Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Wawa vs. Royal Farms: Convenience Store Root Beer Love Affair

During my 12-month internship near Philly I actually lived on Maryland's Chesapeake Bay in a very small harbor town.  When I first arrived there was not much more than a post office, laundry-mat, a mom & pop pizza joint, and a very run down gas station.  Soon after my arrival however, a sign was posted in a newly cleared lot in the center of this very small town that a Royal Farms Convenience Store was coming soon!!!!  I am certain I yelled for joy!!!  It was a lonely place......

It took many months for the Royal Farms to be built but as each stage was completed my excitement grew.  In the meantime I had become familiar with the many offerings that could be had in the Mid-Atlantic states as I traveled each day through Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania.  It wasn't long before I stopped in to a Wawa Convenience Store.  That was the first time I actually fell in love with a gas station.  I could not believe how amazing this "gas station" was!!!    They had things one would never dream of finding in a place they sold diesel.  Fresh fruit and vegetables prepared in to-go boxes, a self serve milk shake machine, a huge soda-fountain machine, a fresh to order deli that served some of the best hoagies in Philly, a huge assortment of fresh coffee, fresh doughnuts, and a bottled soda selection that wouldn't quit!!!!!  The staff in every Wawa was always amazingly courteous..... as if they were actually happy to help you..... let me remind you this was a GAS STATION!!!!!!  So that is when I first started "cheating" on Royal Farms..... and they hadn't even opened their doors yet!

Eventually our small town Royal Farms opened and you can bet I was one of the first in that store eating their "World Famous Fresh Chicken"!!!  They had many things that were equally positive as compared to Wawa.  In fact their bathrooms were very impressive, much more clean and they are using the newest eco-friendly technology.  Their chicken was in fact the best I had ever had from a gas station and it was fresh.... really fresh.....  they had a very high-tech car wash and provided a nice little eating area where you could actually bet on horse races..... they were virtual horse races, but horse races none the less.  But what they were not was a Wawa!!!! 
So I broke things off with Royal Farms and made a full commitment to Wawa..... it was a short lived romance but Wawa made my internship so much more peaceful..... and tasty!!!

As I departed from Philly I stopped in Royal Farms and Wawa to say my final good byes.... I grabbed a bottle of their store brand root beer and headed west......  the purpose of me sharing the story of my convenience store love affair is to acknowledge the influence my experience may have had on the following review....... :)

We have often reviewed "store brand" root beer from a variety of grocery stores around the country.  However, this was the first time that I actually found a "convenience store brand" and I found two, one in Wawa and one in Royal Farms.  I thought it would only be appropriate if they were compared together.  Since in many ways I had already compared the store themselves!!!

So Wawa Won my heart over again!!!  Just to get that out of the way from the beginning!!  The Royal Frams store brand called "RoFo Pop" came in a very unappealing 2 liter bottle as most store brands do.... it presented with very light and short lived foam, and sweet aroma that barely provided a hint of root beer extract.  The carbonation was light, very light, and color was of a light caramel tinge.  The flavor was watered down root beer..... I paid a buck and that was too much.... even for a 2 liter.    The plus was that I am pretty sure this was an American brewed root beer, probably in or near Baltimore, near the headquarters of Royal Farms.  It was root beer, there was certainly no doubting that, it was certainly a store brand, there was no doubting that either.  I would say that it wasn't even a good store brand..... most store brands get 2 frosty mugs but this did not hit that mark..... once again Royal Farms was out played by Wawa....  RoFo Pop Root Beer earned 1.5 Frosty Mugs because it did have some root beer flavor in there and it did not make me sick.....

Wawa carries their own root beer that bears their actual name and comes in a 20 oz bottle that although has that "generic" "store brand" look they at least added some nice art work which included a couple full frosty mugs of their brew with foam flowing freely over the edge.  For the same price as RoFo I got much less brew but the aroma I was initially presented with convinced me quickly that this was money well spent.  The smell of root beer extract filled the air and although the color was not any darker than its peer I knew there was something better inside.  The carbonation was slightly heavier which was evident from the full head of foam that lasted a moderate amount of time in my frosty mug.  The flavor was exactly what one would hope for from a store brand, sweet and solid root beer flavor, no real frills, but a solid brew for the price.  My one concern as I approached this root beer was three words printed on the label... "Product of Canada".... to my knowledge I have never enjoyed or heard of a Canada brew.... at least not root beer brew..... but they have laid at rest any fears I ever had.  If our North American neighbors in Canada can make this level of quality in a store brand I am very hopeful for their more premium efforts!!!  As I mentioned Wawa won my heart over once again..... I will miss Wawa..... their slogan is "Gotta Have My Wawa" and I AGREE!!!!!!   The couple of frosty mugs on the bottle were very appropriate as Wawa Root Beer earned 2 Frosty Mugs....... xxxoooxxxooo I will never forget you Wawa!!!!


check out Wawa www.wawa.com
check out Royal Farms www.royalfarms.com

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Was this small town called Cecilton?