Monday, December 29, 2014

Sprecher Lo-Cal Root Beer

It was time for a big bottle of low-cal root beer:

Sprecher Lo-Cal Root Beer

Brand: Sprecher Lo-Cal Root Beer.

Origin: Glendale, WI.

Purchase Place: Menards, St. Paul, MN.

Sweetener: Glucose Syrup and Honey.

Review: This wasn't great. It would have been a decent "lo-cal" root beer if it weren't for the addition of honey as a sweetener - the honey was too sharp to this smooth diet soda. I thought it was OK overall, but my wife really didn't like it. I mentioned in my review of Sprecher Grape Soda that the honey taste doesn't go with everything (although I mentioned really liking the honey in Sprechers "regular" Root Beer).

Score: 4 out of 10.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Thomas Kemper Black Cherry

I was in the mood for some Black Cherry last night:

Thomas Kemper Black Cherry

This was my 2nd time trying a Thomas Kemper soda. The first ended really, really poorly - I shared some Thomas Kemper soda with some students of mine, and they sent me some funny (and appropriate) mini-reviews over twitter.  Check out that horrible review and their tweets here.

This Black Cherry wasn't fantastic, but it sure ranked better than their first review of mine from 2013.

Brand: Thomas Kemper Black Cherry.

Origin: Portland, OR.

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

Sweetener: Cane Sugar and Honey.

Review: Not bad. Not great, but not bad. I could really taste the honey, which didn't quite fit in a black cherry soda. The black cherry flavor and a boldness and slight sharpness to the end of it, but overall it was relatively smooth. If you're a big honey fan, maybe try this. Otherwise, I think you'll just say "Ehh… unique but just OK."

Score: 6 out of 10.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A&W Root Beer Jelly Beans

Santa came to our house already, and I got some A&W Jelly Beans in my stocking.

A&W Jelly Beans

They weren't too bad. At first bite, they're REALLY "root beery" (if I can use that as an adjective). After a second, there's a sharpness to them that is a bit artificial that reminds me of old-fashioned root beer barrel candies. But they were a decent, fun little treat from Santa. Consider stuffing some in the stockings of your root beer lover. Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Cheap Wine Reviewed By An Irish Brewmaster

OK, so this isn't "soda-related," but it's drink-related and it's pretty funny. And it features our local St. Paul brew.

Direct link:


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Big Ben's Fast Draw Sarsaparilla

I grabbed a Sarsaparilla the other night:

Big Ben's Fast Draw Sarsaparilla

Brand: Big Ben's Fast Draw Sarsaparilla.

Origin: Catawissa, PA.

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

Sweetener: Sugar and/or High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Review: There was a problem right away - there was no "hiss" and no release of carbonation when I opened this. Something happened and it wasn't sealed anymore. I drank it, I didn't die - it just had no carbonation. The flavor was good, and it had a subtle vanilla bite. I can not give this a score just yet because it wasn't carbonated, but I'd love to try it again.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Swamp Pop Noble Cane Cola

I grabbed this because I loved the label:

Swamp Pop Noble Cane Cola

Swamp Pop Label
Close-up of the label.  Nice.

Brand: Swamp Pop Noble Cane Cola.

Origin: Lafayette, Louisiana.

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

Sweetener: Cane Sugar.

Review: This was unique and GOOD from the start. It has a "deeper" flavor than colas like Coke or Pepsi (as most small-label colas tend to), but this was extra rich. It had an earthiness that wasn't too sharp - it was still very smooth, which is unusual for a strongly flavored cola. I can't put my finger on the exact flavor... maybe a BIT of a root beer flavor to it, but that's not really it. There's a fruity hint to it as well. It's interesting, and in a good way. Check it out.

Score: 8.5 out of 10.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Anchor Ginger Root Beer

I didn't know what I'd think about a "ginger root beer," but this was pretty good.

Anchor Ginger Root Beer

Brand: Anchor Ginger Root Beer.

Origin: Mukilteo, WA.

Purchase Place: Frattallones Ace Hardware, St. Paul, MN.

Sweetener: Cane Sugar.

Review: I was afraid there would be too "sharp" of a ginger bite to this, but the ginger flavor was subtle. It almost tasted like a birch beer. The root beer was pretty smooth, but the ginger added a gentle bite. For something that could have been horrible, this was quite good. It's worth a try if you're a "ginger" and a "root beer" fan.

Score: 7 out of 10.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Frostie Concord Grape Soda

The other 3 Frostie sodas I've had earned scores of 6, 6, and 6.5. I was hoping this would be decent as well:

Frostie Concord Grape Soda

Brand: Frostie Concord Grape Soda.

Origin: Detroit, MI.

Purchase Place: Frattallones Ace Hardware, St. Paul, MN.

Sweetener: High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Review: This smelled strongly of grape once I twisted off the top. And the first sip didn't disappoint. This was a deeply flavored grape soda. Classic. The long-lasting aftertaste was fantastic, but the only weird flavor was a little bit of an odd sharpness immediately after taking a sip. But that went away right away. It's probably not in my top-5 grape sodas of all time, but it's close.

Score: 8 out of 10.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Jersey Creme

This sounded interesting. It said it contained no milk or cream or dairy products, so I was wondering how "milky" this would taste. I cracked it open in my car to drink during a long drive with the boys over Thanksgiving recently:

Jersey Creme
I was not driving as I took this, so don't be pissed.

Brand: Jersey Creme.

Origin: Mukilteo, WA.

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

Sweetener: Cane Sugar.

Review: This was flat-out awful. It had a weird, almost "minty" bite to it, but it was a bit creamy like milk. That's not a good flavor combination. It needed to be more of a smooth cream, but it was harsh. Here's what their website says about it:

"Jersey Creme was originally available as flavored concenetrate used to make cream flavored products in the early 1900's. A concentrate so good, it was turned into a creme flavored beverage with the slogan 'The Perfect Drink.' The sweet creme vanilla flavor is thick, rich, and with a smooth finish. A true indulgence, it is perhaps the finest creme flavored soda ever created."

Not a "true indulgence." Not even close "the finest creme flavored soda ever created." Not "the perfect drink." Barely even drinkable. In fact, while driving for 2 hours, I didn't even finish 1/3 of this bottle (and usually I'm a sipper and could drink a LOT when stuck in a car).

Score: 2 out of 10.