Saturday, May 10, 2014

Old Town root beer

Background information: (from the website): "Here at Old Town Root Beer Company We have over 500 Sodas in glass bottles...all ice cold and ready to go...our Root Beer Floats will really hit the spot on any day!!  We are family owned and operated since 2000. Come in and enjoy a taste of the past and try our very own Micro Brewed Root Beer!!"

*note: website listed on bottle says .com, but actual website is .net

Product details: 12 fl. oz.  Old Town Rootbeer Co. Temecula, San Diego, Barstow, Chicago, Branson and a city near you! ? calories, ?g sugar. (no health info on bottle) Glass bottle with twist off top.

Ingredients: Carbonated Water, Cane Sugar, Honey, Natural and other Flavors, Sodium Benzoate (preserves freshness), Phosphoric Acid, Real Vanilla.

My thoughts: Judging from the size of the root beer collection at their location in Temecula ("Over 100 Choices!" according to their website), I'd assume that if Old Town Rootbeer Co. was going to craft their own root beer, it would be something special.  How could connoisseurs such as the fine owners of this establishment create anything mediocre?

Happily, I can report that this is a really good, bordering on great root beer.  First of all, this doesn't taste like a boring old root beer extract.  There are various spices at work here, and there is a nice rooty flavor and the spices are subtle, and so well blended, that it is hard to single out any one flavor.  This complexity is quite appealing.  As the delicious nectar finishes the journey in my mouth, I'm left with a pleasing hint of wintergreen, anise, and the slightest touch of vanilla.  Sweetness is spot on, perhaps due to the combo of cane sugar and honey; it leaves no overly sugary coating feeling in my mouth.

Is it perfect?  Not quite.  While smooth and creamy, I think the carbonation could use about 10% more fizziness to it.  And...well, dang... I can't think of any other glaring deficiencies that need to be addressed.  But for some reason, despite all this has going for it, the numbers just don't add up.  It has all these qualities that I love in a root beer, but for some reason the overall package just doesn't blow me away.  Looking at the numbers, this should be an "A" soda, yet I feel that it isn't quite there.  I can't really explain why, as the root beer is tasty, but it doesn't "Wow!" me for some reason.  This is a good root beer that I'll be happy to make room for in the future, but hopefully it resonates with me a bit more, as I feel that I should like it even better than my grade suggests.  Looking at their Facebook page, it also appears that they have two additional root beer products I need to try: D-n-A (sweeter w/ honey) and Rt. 66 (spicier with cinnamon).

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

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