Monthly Archives: November 2015

Avery Sarsaparilla

Avery Sarsaparilla

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Sweetener: Sugar or Corn Sweetener

Bottled at: New Britain, Connecticut

Purchase Location: Rocket Fizz

Sherman F. Avery began making soda in a red barn in New Britain, Connecticut during the summer of 1904.  He delivered his Avery’s Sodas by way of a horse pulled wagon.  Today, Avery’s Beverages are still made in small batches in that same New Britain, Connecticut red barn.  Avery’s  Beverages has quite a repertoire of sodas, with 25 classic flavors, 8 diet flavors, 6 specialty and seasonal flavors, and 8 “Totally Gross Sodas.”

Avery Sarsaparilla has an old time two-tone label.  The label does not specify the flavor of the soda.  Instead,  the type of soda is identified on the bottle cap.  Later, when looking for the list of ingredients, I realized the ingredients were also found on the cap and not the label (as for the nutrition facts, they were not on the label or the bottle cap).  This allows Avery to use the same label for all of its sodas.  Only the bottle caps differ from flavor to flavor.

Avery Sarsaparilla is light in color and in flavor.  Its color is that of a light colored cream soda.  Its taste is that of a mild root beer mixed with ginger ale.  The flavor is good, although not as strong as I would like, but lasts just a brief moment.  Avery Sarsaparilla is also highly carbonated.  It bubbled all the way down my throat, feeling like little carbonation bubbles were sticking to my throat.  It was a unique carbonation feeling.  In the end Avery Sarsaparilla was good, but lacked a little flavor.

Overall Score: 6 of 10.


Ozark Mountain Bottleworks Root Beer

Ozark Mountain Bottleworks Root Beer

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Sweetener: Sugar

Bottled at: Branson, Missouri

Purchase Location: Rocket Fizz

In my last review, found here, I discussed not prejudging a root beer by its label.  In that case, the label and its reference to the root beer’s low sugar, organic, and vegan qualities led me to judge that the soda would be less than wonderful.  It turned out that my prejudgment was correct.  I was pleasantly surprised, then, when my prejudgment of Ozark Mountain Bottleworks Root Beer turned out to be completely wrong.

The drab and featureless green label of Ozark Mountain Bottleworks Root Beer made me suspect that little effort had been put into the soda, and that it would be bland.  The label is so monotone, that it is difficult to read the ingredients or nutrition facts, they just blend in with the sea foam green background.  However, like I said, the root beer is neither bland nor drab, nor monotone.

For starters, Ozark Mountain Bottleworks Root Beer is quite sweet.  It has an almost syrupy sweetness.  The root beer is full and rich.  It has a hearty root flavor without having a strong bite.  Instead, Ozark Mountain Bottleworks Root Beer is dark and creamy, and leaves you satisfied.   Ozark Mountain Bottleworks Root Beer might be the root beer equivalent of a delicious, rich chocolate cake that satisfies your sweet tooth and that you can still taste minutes after finishing.

Overall Score: 8 of 10.

NEWS – Root Beer Is Good, But Not That Good

Root Beer Is Good, But Not That Good

We all know that root beer is delicious.  You know it, I know it, and the Ku Klux Klan knows it.  Now the KKK is trying to use root beer to its benefkkk-letterit.  As reported here, the KKK has begun a recruiting campaign in Gresham, Oregon.  The KKK is leaving residents invitations to join the KKK with a piece of paper detailing “the 10 present goals of the United Northern & Southern Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.”  As an added enticement to join, each invitation is accompanied by a bag of root beer jelly beans.  We have already established that root beer is delicious.  The same goes for root beer jelly beans.  However, the KKK is not all happiness and jelly beans.  Gresham, Oregon residents, and anyone else who will listen, I promise you it is not worth joining no matter how many jelly beans you are promised.


Oogavé Root Beer

Oogavé Root Beer



Sweetener: Organic Agave Nectar

Bottled at: Denver, Colorado

Purchase Location: Rocket Fizz

Normally, before each root beer I taste test I become excited, thinking, “this might be an absolutely delectable drink.”  That thought did not cross my mind prior to tasting Oogavé Root Beer.  Instead I thought, “this is likely going to be terrible.”  I know it is wrong to judge a book by its cover or a root beer by the fact that it has organic agave nectar instead of cane sugar or that it proudly announces it is gluten-free, low-glycemic, and vegan.  However, I have not found sodas touting their healthy properties to be very pleasing to the palate.  Nevertheless, despite my trepidation about Oogavé, I tried to keep an open mind going into the review.

Oogavé is very proud about its use of agave as a principal ingredient.  The label shows reflective gold carbonation bubbles rising up around a group of agave leaves.  It is because of those agave leaves, and the fact that Oogavé is sweetened by agave nectar, that the company’s website boasts, “We have yet to find a traditional soda that has less sugar than Oogavé.”

To some degree having less sugar is a positive.  Unfortunately in this case, the result of less sugar was a very inadequately sweetened soda.  Instead of sweet soda, Oogavé Root Beer came off as bitter.  It also left my mouth feeling dry.  Contrary to claims on its website that Oogavé Root Beer has a “classic root beer flavor … reminiscent of the good old days,” Oogavé does not have a traditional root beer flavor, but tastes of agave.  The agave flavor is not long lasting, which is a good thing, because it does not taste great.  Sadly, the agave flavor is replaced only with bitterness and a dry mouth.  Perhaps sometimes you can judge a root beer by its label.

Overall Score: 3 of 10.

NEWS – How To Make Everything Makes A Root Beer Float From Scratch

How To Make Everything Makes A Root Beer Float From Scratch

How to Make Everything is a YouTube channel dedicated to showing a step by step demonstration of what it takes to make products by scratch.  Past products made by rootbeerfloatscratch in the How to Make Everything web-series include a suit a sandwich, and a glass bottle.  In its most recent project, maple syrup was collected from a tree, sassafras root and wintergreen leaves were harvested, a goat was milked, and yeast was cultivated for carbonation, all to make a delicious root beer float made from scratch.  The very thoughtful eight video series can be found at the How to Make Everything YouTube channel here.  It makes me want to make some homemade root beer.


Thomas Kemper Root Beer

Thomas Kemper Root Beer



Sweetener: Cane Sugar

Bottled at: Portland, Oregon

Purchase Location: Galco’s Soda Pop Stop

Root beer was the first soda flavor created by the Thomas Kemper Soda Company.  It was introduced at an Oktoberfest celebration in 1990.  This relative newcomer to the gourmet root beer scene was reformulated in 2008 to include pure cane sugar in place of high fructose corn syrup. Impressively, in 1996 prior to the root beer reformulation, Thomas Kemper Root Beer made it into the Guinness Book of World Records for creating the world’s largest root beer float, a 2,166.5 gallon float.

Thomas Kemper is a model of a simple, but quality root beer label.  There is not one specific reason the label works, but the color combination, the banner emblazoned with the name Thomas Kemper, and the general design just work together.  The highlight of the bottle is its cap, which displays a honey bee from which Thomas Kemper acquires its pure Northwest honey.

Thomas Kemper Root Beer has a light and fresh feel.  There is a slight root beer bite, as well as caramel and honey tones.  Thomas Kemper Root Beer is also sweet.  However, its sweetness and flavor combination do not result in a heavy root beer.  Rather, like I said, it is tasty light and fresh root beer.

Overall Score: 7 of 10.