The tricky thing now that I’m past the two cases of samplers I could find* is that I’m kinda left with ordering a case of soda before tasting it. If it turns out to be disgusting, I’m stuck with a bunch of stuff I don’t want. Fortunately, Cheerwine is pretty tasty. It’s cherry soda, not cherry cola or black cherry soda, so it’s not really a flavor I’ve ever had before. I was worried it’d be too sweet but it’s actually a really nice balance.
There are people in North Carolina that are crazy for this stuff, enough that they’ve done Cheerwine filled Krispy Kreme donuts and I’ve heard people from the Carolinas who’ve moved elsewhere complaining about the lack of Cheerwine.
* – I found one other, which at one point offered a key lime soda but now doesn’t, so I’m going to wait it out until that appears in the options again.
The last of the big random box of sodas:
Filbert’s Ginger Ale had me worried it would be rancid like the last one, but it was actually really good. Not as sweet as the big brand ginger ale and with some real bite to it, but it did not taste like poison, it was very tasty.
And Stewart’s Cream Soda was finally a cream soda that wasn’t gross. It still has that nice cream soda flavor but without being nauseating.
A bunch of root beers I don’t have a lot to say about:
Baumeister Root Beer, Squamscot Root beer, Tower Hill Root Beer, Windy City Soda Root Beer, and Thomas Kemper Root Beer all are perfectly good but don’t stand out compared to any of the others.
Gale’s Root Beer is cinnamon, ginger, and vanilla flavored, which kinda sounds awesome but it isn’t. It tastes like what I know as a suicide (but has several different names), where you mix all the fountain drinks together. Just very busy with a lot of different flavors and it doesn’t really taste like anything.
Boylan’s Root Beer has a strange black liquorice flavor. Which is not good.
I’m now too lazy to find pictures of all these things. So yeah, this looks like an appropriate stock image type thing.
Goose Island Root Beer is “Chicago style,” and I didn’t know that was a thing. From tasting it, it doesn’t seem any different from any other root beer, except it’s about as sweet as root beer can get before it gets kinda gross.
Druthers Black Cow Vanilla Creme Root Beer is disgustingly rich without being particularly tasty. Worst root beer so far.
Triple XXX Root Beer (I guess that’s 9 X’s) has a label that, other than the barcode, nutrition facts, and deposit info, looks straight out of the 1940s. Not in a retro way, just totally, completely dated. And apparently the brand has a lengthy history to match its old timey bottle. The root beer is excellent. Among the ones that don’t do fancy vanilla or whatever, this ties Fritz’s for my favorite so far..
I was nervous that Boylan’s Creamy Red Birch Beer would taste like Dad’s Red Cream Soda, but fortunately it doesn’t. Like most birch beers, it basically tastes like root beer, but with a less pleasant aftertaste. Snazzy bottle, though.
Caruso’s Legacy Robusto Root Beer brags all over its bottle about tradition and how many generations make it, but it says “since 1961,” which is pretty recent compared to a lot of these others, several of which go back to before 1900. It’s really good, though. I think it’s the best of the regular root beers (with Henry Weinhard’s fancy honey/vanilla flavor still being the best tasting so far).
Cool Mountain Root Beer has a strange flavor that isn’t very root beer-ish. It wasn’t bad, but not particularly good either.
Mason’s Root Beer is another one that’s not sweet enough for my tastes.
Henry Weinhard’s Root Beer wins points for the fanciest label. It looks like a bottle of pretentious “I’m too good to drink the kinds of beer you’ve heard of” beer. It also has an elaborate flavor, with honey and vanilla on top of the root beer flavor, and the honey and vanilla flavors both come through strongly. It’s both the best and worst root beer yet, because it’s totally delicious but way too rich and I felt like vomiting by the end. But it was so damn tasty that I’m tempted to get more of it.
Blenheim Ginger Ale is the first one I couldn’t finish. It’s a really strong ginger flavor. Less ginger ale, more raw ginger. At first, it tasted like a delicious and strong ginger ale, but then the aftertaste hit and I thought it might be poison. And then I set it down but kept grabbing it and sipping from it forgetting how gross it is. At the halfway point I had to toss it. Frighteningly, the website says the gold cap version I had is “mild,” and they make a red-capped “hot” bottles. I can’t imagine why anyone would want something stronger than this rancid shit, but I am generally a wuss about such things. It could be other folks might find this kinda thing perfectly delicious, but not me. It’s been an hour since I poured it out and my throat is still burning.
I tried to wash the taste out with Dad’s Red Cream Soda, but it too is gross. Disgustingly sweet. 250 calories in 12 oz, 60 more than any other one I’ve had so far. Also, I don’t know why it’s red. Except maybe to remind diabetics of blood, and the disastrous effects this drink will have on their blood sugar. I also poured half of this out.
Filberts Root Beer is another one that’s quite good. I’m worried that I’ll be so used to these that the next time I have Mug or Barq’s or something it’ll taste like crap.
Welch’s Grape Soda is the first of the ones from the case of random soda I ordered that’s just a national brand. But not one I think I’ve ever had, or at least I don’t think. I don’t have grape soda very often (insert your own racism here). I had an odd sense of nostalgia from this, since it tastes exactly like a grape flavored cough syrup I used to take when I was really young. Anyway, it’s perfectly good, but nothing special.
Sparky’s Root Beer is a little on the sweet side. I still liked it a lot, just not as much as the others that I think had a better balance. It also has a slightly different flavor, which I can only assume is from the honey, an ingredient I haven’t seen listed on any of the others. Carbonated water, HFCS or sugar, natural and artificial flavors, caramel color, and a preservative are in every single one, sometimes there’s citric acid or some other acidic thing, but this is the first with any real deviation from that. Interestingly, though this has ingredients listed, it does not have nutrition facts. Probably not labeled for individual sale, and the people that shipped me the case of various root beers are horrible lawbreakers.
Jones Berry Lemonade says it’s a soda, but this bottle was completely flat. I also couldn’t taste any berry. It was just 12oz of blue, not very good lemonade.
Dr Brown’s Cream Soda, like almost all cream sodas, is way too sweet.