Columbia Soda Works Sarsaparilla
Bottled at: Columbia, California
Purchase Location: Raley’s Supermarket
Columbia Soda Works was established in 1996 in the gold mining town of Columbia, California. Like other root beer sodas from small mining towns, Columbia Soda Works Sarsaparilla evokes the nostalgic bond between root beer, or sarsaparilla, and the Old West. Columbia Soda Works Sarsaparilla’s label explains, “The flavor will take you back to the days of yesteryear when miners and settlers alike enjoyed the rich tastes of these early refreshments. A taste as rich as the Mother Load.” Elsewhere, the label displays a banner declaring that Columbia Soda Works Sarsaparilla is “A VERY PRECIOUS LIQUID.” I could not agree more. Do not be fooled by the simple crest displayed on Columbia Soda Works Sarsaparilla’s label. This is indeed a very precious liquid with a taste as rich as the mother lode.
There are a lot of good root beers and sarsaparillas out there, which makes sense because root beer is based on some dang good flavors. Many root beers stick to the proven, classic root beer construction, providing very good sodas. Some stray from that pattern and create fantastic and bold sodas. Columbia Soda Works Sarsaparilla is of the later category. This soda has a dark root beer flavor with some bite. The bite is not harsh, but is solid. Suddenly, a faint wintergreen sensation becomes recognizable. However, the wintergreen does not take over. Rather, it gently guides you to the next and final flavor, licorice. I know there are many misguided souls out there who dislike licorice or anise flavor. Although those who do not like licorice may not like Columbia Soda Works Sarsaparilla either, the licorice flavor is smooth and sweet, and may not be too overpowering for licorice haters. I personally found the mixture to be very satisfying and delicious.