Saturday, August 30, 2014

WBC Goose Island Chicago Style root beer

Background information: (from the website): "Chicago’s visitors are awestruck by its towering skyscrapers, iconic bridges, and breathtaking lakefront, but locals never miss a chance to enjoy one of its lesser known but equally memorable experiences…a WBC Chicago Style Root Beer. Made with 100% REAL SUGAR, naturally caffeine-free and never pasteurized, it’s unlike any of those syrupy concoctions you’ll find in an aluminum can or two liter bottle. Rich, creamy, and thick in tradition, each sip of our WBC Chicago Style Root Beer reveals a flavor as unique as the city it’s named for. Just like Chicago, we’re sure you’ll find yourself wanting to visit it again and again. Our Chicago-made brew is still made with the original recipe."

"While drinking a bottle you’ll notice the vanilla notes up front and wonder what familiar taste you’re getting at the end. The wintergreen finish will cause you to reach for that second bottle. Maybe pour it over some vanilla ice cream this time? As the line up’s first born, WBC Chicago Style Root Beer expresses its own personality with a fresh design that plays on classic Chicago iconography while making it clear who the star is in the soda line up."

Product details: 12 fl. oz.  WIT Beverage Company.  180 calories, 45g sugar. Glass bottle with twist off top.

Ingredients: Triple filtered carbonated water, cane sugar, natural and artificial flavor, caramel color, sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate as preservatives and citric acid.

My thoughts: While on a trip to Chicago, my friends introduced me to this root beer, which they had bought two cases of.  Seeing as how they have good taste, I had high expectations for this root beer.  Fortunately, I was not disappointed.

Initially, I'm greeted with a nice, hearty rooty flavor.  Not too artificial.  As promised by their website, there is a hint of vanilla.  The aftertaste fades rapidly, but a very slight wintergreen lingers behind, subtle just as it should be.

It doesn't leave too sugary of a feeling in my mouth and I'm extremely happy with the amount of carbonation, tickling a little bit but not with too much bite.  I wouldn't call this a creamy root beer, but it certainly isn't bad.

I was also a tad disappointed to discover that, despite the namesake, I could detect neither the flavor of goose (I had been hoping for a hint of hearty Dutch Emden or perhaps a smidge of delicate French Toulouse) nor the earthy tones of island flavor, or at least it had no flavor of any island that I've ever sampled in my many travels.  The lack of goose and island flavor aside, I found this to be a quite delightful beverage and would recommend it to my friends, not only in the Chicago region, but those geographically arranged elsewhere.

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

Monday, August 4, 2014

O-So Vanilla Butterscotch root beer

Background information: (from the website): "Orca Beverage was created in the 1980s by owner Mike Bourgeois while he was studying a new and emerging class of beverages called the “New Age Beverage Category” at the Albers School of Business at Seattle University. This new and exciting extension of the larger Carbonated Soft Drink category was made up of products that were alternatives to the mainstream brands that dominated the industry."

Product details: 12 fl. oz.  Orca Beverage Inc., Mukilteo, WA 98275, 425 349 5655.  170 calories, 43g sugar. Glass bottle with twist off top.

Ingredients: Carbonated Water, Cane Sugar, Natural & Artificial Flavors, Caramel Color, Vanilla Extract, Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate (a preservative).

My thoughts: I gotta say, I do like my butterscotch root beers and O-So is no exception.  It all starts with a moderate rooty taste.  There isn't a whole lot of complexity as far as the root beer flavor is concerned, seeming about average, if a bit thin.  But the aftertaste, oh the aftertaste!  That is a divine flavor!  The butterscotch has just the right amount of kick to it, with a thick, strong flavor.

With such a strong aftertaste, I would have thought it would leave a syrupy coating in my mouth, but was pleasantly surprised that not only was it not too sugary, but that the flavor dissipated just enough, leaving behind just a hint of the buttery goodness.  The carbonation is nice and strong, with a pleasing bite.  Typically, having bite to the carbonation negatively impacts the smoothness, but the rich butterscotch flavor lent a feeling of creaminess to the drink.

I debated an overall score of "B+", but the initial flavor was just a bit too weak to justify the "+".  As far as all the other attributes go, O-So is doing it right.  If they would just kick up their initial root beer flavor a notch or two, then this would certainly be in grade A territory.

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