Monday, October 22, 2012

Red Arrow root beer

Background information: (from the website) "Red Arrow Root Beer originated in Michigan and known for it's authentic root beer flavor. Made with hints of wintergreen and licorice and a spice kick to pull the full flavor together. Folklore says the brand was a tribute to the Red Arrow Brigade. Red Arrow Root Beer is bottled at our retro soda facility in Mukilteo, WA, 12 - 12 oz. glass bottle sodas."

(from the bottle) "Red Arrow Root Beer from Michigan, known for authentic root beer flavor.  Folklore says the brand was a tribute to the Red Arrow Brigade."

Product details: 12 fl. oz.  Bottled by & under the authority of Orca Beverage Soda Works, Mukilteo, WA 98275.  160 calories, 43g sugar.  Glass bottle with twist off top. MFG DATE 052112

Ingredients: Carbonated water, cane sugar, natural and artificial flavors, caramel color, phosphoric acid, extract of wintergreen and licorice, sodium benzoate (a preservative).

My thoughts: Like any good root beer, Red Arrow tastes like root beer.  The advantage it holds is that there is a definite commingling of flavors, giving it a slightly above average complexity.  As the aftertaste kicks in, these other flavors become more apparent, resolving into a minty, licorice flavor.  These flavors are pretty forward, for better or worse, as they are a bit too strong for my sensibilities.  While I prefer this aftertaste to the usual store-brand, no spice-flavor taste that many cheap sodas use, it could stand to be dialed back just a little bit.  My mouth felt like I had just chewed some mint gum and toothpaste after I was done drinking, but without the refreshing clean feeling those two give (probably because this is full of sugar).  The carbonation is decent, though slightly flat.  It could use just a little more kick in that department.  Of course, the lowered carbonation lends to added smoothness, keeping it from feeling too harsh and also avoiding the dreaded 'soda water flavor'.  Sweetness isn't terrible, but along with the overpowering aftertaste, could probably stand to tone it down just a notch or two.  Overall, it could use a little tweaking of proportions to get it from overbearing to just right.

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

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