Saturday, April 27, 2013

Root Beer Review #1: Sprecher

I've long wanted to do root beer reviews here on my blog; it is something I am fairly passionate about after all. Jacelyn would call me a root beer snob. It is true, I'm a particular drinker, and I don't like beer in general, so I've developed what I would consider a discerning taste for root beer. And it has been a rewarding pursuit, there are a surprising number of offerings other than the mainstream trio.

For a little history I would have to say that I began my exploration into the world of non-caffeinated dark sodas during my first road trip to visit my sister and her family in California. I collected as many different and unique root beer and sarsaparilla bottles as I could find. In doing so I tasted them too, and so my snobbery developed.

Today I will be reviewing a root beer that is new to me: Sprecher Fire-Brewed Root Beer. I picked it up at Sticky's Candy shop in Chilliwack, along with two others I have yet to taste. I was there for this purpose as well as to visit king Gord at the slot car track in the back, he's a LUG member and I was looking for part 30274. He had none, but I came away with three new brews.

Now to start, the first thing that I really liked about this one was the bottle. Standard twist cap, and a nice enough label, and the bottle is brand specific with the name in raised glass below the neck. But the best part is that it's a BIG bottle, 473ml (16oz.) I like that, and for this brew I think it's a good size. The logo is a little strange, a cartoony crow/lion thing popping out of a shield crest, and the name is in a definite Bavarian font despite the fact that it comes from Wisconsin.

Of course they boast the natural ingredients: "pure Wisconsin honey direct from the comb." and vanilla, and of course the new-to-me pride in being made in a gas-fired brew kettle. The label also declares that it is rated #1 by the New York Times. In what category we can only guess. But does it merit that sort of distinction?

The aroma is fairly typical of hand-made root beer, though you can smell hints of the honey they use. The head is medium as well, and dissolves quickly into mere suds. A cold mug would do better to get a taste of it, as in some root beers it is better than the drink itself. The flavour is very smooth with the perfect amount of carbonation, but compared to some other root beers it lacks the full body or deep flavour that is a sign of a true gourmet soda. There is again a hint of honey in the aftertaste(more noticeable when drinking straight from the bottle), but you would miss it if you were drinking it with a meal. It doesn't taste overly sweet either, but that is a very good thing, no caramel flavour added!

Overall I wouldn't put it in my top three, but close. Due to its smooth and light taste I would choose this root beer on a hot day when I wanted a refreshing draught, plus it's big enough to share.


At 7:56 am , Blogger Grandma J. said...

I love root beer too, but am not a connesoir (sp?) of different varieties and makes. Fun to read your review James.

At 12:37 pm , Blogger heidi said...

i remember you collecting various root beers on your solo visit and often wonder if you still enjoy them when i see unique bottles in the stores.


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