Product details: 12 fl. oz. Crater Lake Soda Co., Portland, Oregon 97220 USA. 160 calories, 41g sugar. Glass bottle with twist off top. http://www.craterlakesoda.com
Ingredients: Sparkling water, pure cane sugar, caramel color, natural and artificial flavors, sodium benzoate (preserves freshness), citric acid.
My thoughts: Keep Portland weird. That's one of the taglines for the city of Portland, OR, so I expect them to also keep their root beer weird. In a good way. Well, they don't exactly do that. Instead, this root beer settles for a very generic root beer flavor; strong, but not complex. It mostly delivers a general sassafras flavor, with little else. The aftertaste doesn't really offer anything additional, as the original flavor just sort of fades away. The overall taste, therefore, is just "meh".
Carbonation is some moderately weak sauce. Sure, there are some bubbles, but it feels like it's on the verge of going flat. There really isn't any foam or creaminess, so I wouldn't say it's particularly smooth, with the majority of the "smoothness" coming from the lack of carbonation. It seems a little on the sweet side, feeling a bit more sugary than it really needs to be.
What a letdown. This drink does a couple things okay, but also a few things less well than average. I was hoping they had managed to bottle up some of Portland's weirdness, but instead they delivered a bottle of indifferent "whatever". If you're looking for an average or better root beer, look elsewhere. While it isn't a gross drink, it doesn't really do anything particularly well and there are better root beers for less money.