Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Americana root beer

Background information: (from the website) "If the name didn't already give it away, Americana, this line of retro soda flavors harkens to the simpler times of soda fountains, sock hops and 5 cent sodas. While we can't bring back the 5 cent soda, we've tried our best to recreate the taste of classic American flavors. A traditional root beer with hints of vanilla, licorice and honey. The creamy licorice undertones balance all the flavors together for a smooth creamy addition to your root beer favorites. Made with pure cane sugar and bottled in a long neck glass bottles."

(from the bottle label) "The era of soda poppery began in the early 1900's.  Early soft drinks or "tonics" were brewed in a variety of flavors.  Our extracts and flavor ingredients are brewed to duplicate the authentic production methods of yesteryear -- we think this method creates the most flavorful soda.  Enjoy well chilled.  Cheers!"

Product details: 12 fl. oz.  Bottled by & under the authority of Orca Beverage, Mukilteo, WA 98275.  160 calories, 43g sugar.  Glass bottle with twist off top.

Ingredients: Carbonated water, cane sugar, natural & artificial flavors, caramel color, pure organic honey, extracts of licorice and sassafras root bark, citric acid, phosphoric acid.

My thoughts: Very strong, complex root beer flavor right up front.  This root beer follows the advice of Faith No More: "I swallow, I swallow, I swallow.  Be aggressive! B-e- aggressive!  B-e-a-g-g-r-e-s-s-i-v-e-!"  The sharp, aggressive flavor is nicely balanced with a soothing sweetness of cane sugar and honey, giving it a nice natural taste, but not very creamy (an attribute I like in my root beers).  Not only is it well flavored, but the liquid has excellent viscosity; neither too thin and watery nor overly thick and syrupy.  Once the initial kick recedes, a pleasant aftertaste of honey with a very subtle hint of licorice sets in.  I typically don't like licorice flavor, but this is so subtle that I actually like it.  Carbonation is dialed in just right, with the effervescence superbly matched to the strength of the flavor.  Just when everything seems to be so right, it strikes me: it isn't frothy at all.  I partially blame this omission of froth for the aforementioned lack of creaminess, as the froth helps to carry that particular attribute.  While I don't let froth factors determine the final score (as pouring it into a cold mug may significantly alter any given root beer's frothiness), it keeps this root beer from achieving the loftiest of heights possible, only flirting with greatness rather than reaching the pinnacle of perfection.

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

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