Saturday, March 7, 2015

Stewart's root beer

Background information: (from the website): "In 1924, Frank Stewart set out to develop the world's best-tasting root beer which he intended to sell in order to supplement his income as a schoolteacher. With the secret recipes in hand, he soon opened his first Stewart's Drive-In where he served ice-cold Stewart's Root Beer in tall, frosty mugs. The creamy taste of Stewart's Root Beer was an instant success and has been enjoyed by consumers for over 75 years!

For the first 66 years, Stewart's Root Beer was only available at Stewart's root beer stands and later, at Stewart's Drive-Ins. In 1990, Cable Car Beverage Corporation acquired the bottling rights for Stewart's and began selling Stewart's Root Beer in 12 oz. amber glass bottles."

Product details: 12 fl. oz.  Bottled under the authority of Stewart's Beverages LLC, Rye Brook, NY 10573.  160 calories, 41g sugar. Glass bottle with twist off top.

Ingredients: Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Caramel Color, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Sodium Benzoate (a preservative), Citric Acid, Quillaia Extract, Gum Acacia, Yucca Extract.

My thoughts: With a nice, appealing rootiness up front, Stewart's makes it known that they're going for the classic root beer taste.  Alongside the sassafras, there is a pleasant vanilla sensation, with hints of other spices just beneath the surface.

The aftertaste fades quickly, but leaves a little more vanilla glimmer behind.  I do have to admit that I'm recovering from a cold and am at the tail end of it, but my sense of taste may be somewhat impaired still, so some of the intricacies may be lost on my palate.  Sweetness is satisfactory, with just the right amount to give the beverage it's needed boost, but not enough to leave an overly-sugary residue in my mouth.

Carbonation is spot on.  Many root beers tend to lose some of their effervescence as I reach the bottom of the bottle, but this one held strong up through the end.  The bubbles seem to foam up just right as I drink it (likely due to the quillaia extract), making it a nice smooth, creamy drink.

With so many things going right, how could I not put this towards the top?  Well, it seems that Stewart's played it a bit too safe in the flavor department.  It has a good taste, but doesn't try to do anything special, making it blend in a bit with the rest of the root beers.  It just needs a little extra spark to set it apart from the pack.  I'm quite pleased with this root beer and certainly wouldn't have any problem adding it into my rotation of root beers to drink on a normal basis.  But when I want to reach for that root beer that has a little extra something special, this probably wouldn't be my choice.

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

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