Dec 06

Root Beer reviews: AJ Stephans

IMG_2519While many root beers strive to make a bold statement, sometimes to the point of being the blue-tuxedoed uncle at your best friend’s wedding, AJ Stephans is daring only in its restraint. It dials back the sweetness and doesn’t linger, living extremely in the moment, not like a brash teenage snowboarder but rather a delicate piccolo artist inhaling each note, otherwise rapidly forgotten. Lack of edge prevents it from reaching the top tier, but unpretentiousness prevents it from sinking to the bottom.

Sampling date: December 1, 2015

Ingredients: Pure carbonated water, cane sugar, natural and artificial flavors, caramel color, citric acid, sodium benzoate

Nutritional information: 12-ounce serving, 175 calories, 0 grams fat, 44 grams sugar, 30 milligrams sodium, 0 grams protein

Headquarters: Orange, Massachusetts

Rankings to date:
1) Route 66 Root Beer
2) Bulldog Root Beer
3) Capt’n Eli’s Root Beer
4) Sparky’s Root Beer
5) AJ Stephans Root Beer
6) River City Root Beer
7) Cool Mountain Root Beer
8) Rat Bastard Root Beer 

Dec 04

Root beer reviews: Sparky’s

Sparky IMG_2499After a short 39-month hiatus, I’m pleased to return with the seventh in my series of root beer reviews.

Sparky’s Fresh Draft Root Beer is a line-drive base hit, nothing unconventional, nothing that would bring a crowd to its feet, but neither a routine grounder to the right side for an out. Its engine revs at the outset of each sip, coasting into a pinching sweetness that is more cocky than coy.

Sampling date: November 30, 2015

Ingredients: Carbonated filtered water, pure cane sugar, honey, natural and imitation flavorings, spices, sodium benzoate to preserve freshness, phosphoric acid and caramel color

Nutritional information: Not provided

Headquarters: Pacific Grove, California

Rankings to date:
1) Route 66 Root Beer
2) Bulldog Root Beer
3) Capt’n Eli’s Root Beer
4) Sparky’s Root Beer
5) River City Root Beer
6) Cool Mountain Root Beer
7) Rat Bastard Root Beer