Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Olde Brooklyn Williamsburg root beer

Background information: (from the website) "Our story dates back to 1871. Ulysses S. Grant was president, Jesse James was robbing banks, and Mrs. O'Leary's cow kicked over a lantern and managed to burn down much of Chicago. Yes, those were tempestuous times. And not far away, in Waukesha, Wisconsin, pharmacist H.M. Colver had formed the White Rock Company to sell local spring water that the Potawatomi Indian tribe believed had special medicinal powers.

In 1952, Alfred Morgan, then president of White Rock and grandson of the founder of Morgan Beverages (est. 1858), purchased White Rock. For five generations since, our family has proudly crafted and bottled high-quality beverage products right here in the United States.

White Rock is a trusted brand with a stellar reputation for purity, integrity, flavor and value --a brand as American as the spring from which White Rock originally flowed. In fact, countless American families (maybe even yours!) have come of age hosting and toasting with White Rock mixers and soft drinks. And the reason, quite frankly, is simple: taste.

If you've never tasted White Rock beverages, get hold of one and give us a try. And if you've grown up drinking White Rock at home, and maybe you haven't had one in a while, it's time you relived taht memorable flavor your taste buds have been missing -- and craving."

Product details: 12 fl. oz.  Bottled under the authority of White Rock Products Corp, Whitestone, NY 11357. 180 calories, 43g sugar.  Glass bottle with twist off top.  http://www.whiterockbeverages.com/

Ingredients: Triple filtered carbonated water, pure cane sugar, natural and artificial flavor, caramel color, sodium benzoate (as a preservative), citric acid.

My thoughts: Good olde Brooklyn, home to the hipster elite and their ever demanding ways. These people demand that everything be superior to what the rest of us ordinary plebs. Does this root beer deliver on it's haughty ambitions, or is it an impostor, unable to pull off the skinny jeans and meticulously groomed facial hair?

My initial reaction is positive. I like how this stuff tastes. The rooty sassafras is quite pleasant, leaning more towards a natural flavor and not super artificial. There is a strong vanilla component to it. As the flavor fades away, I'm left with a cooling, mint-like sensation, but I don't necessarily taste and mint flavor. It also seems a bit fruity, reminding me of artificial cherry flavor. Making my way through the bottle, however, the drink seems to lose some of its flavor, becoming weaker the more I drink. Another odd sensation is that the aftertaste leaves a sensation on my tongue similar to that when I eat a Popsicle and lick the wooden stick.

Sweetness is pretty good, though could stand to be reduced just a little bit. This drink is nice and smooth and seems to have a decent creaminess to it. The carbonation starts off strong, offering just about the perfect balance. By midway through the bottle, it's lost some of its bite, but still decent.

Well, at first glance this seems like it's the perfect hipster embodiment. But upon closer inspection, one notices that it's kind of a poser, doing a great job of imitating what it's trying to be, but not quite pulling it off. For the less discerning hipster, they might never notice that this root beer isn't as good as it could be. But for me, I see through the admirably well orchestrated charade and can tell where it's failing. I'd happily drink this root beer again, but it falls short of the high bar set by some of its superior colleagues.

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