Category Archives: 4 out of 10

Original New York Seltzer Root Beer

Original New York Seltzer Root Beer

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Website: http://www.newyorkseltzer.com/classic/

Sweetener: Cane Sugar

Bottled at:

Purchase Location: WINCO

Walking around the grocery store some months ago, I recognized a familiar bottle  I had not seen since my youth.  Founded in 1981 in Southern California, Original New York Seltzer quickly became a big deal.  According to the company’s website, part of its rapid 1980s assent was due to its refraining from using artificial colors.  Its Black Cherry, Vanilla Cream, Raspberry, Root Beer, Peach, and Lemon Lime drinks were all clear.  Naturally, its motto became “The Choice is Clear.”

During the 1980s no one could have imagined that Original New York Seltzer would cease to exist early the next decade, but it did.  Original New York Seltzer disappeared, and the company’s young creator became an animal trainer in Hollywood.  Original New York Seltzer brand remained abandoned until 2013 when a fan of the former line of soft drinks purchased Original New York Seltzer’s original bottling plant and reviewed the original recipes.  By May, 2015 he had revived the company and restarted production on Original New York Seltzer’s original six flavors, including root beer.

Like all of its classic flavors, Original New York Seltzer Root Beer comes in clear, short, and stubby 10oz bottles.  Its label, which I remembered so vividly from the 1980s, displays the New York City skyline underneath the large billboard styled name of the soda.  As should be expected, the Original New York Seltzer Root Beer label is brown.

As previously mentioned, the soda itself is not brown, but is clear.  Drinking a clear root beer feels a bit strange.  Not only is the color of this root beer atypical, but so is it’s taste.  Original New York Seltzer Root Beer has root beer flavor, but does not have the depth, herbal feel, or sweetness of other root beers.  It tastes like root beer flavored seltzer water, which, surprise, is exactly what it is.  If you are looking for a light drink with root beer flavor, this might be just the drink for you.  If, however, you are looking for a more traditional root beer, you can take a pass.  I’ll go for traditional.

Overall Score: 4 of 10.

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Olde Rhode Island Molasses Root Beer

Olde Rhode Island Molasses Root Beer

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Website: http://www.realsoda.com

Sweetener: 100% Cane Sugar

Bottled at: Bristol, Rhode Island

Purchase Location: Total Wine & More

Olde Rhode Island Molasses Root Beer is one of several root beers made under the California company Real soda in Real Bottles, Inc.’s business umbrella.  Recognizing that Olde Rhode Island Molasses Root Beer really can’t be Olde Rhode Island Molasses Root Beer unless it is made in Rhode Island, Empire Bottling Works bottles the brew for Real Soda in Bristol, Rhode Island.  This “Olde” root beer is made from an old New England recipe.  I hope that old New England recipe is in fact an old Rhode Island, New England Recipe, and not a Vermont, New England recipe masquerading as a Rhode Island root beer.

The label for this root beer is as simple and bland as a label can be.  The  message it coveys is, “We are so Olde that our label was created at a time before people realized there was value in advertising, and in making one’s product look interesting, appealing, or desirable.”  The label displays an image of what I believe to be a poorly drawn pitcher, which appears to have a tail, sitting in front of a root beer stained background.  Not very enticing, but not at all relevant to the actual taste of the brew.

I expected Olde Rhode Island Molasses Root Beer to have a dark, heavy flavor based on molasses being the headline ingredient.  In actual fact, it had quite a light flavor.  Two flavors dominate this root beer, wintergreen and molasses.  The wintergreen gives the root beer a light, bubbly, and slightly biting air, while the molasses under-girds the wintergreen with a slightly stronger molasses bite.  Olde Rhode Island Molasses Root Beer tastes somewhat unique, but is not delicious.  I must point out that several other root beer review websites enjoyed this brew much more than I.   Olde Rhode Island Molasses Root Beer does have a molasses taste, so if you like wintergreen and molasses, you should give this soda a try.

Overall Score: 4 of 10.

Waialua Root Beer

Waialua Root Beer

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Website: http://www.waialuasodaworks.com/

Sweetener: Sugar Blend (cane sugar and Maui natural white cane sugar)

Bottled at: Waialua, Hawaii

Purchase Location: Raley’s Supermarket

Waialua Root Beer has a winning presentation.  It flaunts its Hawaiianness with delectable sounding ingredients like Maui natural white cane sugar and  Hawaiian vanilla extract, with the image of a hula dancer on both the label and the bottle cap, and with the promise that its root beer is made with the “finest Hawaiian quality.”  Hawaii is a most excellent place, and there is no reason to believe this Hawaiian root beer will be anything less than fantastic.

Unfortunately, the soda does not live up to its presentation.  I like the clear bottle the root beer comes in, showing the color of the root beer.  However, perhaps the very light brown shade of the soda seen through the clear glass should have been a warning sign.  Not only is the color of the soda much lighter than the typical root beer, but its taste is as well.  Waialua is fairly bland and watery.  There just is not much going on with this soda.  It isn’t terrible, but it is not a root beer I would go out of my way to have again.

Overall Score: 4 of 10.

Dog n Suds Root Beer

Dog n Suds Root Beer

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Website: http://supplies.dog-n-suds.com/page.php?5

Obtained at Raley’s Supermarket

Dog n Suds hearkens back to the days when hamburgers and soda were delivered to your car by rollerskating waiter dogs, as it claims to be “Drive-In Style” root beer.  Those were the days!  Dog n Suds has been making root beer for over 45 years. The brand started as a drive-in  hot dog stand in Michigan.  In their heyday, they grew to over 50 locations in the state of Michigan.  Today, two original locations remain open.

The root beer has a nice bottle, displaying a frosty glass root beer mug and a hot dog being delivered by the aforementioned dog waiter.

The root beer initially has a pleasant, soft vanilla flavor.  Unfortunately that flavor lasts for only a fleeting moment.  Almost instantly, the flavor is gone and you’re left with the flavorless liquid in your mouth.  You think “hey that flavor was kind of good, where did it go?  I want it back.”  But you won’t get it back, not until the next sip, and then it will be immediately gone once again.

 Overall Score: 4 of 10.