Saturday, January 28, 2012

Super Chill Root Beer: not the best way to chill

I grabbed this store brand at a grocery store in Philly but I have since seen this same brand all across the country.  I approached this review with very little expectations, despite the sweet “Tron”-like looking contemporary label.  Which I must say was a little fancy pants for a generic root beer.  So I “chilled” this 2-liter and gave it the proper ado regardless of my quick stereotypical judgment.  My first impression only reinforced my bias with the presentation of very limited foam, not thick in any sense, and it quickly dissolved before my first sip.  The carbonation was moderate, typical of store brands, but fell flat in flavor.  No creaminess like the standard, very light on root beer extract, but somehow it pulled off a slight bite.  I could barely tell that I was drinking root beer until that bite which was a very needed reminder.  It was similar in darkness as the standard and it was certainly much cheaper.  But overall really not a brew that I would turn to for an economic, mass food service situation, root beer option.  Truly, it won’t make you blow chunks, but given the option between spending a few bucks on Super Chill Root Beer and serving free tap water…… I would choose the tap water. 1.5 Frosty Mugs
-Adam

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Barq's Root Beer Float Icee... the wave of the Rootbeer Future

What started as a practical innovation at a Dairy Queen soon became the future of cold soda.... the Icee story is certainly an excellent example of what "out of the bottle" thinking will get you.  A guy named Omar owned a Dairy Queen franchise but didn't have the funds to buy a soda fountain machine....so he just kept the soda in his freezer with the ice cream.  His customers thought it was pretty neat that his soda was a little icey and the rest is history.

Omar's innovation occurred back in the 1950's but it wasn't until now that his invention of the Icee was truly improved upon.... the most recent flavor addition has been Barq's Root Beer Float!!!!  This flavor has been spotted most recently in Target stores at their snack bar.  If your Target is behind the times simply ask the snack bar manager to get up to speed..... they are very responsive.... especially when root beer is involved :)  Enjoy one of the best things that happened to soda since Omar froze those bottle of pop back in the 50's.... tell em that The Rootbeer Brothers said Thank You!!!!!!

to learn more about Icee go to: www.icee.com
to learn more about Target go to: www.target.com
to leanr more about Barq's Olde Tyme Root Beer go to: www.barqs.com

Monday, January 23, 2012

Old Town Root Beer Review


Ok.  Here it is January 23, 2012 in Ohio and 40 plus degrees.  What a better way to celebrate than to pop open a cold brew for a review.  I picked Old Town Root Beer.  This brew didn’t have the typical twist off cap but from my last review when I tore my skin off I knew better this time.  Anyway, this brew has been my fridge for about 6 months and was given to me by Brother Adam. 
I always try to research the brew but when I went to the website from the label it was in Chinese but definitely not a root beer website.  As I Goggled it, I found that they have a Facebook page.  They have 431 like so far.  More research I found they must have gotten a new domain.  It’s oldtownrootbeercompany.com based in Temecula, CA.  The website needs some work but I’m not here to judge their site, just their root beer.
I like micro-brewed root beers better than most mass produced brews.  This one didn’t disappoint.  At first pop there was a slight pressure release and fizz.  At first pour the head was very light in my frosty mug.  The aroma was light but nice.  Cane sugar and honey is a plus in my book and the label touted both.  The flavor of the root beer came through but compared to A&W, our standard, it was much lighter in flavor, not as sweet and did have a nice bite.  I did taste the honey and vanilla.  The color was a nice dark much like A&W.  All in all this was a good brew.  I’d like to taste a fresh one just a few days old.  


I would definitely keep this in stock in my fridge.  Not sure about the price but this brew came from the World Market with a price tag that said $1.49.  Cheap in my book!  I’m going to have to give this brew a good 3.5 frosty mugs.  Good job Old Town!  Keep up the good brew!

~Marc

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!!!!

-Adam

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

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Victory in 2012!


Official Logo

Had a long day at work, got home and the wife had toilet seat in her hand and said, here change this!!  AAHHHGGGHH!  Dinner first, TV next and then the toilet task.  Job well done.  A reward for myself.  Some frosty root beer.
 This is my first review of 2012 so I chose the Victory brand to review to symbolize the victory of surviving another year and getting another year older.  I forget how old I am now.  I think 29??

Anyway, off to the review!  First of all I tried to twist this cap off for a few seconds then realized one of two things.  Either it isn’t a twist-off or I’m really a wimp!  Nonetheless, I used a bottle opener to get at the frosty goodness.  I later found out that they sell $5 bottle openers at their website.  Hmmm.  Good marketing strategy????   At first pop there was a nice carbonation “pop” as expected, the color was good and dark.  The bottle is dark brown and matches the brew color.  The first pour into my Steeler frozen, frosty mug produced a nice foamy head.  About an inch or so high and holding longer than expected.  The aroma was that of typical root beer with no surprises.  The taste was very similar to that of my A&W but with a harder bite and not as sweet.  The flavor overall was very good.  There are several root beer brewers in Pennsylvania and I think that Victory can definitely be worthy of brewing the frosty goodness in their non-alcoholic version.  Regretfully, the only thing I can find on their website about root beer was a T-Shirt for $14.  I had to dig for that.  Looks like most brewers of this kind tend to promote the “fermented” kind.  Since I don’t drink that kind I can say that I’m pleased with their root beer.  I give it 4 frosty mugs.  ½ point reduced due to the “flesh eating” top mentioned earlier.  Victory to the Victory Brewing company.

~ Marc