Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Crooked Oak root beer

Background information: The website, as I've noticed with many other root beer/soda sites, is pretty much pointless. This one has no information at all about the product and instead focuses on the feel they're trying to invoke, with a picket fenced house and rolling fields of green grass. Completely useless in learning more about the drinks they sell.

(from the bottle) "The contents of this bottle are crafted using a traditional recipe and original technique to create its unique and refreshing flavor experience."

Product details: 12 fl. oz.  Created by the fine people at Columbus Brands, Los Angeles, CA 90640 150 calories, 45g sugar.  Glass bottle with twist off top.

Ingredients: Carbonated water, sugar, caramel color, citric acid, sodium benzoate, natural flavors.

My thoughts: The bottle adorned with buzzwords such as "handcrafted", "single batch", and "limited production", I have lofty expectations for this particular root beer. It sounds very fancy, but was this merely an exercise in marketing gone wild, or do the contents live up to the bravado of the label? Tune in next time, in the next paragraph where all will be revealed!

One thing is for certain, this isn't a generic root beer. It's definitely a root beer and exhibits the expected sassafras flavor, but there is a nice mixture of spices floating in there as well. It a very harmonious blend, with all the flavors meshing together to make it hard to pick out the individual flavors. I can't quite figure out what all I'm tasting and, judging by the three completely different sets of flavors picked out by other reviewers, there is no consensus from them either. I don't think I've ever had such a hard time picking out individual spices. Suffice it to say, there is a hint of sourness to it (extremely subtle) and maybe the barest hint of wintergreen in the aftertaste. Overall, it has a very natural feel to the flavor.

Sweetness is well regulated, leaving a slightly less than average sugary feeling behind. This drink is extremely smooth, though could stand to be a little more creamy. I think the smoothness is a combination of the flavor as well as the very non-aggressive carbonation. The bubbles seem small, though they do a pretty good job of keeping the drink carbonated, but I personally prefer just a bit more bite out of my carbonation.

While this drink does a lot right (very natural tasting, interesting blend of spices, good sweetness), I feel that the flavor could use a little more separation and that the carbonation could be more aggressive. Back to the label jargon, I think this root beer has the traits I'd expect from such descriptors. This is a really good root beer that I don't hesitate to recommend, but it just missed the cut from the very best tier of root beers.

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

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