Thursday, October 30, 2014

Teddy's root beer

Background information: (from the internet): "Unique Beverage Company, LLC manufactures and distributes non alcoholic beverages. The company offers refreshing drinks, flavoured drinks and energy drinks. The company markets its products under the Cascade Ice, Teddy’s Root Beer and Wired Energy Drinks brands. Unique Beverage Company, LLC was founded in 2001 and is based in Everett, Washington."

*note: I pulled this description from an internet search because the website is pretty much useless, with no real information.

(from the bottle): "Root Beer has been an American Classic since the late 1800's.  First used for medicinal purposes, Root Beer is now enjoyed as a soft drink or as the main ingredient in Root Beer floats.  Teddy's is a hand crafted, traditionally rich and creamy Root Beer, made from only the finest ingredients.  We know you will love Teddy's classic Root Beer."

Product details: 26 fl. oz.  Unique Beverage Company, LLC., Everett, WA 98213.  288 calories, 70g sugar. Plastic bottle with twist off top.

Ingredients: Carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, caramel color, natural and artificial flavor, sodium benzoate (preservative), phosphoric acid, sucralose, Ace K.

My thoughts: After my previous unpleasant root beer experience, I decided to try something a bit different from usual.  Instead of the usual glass-bottled variety, I opted to try a cheap grocery store root beer that comes in a plastic bottle.  At the very least, I figured it couldn't be any worse than the last.  Also, unlike the typical 12 oz in a bottle, this one come with a whopping 26 oz.

Seeing as how it isn't a very fancy looking soda, I had low expectations.  Unscrewing the lid off, I was greeted with a root beer candy smell.  Not a particularly good sign.  The flavor matched the smell exactly.  It had a very strong root beer taste, but it was a very artificial taste.  There were no hints of other spices or flavors other than an overbearing wintergreen.  The aftertaste brought me more of the same wintergreen mint flavor.

Carbonation is pretty poor.  It runs flat.  Sugar-wise, it's sweet, but not too terrible.  Pretty much what I've come to expect from a generic grocery store root beer.  I couldn't detect any of the sucralose taste, something I'm usually able to suss out.  It seems smooth enough, helped in part by the lack of effervescence.

Nothing special here folks, so move along.  This root beer doesn't do anything particularly well, but at the same time it also doesn't completely fail.  I wouldn't buy this again, as I can find slightly better generic root beer in bulk for cheaper.

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

Friday, October 24, 2014

So Duh! Rockin' root beer

Background information: (from the website): "Established in 2009 Hermitage Brewing Company is located in San Jose."

"Hermitage started when Tied House closed down its iconic downtown San Jose location in mid-2009. All the brewing equipment was transferred down the road to South 7th Street, where Hermitage is today. Hermitage soon added a bottling line, complete with disco ball and audio of ABBA’s greatest hits, which automatically starts when the bottling line is turned on."

"Along with producing its own label of small batch beers, Hermitage contracts with beer and soda clients to produce their products. Hermitage is regarded as a professional and reliable go-to contract brewer for many regional and state brewers."

*note: while the Hermitage Brewing site goes into lots of detail regarding their various alcoholic beverages, there is barely a mention of their soda offerings

(from the bottle): ""Duh" means many things to many people; an airport code in Ohio, a punk rock band.  To us, So Duh!, means - "isn't it painfully obvious this is a delicious craft soda made in small batches with quality ingredients & pure came sugar."

"So - if any asks, "is that soda good?", we hope you'll say Duh!"

Product details: 12 fl. oz.  Hermitage Brewing Co., (650) 965-2739.  ? calories, ?g sugar. Glass bottle with non-twist off top.

Ingredients: Carbonated Water, Cane Sugar, Alfalfa Honey, Natural Flavors, Sodium Benzoate, Phosphoric Acid, Natural Vanilla.

My thoughts: I'm wasn't particularly sure if "So, Duh!" is supposed to be a joke, or an accurate depiction of the intellect of the clientele that would enjoy consuming this beverage.  Combined with the absence of any nutritional information, I feel they are trying to hide something.  My first taste confirms this suspicion.  Uggghhh.  This stuff is terrible.

There is a strong molasses flavor, with a very, very slight hint of rootiness.  But not impressive at all.  That quickly turns into an aftertaste comprising of a few other flavors.  Honey is noticeable, and I actually like that part.  But it also leaves a flavor that vaguely reminds me of beef jerky.  I like beef jerky.  I do not like my root beer to taste like beef jerky.  By the end of the bottle, however, there must have been some accumulation at the bottom of flavor that made me bump up my aftertaste score, as it not only tasted moderately pleasant but also leaving a creamy texture behind.

While the honey sweetness is initially nice, the subsequent thick sugary coating in my mouth is a bit too much.  Carbonation is terrible, among the worst I've had.  It's almost entirely flat.  Sure, that makes it smoother, but it lacks the refinement to really be considered smooth, and I also count frothiness as part of that criteria, which is also absent (probably because it lacks carbonation).

"So, Duh!"  This is probably the most intelligent phrase you're likely to hear out of the mouth of anyone who likes this drink.  The bottle claims "Soda with an Attitude."  The only attitude I have now is a bad attitude because they tricked me into buying this awful swill.

Rating: F+
flavor: F+
aftertaste: D
sweetness: D
smoothness: D
carbonation: F