand out as one of the best root beers, but it definitely has a place in my refrigerator.

for Fitz's Premium.
 

altered states

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Up for consideration is Boylan Bottleworks root beer.

...

Conclusion: Not smooth, not creamy, not sweet. But even with all that going against it, it's not bad. Someone looking for a potent root beer should be quite pleased with it.
for Boylan Bottleworks root beer.
I've tried Boylans Root Beer and Cola and I really, really disliked them. I'm not a soda fan, but I felt they were both too sweet, and totally without the bite I expect from either flavor. Worse, both sodas had an overwhelming sticky "bubblegum" taste that got in the way of what they were supposed to taste like. Rather than feeling refreshed, it felt like my mouth was coated after each sip. IBC has it all over Boylans, in my opinion.
 

altered states

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Okay, something which is hard to find outside of nyc and found really in certain neighborhoods (traditionally Italian strongholds)tri-state area is Manhattan Special, still bottled in Brooklyn since 1895. It's an carbonated expresso beverage, made with cane sugar. It's much better than any bottled Starbucks drink, with a much purer coffee flavor. It certainly gives you a boost.
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I used to live down the street from the factory (It's on Manhattan Avenue, in the ginzo section of Greenpoint). My grandmother always had a bottle in the fridge, as did many Jews of a certain age I grew up around. I hadn't had it in years and saw it in a bodega recently and decided to take a trip down memory lane. I was shocked at how unbelievably sweet it is - now I understand why they sell it in 6 oz. bottles. I don't like super-sweet stuff in general, so maybe I'm not the best guide, but I reckon you can take one of the mini-bottles and cut it by 2/3 with seltzer and have a really, really good drink that won't make your ears pop off. Also I could see doing something alcoholic with this, maybe with vodka. For people who dig soda, it's something unique and worth ordering if you're outside the pale of NYCivilization.
 
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