Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Virgil's Special Edition Bavarian Nutmeg root beer

Background information: (from the website): "This Special Edition of Virgil’s Bavarian Nutmeg is imported from Bavaria and produced with swing-top pint size bottles. Virgil’s is a gourmet root beer. We’re what Ben and Jerry’s is to ice cream, what Dom Perignon is to champagne.

We’re a micro-brewed root beer made with all-natural ingredients. We use herbs imported from around the world and unbleached pure cane sugar.

Virgil’s Microbrewed Root Beer contains these key all-natural ingredients:

  • carbonated water
  • unbleached cane sugar

  • Along with these natural herbs and spices (including point of origin):

  • anise from Spain
  • licorice from France
  • vanilla (bourbon) from Madagascar
  • cinnamon from Ceylon
  • clove from Indonesia
  • wintergreen from China
  • sweet birch from the southern US
  • molasses from the US
  • nutmeg from Indonesia
  • pimento berry oil from Jamaica
  • balsam oil from Peru
  • cassia oil from China

  • Gluten Free. No Preservatives, No Caffeine, No GMO’s, and No artificial anything! Some root beers claim to be “cold-brewed”. This is merely another term for the filtering process that yields common soda. Even so-called premium root beers like Stewarts, IBC and Weinhard’s are not hand crafted brews like Virgil’s. Only Virgil’s Microbrewed Root Beer is truly “brewed”."

    (from the bottle): "Virgil's is a superb blend of spices and herbs gathered from the world over; anise, licorice, vanilla, cinnamon, clove, wintergreen, sweet birch, molasses, nutmeg, pimento berry oil, balsam oil and cassia oil."

    Product details: 16.9 fl. oz.  REED's Inc, L.A., CA 90061. (800) 99-REEDS.   214 calories, 28g sugar. Glass bottle with lever activated rubber-stopper top.  http://www.virgils.com

    Ingredients: Purified carbonated water, cane sugar, natural flavors, citric acid, herbs and spices.

    My thoughts: This is a big bottle of root beer (16.9 oz vs 12 oz).  And the ingenious sealing mechanism for the lid is fun.  But does that translate to a good root beer?  Read on.

    This is a hearty root beer.  There is a nice strong rooty flavor right off the bat, but mixed in is a very noticeable note of licorice or anise.  I like to taste my root beers before looking at the ingredient list, so as to not alter my perceptions by anticipating certain flavors.  So I was happy to see that my tongue wasn't lying and both licorice and anise were on the menu.  The aftertaste has lingering licorice/anise as well, but the vanilla makes itself known and, while the ingredients say it has wintergreen, I didn't notice it until reading the label and sampling it once again, as the wintergreen is extremely subtle.  There are a few other spices listed, but none of them made themselves known to my tastebuds in any distinguishing manner.

    This drink goes down nice and smooth.  The mix of spices makes it soothing and the moderate amount of under-carbonation certainly helps in this aspect, but I would certainly trade some of the smoothness for a bit more carbonation bite.  Sugar-wise, I'm quite pleased with this root beer.  It may be ever so slightly too sweet, but nothing that detracts too much from the enjoyement.

    Overall, a pretty good root beer.  I didn't notice the nutmeg contributing much, despite the prominence on the bottle.  Maybe I just got a bottle that was a little flat, but it could certainly use some help in the carbonation department and would make this a much better root beer overall.  The score is mostly saved by the mix of spices, though the licorice/anise could be toned down a notch or two.

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

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