Thursday, October 18, 2012

Virgil's root beer

Background information: (from the website) "REEDS, Inc. is making extraordinary beverages and confections using very old-fashioned, natural methods and wholesome, fresh ingredients. We are a growing family of passionate entrepreneurs who have developed food and drink, which in our opinion exceed any products within their categories in taste, quality and imagination, as we are certain you noticed by now!"

(from the bottle label) "Micro brewed with 100% natural ingredients imported from all corners of the world.  Originally brewed in the north of England, Virgil's is made with natural ingredients - nutmeg, imported anise, and wintergreen.  The brewing process gives Virgil's a rich, creamy body and a taste so pure, you'll swear it's made in heaven."

(also from the bottle label) "Made Naturally, For The Root Beer Connoisseur".  Virgil's is a superb blend of spices and herbs gathered from the world over; anise, licorice, vanilla (bourbon), cinnamon, clove, wintergreen, sweet birch, molasses, nutmeg, pimento berry oil, balsam oil and cassia oil."

Product details: 12 fl. oz.  Manufactured by REED's Inc., Los Angeles, CA 90061.  160 calories, 42g sugar.  Glass bottle with twist off top.

Ingredients: Purified carbonated water; unbleached cane sugar; caramelized unrefined cane sugar; citric acid, herbs and spices!

My thoughts: A very interesting, not particularly "root beer" flavor up front that is very natural tasting, which may be in part due to their claimed "no preservatives, no caffeine and no artificial anything."  I like my root beer, however, to taste like root beer, so the initial flavor is a tad underwhelming.  This drink has a lot going on.  It is quite smooth and creamy, but part of that feel may be from the under-carbonation, leaving the drink a bit flat.  This flatness likely also contributes to the lack of froth.  The aftertaste is a bit difficult to pin down, as there are a lot of spices at work (see background information above).  While the smörgåsbord of flavors sounds exquisite in theory, in practice it fails to tantalize the tastebuds as much as I had hoped.  I can certainly detect a minutiae of wintergreen (which I like) as well as shades of licorice (which I tend to like less).  In the end, I felt that it was trying to do too much and accomplished too little.  I will admit that as I reached the end of the bottle, the flavor had grown on me a little bit more and after finishing it off, I had a mild, but pleasant 'minty' sensation in my mouth.  Perhaps if they could dial up the carbonation a little bit more, then this would be a higher caliber soda.

Rating: B-
flavor: C+
aftertaste: B
sweetness: A
smoothness: B+
carbonation: D+

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