Root Beer, Part 5 of X, by Evan Jacobson
In the first 4 installments of Root Beer, I tested several brands… Please refer to any
of those posts whenever you wish. At the moment, there is a 4-pack of StewartS Root Beer currently camping out in my fridge (many people seem to fancy this brand). The last time I drank StewartS, my wife and I were dining in Cracker Barrel. I remember the rich, sweet, and fresh taste. It was also served in a cold bottle and a frosty mug, which really provides the visual aesthetic. The head (don’t laugh) was large and foamy; the bottle and label were both attractive to the consumer’s eyes. “Since 1924” appears at the top of the bottle (that might be important?). Okay, so the bottle is attractive. A good friend of mine always said, “you can cover a brick with chocolate icing…”
I’ll twist off the cap and taste it now. It’s very sweet and has the Anise flavor, but it tastes artificial and overly sweet. Yet, it is similar in taste to IBC. Let’s check out the ingredients: HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP (there’s a shocker), some Yucca, preservatives, Quillaia (whatever that is), Gum Acacia, etc. Ok, the ingredients are somewhat disappointing despite the “interesting” flavor. It would work nicely atop Vanilla Ice Cream if you want to float, or experience a diabetic nightmare. Other than that, it tastes okay and is not the worst thing I’ve had.
A few days ago, I purchased a 3 liter, no frills Root Beer from Pathmark. It had a bizarre aftertaste. My students also commented that it had a medicinal taste. That’s what I would expect from a less popular brand for a dirt cheap price tag. StewartS tastes better than that, but not by huge leaps and bounds. The intense sweetness overpowers the other ingredients…
I’m starting to form ideas about a Root Beer that I can drink on a long term basis: It has to be in a bottle, a microbrew, contain several natural ingredients, have a balanced Anise flavor, no caffeine, no HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP (mentioned earlier), or artificial flavors to compensate for the lack of natural flavor. In short, the StewartS is okay overall, but not going to make it in the top five.
The search is still not over. Stay tuned…
Evan J. wanna be gourmet