Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Ozark Mountain Lemonade

I had one more soda to try from my Ozark Mountain stash. It was pink lemonade:

Ozark Mountain Lemonade

I've had "lemonade soda" once before, and I remember it being OK. This was pretty fantastic.

Brand: Ozark Mountain Lemonade.

Origin: Branson, Missouri.

Purchase Place: Online.

Sweetener: Sugar.

Review: This had a good lemon kick, but it was also quite sugary. This was REALLY good. As I told me wife, "this would be good in the summer... with a little vodka... sitting in Aunt Jen's backyard on Lake Minnetonka." She really agreed with that statement. It was really sweet with a kick of lemon. It just tasted like summer. This is one of my favorite Ozark Mountain Sodas (along with their Root Beer).

Score: 9 out of 10.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Boylan Root Beer

This has been one I've been wanting to try for a while...

Boylan Root Beer 4-pack

Boylan Root Beer

Brand: Boylan Bottling Co. Root Beer.

Origin: Teterboro, New Jersey.

Purchase Place: Lunds Grocery Store, St. Paul (Highland Park), MN.

Sweetener: Cane Sugar.

Review: Honestly, I don't know. I didn't get a strong feeling either way with this root beer. It had a little anise, but not too much for my taste. It was fine, but it wasn't great. I'll have to crack into another one of the 4-pack and report back to see if I can nail down the flavor and my thoughts on it. So for now, I'm giving it a 5. And like I said in my recent post about Vigil's Root Beer, I'll post back when I try it again.

Score: 5 out of 10.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Ozark Mountain Cream

This is pink. I tend to like pinkish-redish drinks.

Ozark Mountain Cream

The flavor is hard to perfectly describe. It's like cream soda, but without the "soda." And with a little more of a "berry" flavor, but not really berry-ie.

I couldn't put my finger on it, so I asked my wife to try it. She liked it, and said "Oh, it's a little like cotton candy!" THAT'S the flavor I couldn't describe! She was right - there was a hit of cotton candy. It's like a smooth cream-soda-cotton-candy hybrid.

Brand: Ozark Mountain Bottleworks Cream.

Origin: Branson, Missouri.

Purchase Place: "Minnesota's Largest Candy Store," Jordan, MN.

Sweetener: Sugar.

Review: It's sugary, creamy, and pretty good. There's a slight sharpness in the initial aftertaste that is about it's only downside. It has good flavor, and a sweet long-lasting aftertaste. Creamy, smooth, and something I've never really tasted before.

Score: 7.5 out of 10.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Virgil's Root Beer

I was strolling the aisles of Kowalski's last week, and I stumbled upon this:

Virgil's Real Cola, Cream Soda, and Root Beer.

I had some Virgil's Root Beer a few years ago, and I remember liking it quite a bit. Time to try it out again.

Virgil's Root Beer

Virgil's brags that it's actually "brewed," and not just "cold-brewed" like most soda.

And the ingredients list is HUGE. It contains anise from Spain, licorice from France, vanilla (bourbon) from Madagascar, cinnamon from Ceylon, clove from Indonesia, wintergreen from China, sweet birch from the southern US, molasses from the US, nutmeg from Indonesia, pimento berry oil from Jamaica, balsam oil from Peru, and cassia oil from China.

But how does it TASTE?

Brand: Virgil's Root Beer.

Origin: Los Angeles, California.

Purchase Place: Kowalski's Market, St. Paul, MN.

Sweetener: Unbleached Cane Sugar.

Review: It was good. But it wasn't as fantastic as I remember. It was SUPER creamy, but it was just missing a little something. I'll have to report back when I try another bottle to see if I can figure this out a bit more. For right now, I'm calling this "very average."

Score: 5 out of 10.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Ozark Mountain Orange Cream Soda

I've had Orange Cream soda once before. It sounded gross (I mean... "orange cream?!... nasty!), but my first bottle was REALLY good. I was hooked.

Yesterday, it was time to try some Ozark Mountain Orange Cream.

Ozark Mountain Orange Cream

Brand: Ozark Mountain Orange Cream.

Origin: Branson, Missouri.

Purchase Place: Online.

Sweetener: Sugar.

Review: This had a good Orange Cream taste, but it wasn't quite as "creamy" as I'd like. It had a little sharpness that took away from the creaminess. It had a good flavor, but just a little too much of a kick.

Score: 6 out of 10.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Ozark Mountain Bottleworks Grape Pop

So I cracked into my "Ozark Mountain" stash last night. I'm a sucker for Grape soda, so that's where I started:

Ozark Mountain Bottleworks Grape Pop
Sitting in our 10.5 inches of new snow.

Brand: Ozark Mountain Bottleworks Grape Pop.

Origin: Branson, Missouri.

Purchase Place: Online.

Sweetener: Sugar.

Review: It reminds me a lot of Grape Faygo, but it's less syrupy. But I LIKE syrupy. I thought Grape Faygo was a bit better, but my wife thought Ozark Mountain Grape Pop was better. I have 3 more bottles of OM Grape, so I'll have to get a bottle of Faygo and do a side-by-side taste test (stay tuned for that). It's GOOD, but because my initial thought was that Faygo was a bit better, I'm giving it a half point less than my Faygo review.

Score: 7 out of 10.

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Surprise In The Mail!

I got a little surprise last week. Someone from Ozark Mountain Bottleworks saw my review of their Root Beer last month. And they wanted to send me some of their other flavors to try!! (My one complaint that I noted in my review of their root beer was that if you wanted to purchase individual flavors directly from them, you'd have to buy an entire case of 1 flavor.)

We e-mailed back-and-forth last Tuesday, and a big box appeared on my porch 2 days later:

Ozark Mountain Bottleworks
Opened up, with the four "4-packs" folded on top.

Ozark Mountain Bottleworks
Underneath, there were 4 bottles of 4 different kinds of soda (plus a bonus Root Beer in the upper left).

Ozark Mountain Bottleworks
Ozark Mountain Root Beer, Grape Pop, Lemonade, Cream, and Orange Cream.

Ozark Mountain Bottleworks
Sodas and the box they came in.

It turns out, Ozark Mountain Bottleworks is a super small company. Chris (the guy who e-mailed me) said the company is just him, his wife, and his Mother-in-Law. And sure enough, I found a photo on their Facebook page wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving a few weeks ago, and it shows the 3 of them:

The people at Ozark Mountain Bottleworks

So THANKS, you 3 wonderful people from Ozark Mountain! That was TOO KIND of you!

I have a bottle of their Grape Pop and their Orange Cream in the fridge, and I plan to crack into one of them tonight. Stay tuned for my thoughts on their sodas!

Check out the Ozark Mountain Bottlework website.  And "like" them on Facebook.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Frostop Premium Root Beer

Friday night, my wife and I got Thai take-out, rented a movie, and pulled out some frosty Frostop Root Beer:

Frostop Diet and Regular Premium Root Beer
Diet and Regular

We first tried the diet. And then we immediately cracked into the "regular." We wanted to do a side-by-side taste test. As it turns out, the regular was a bit better than the diet, but neither were that fantastic.

Brand: Frostop Premium Root Beer

Origin: Columbus, Ohio.

Purchase Place: Lunds Grocery Store, St. Paul (Highland Park), MN.

Sweetener: "Sugar and/or Corn Sweeteners."  (They don't know what's in it?  "AND/OR?")

Review: The very first initial taste is pretty good. But then it turns weak (almost watery), and there's a strange "chemically" aftertaste. It's pretty smooth with little bite and has a decent vanilla flavor, but my wife said it best when she said "it's just missing something." Agreed.

Score: (Regular) 5 out of 10
Score: (Diet) 4 out of 10

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Old Fashioned Killebrew Root Beer

I had to grab a strange looking bottle of "Old Fashioned Killebrew Root Beer" at Lunds last week:

Killebrew Root Beer and Cream Soda
Photo from the Killebrew Root Beer Facebook Page.

(Harmon Killebrew is a baseball legend who played for the MN Twins.  He was 2nd only to Babe Ruth in the AL in home runs!)  

I was ready for this to be horrible. I mean, how many former "big name" professional athletes lend their name to actual QUALITY products? Not many. Take for example the fantastically craptastic "Mustrash Talk" commercial featuring 5x All Star and 2x World Series Champ Keith Hernandez. I expected this root beer to taste as bad as that commercial.

Old Fashioned Killebrew Root Beer

The Killebrew Root Beer website also says you can get these at Minnesota Twins games. My new "root beer goal" is to enjoy a cold Killebrew while enjoying a Twins game in 2013.

Brand: Old Fashioned Killebrew Root Beer.

Origin: Ramsey, Minnesota. (This had BETTER be made in MN!)

Purchase Place: Lunds Grocery Store, St. Paul (Highland Park), MN.

Sweetener: High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Review: Rich and heavy (but shy of being "syrupy") with a great sweetness added by Minnesotan honey (the 3rd ingredient). It has a great combination of perfectly smooth but with some bite at the end. And the twist-top aluminum can was quite nice - I thought it could be weird. Pretty fantastic all around! Just like Harmon.

Score: 9 out of 10.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Dry Vanilla Bean Soda

Time to pull something interesting out of my dwindling stash from "Minnesota's Largest Candy Store." The brand is "Dry," and I just tried their Vanilla Bean Soda.

Dry Vanilla Bean Soda

"Dry" is right. The soda was VERY dry. But it had a good vanilla flavor. I like how they point out that there are only 4 ingredients: purified carbonated water, cane sugar, natural extract, and phosphoric acid. Their website has other "Dry" sodas listed, and they note what their sodas pair well with. I'd be willing to try some of their other flavors, which are all a bit "odd:" wild lime, blood orange, cucumber, rhubarb, etc.

Brand: Dry Vanilla Bean Soda.

Origin: Seattle, Washington.

Purchase Place: "Minnesota's Largest Candy Store," Jordan, MN.

Sweetener: Cane Sugar.

Review: Honestly, a bit too dry for my taste. The vanilla bean flavor was great, but I actually wanted the soda to be sweeter (but that sort of goes against "dry," so I don't know what I was hoping for). It was OK, it was unique, but it wasn't fantastic.

Score: 4 out of 10.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Spring Grove Root Beer

This was the root beer that really kick-started my (current) love for root beer. I hadn't had it for over 6 months, so I didn't know if I had just over-hyped it in my head since then. So I got out my last bottle (from my big "Spring Grove Soda" purchase) a few days ago.

Spring Grove Soda Root Beer

It's got a lot of head. When I set it down, it nearly foamed over. And then it stayed like this for a few minutes:

Brand: Spring Grove Soda Pop Root Beer.

Origin: Spring Grove, Minnesota.

Purchase Place:

Sweetener: Pure Cane Sugar.

Review: It's heady, earthy, smooth, and has a little bite. There's a nice subtle vanilla flavor too. The only down-side for me is that there's just a HINT too much anise (I'm not an anise fan, which is too bad because it's used a lot in root beer). I can't outright say it's my favorite of all time, but it's up near the top.

Score: 8.5 out of 10.

(Side note: Spring Grove Soda is great.  Check out their website and order an assorted case!)