Abita Root Beer

Summer 2013 Root Beer Project, Post 6

Abita Root Beer

Abita Root Beer

INGREDIENTS: Carbonated Water, Cane Sugar, Caramel Coloring, Root Beer Flavoring, Phosphoric Acid.

Located Abita Root Beer at Hard Water, here in San Francisco.

However, “Root Beer Flavoring”?

The Abita website is a bit more forthcoming:

“Abita Root Beer is made with a hot mix process using spring water, herbs, vanilla and yucca (which creates foam). Unlike most soft drink manufacturers, Abita sweetens its root beer with pure Louisiana cane sugar.”

It’s a solid effort, with the flavors well integrated, but lacks the complexity of a true 5 barrel Root Beer.

4 out of 5 Barrels.

PS. I’ve heard a rumor that Abita might be making batch of Bourbon Barrel aged Root Beer special for Hard Water. Uh, yum! Now that is something to look forward to!

Boylan’s Root Beer

Summer 2013 Root Beer Project, Post 4

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Boylan‘s Root Beer

Made From: Carbonated Water, Cane Sugar, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Caramel Color, Natural Yucca Extract, Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate (Preserves Freshness).

Rather generic ingredient list, they are a bit more forthcoming on their website description of the Root Beer:

“Boylan Root Beer has a rich and spicy sassafras flavor, thanks to its blend of cinnamon, anise, black pepper, mushroom, sweet birch, extracts of chocolate and coffee, vanilla, and wintergreen oil. Sounds complex, but the end result is an authentic, traditional tasting root beer with only a subtle creamy note.”

In any case, this is another very, very good root beer, pretty complex with a good aftertaste. Stronger Cinnamon spice component than most Root Beers I’ve tried so far, along with the birch. Not sure where the black pepper and mushroom come in!

I think I have to give this one 5 out of 5 barrels, as well.

Hansen’s Creamy Root Beer

Summer 2013 Root Beer Project, Post 2

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Hansen’s Creamy Root Beer

CONTAINS: Pure Triple Filtered Carbonated Water, Sugar, Caramel Color, Natural Spices of Wintergreen, Birch, Anise, Sassafras, Tahitian Vanilla Extract, Citric Acid.

Harsh and thin. Almost tastes like it is a diet drink, not sugar sweetened, maybe from the can? Wintergreen lingers on the palate and the flavors not well integrated.

Toothpaste.

—Update!—

2 Hours later, my tongue still feels a little numb and my mouth tastes like I compulsively chomped a whole roll of Wint-O-Green Lifesavers.

Root Rating:

2 out of 5 Barrels.

Sprecher Root Beer

Summer 2013 Root Beer Project, Post 1

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Sprecher Root Beer

“INGREDIENTS: Carbonated Water, Glucose Syrup, Malto-Dextrin, WI Raw Honey, Natural & Artificial Flavors, Sodium Benzoate (Preservative), Phosphoric Acid, Quillaia/Yucca Extract, Sodium Chrloride, Caramel Color, and Vanilla.”

Brewed & Bottled by: Sprecher Brewing Co., Inc., Glendale, WI.

Strong, pleasant Wintergreen note, good sweetness and body. Everytime I open one of the Sprecher 16oz bottles, I think, that’s too much. Then I finish it anyway.

Going to be tough for the other contestants to live up to this!

And I say that, not just because it is a home town favorite (I was born in Milwaukee, WI.)

Root Rating:

5 out of 5 Barrels!

Baladin “Ginger”

Baladin – GINGER SODA This ginger soda contains no colorings or preservatives. It’s ingredients are simply water, natural brown sugar, lemon juice, carbon dioxide and the unmistakable infusion of herbs, zests of bitter and sweet oranges from Garagno PGI, spices and vanilla which gives it its distinctive aroma and flavor.

We were just lamenting the loss of Sanbitter, one of the more similar beverages might be Baladin “Ginger”. I have no idea why it is called “Ginger”, it tastes more like Aperol and Soda. Maybe a bit more grapefruit, than Aperol’s Orange, but pretty darn similar.

I think “Garagno PGI” might be a mis-spelling/abbreviation of Gargano, Puglia.

Baladin Ginger

Sanbitter & Bitter Lemon

Sanbitter & Bitter Lemon

Recently, I was contacted by a friend about participating in a home bar crawl to several bartenders’ houses.

Rock Star Bartenders’ Home Setups, Grant Marek

**Cough**Yes, the name of the article is **ahem** inaccurate, at least in my case!

I drew the lucky straw and they started at my house at 11 AM. Made Ramos Fizzes and served coffee and pastries.

The second stop was at Josh Harris’ apartment in the Mission.

He served us a drink made with Sanbitter and Fever Tree Bitter Lemon, about 50/50, on cracked ice, which totally hit the spot on that ridiculously, unseasonably, hot November day.

I’ve spent most of the rest of the last few months trying to track down some Sanbitter, I enjoyed that non-alcoholic aperitif so much, but not had much luck.

This month, a month of ‘experimenting with sobriety’, I really wanted to track them down, but BevMo! was out stock on both Fever Tree Bitter Lemon and Sanbitter.

I remembered seeing some bottles at Tower Market, before it became Molly Stone’s, but they didn’t really turn over the inventory with the new management, so I had some hope it would still be there. Score one for slow inventory turn over.

Fever Tree Bitter Lemon is exactly that, a sort of cross between lemon soda and tonic water. One of my favorites of Fever Tree’s flavors.

Sanbitter is sort of a non-alcoholic campari-soda. It’s maybe a bit more cherry-ish, than Campari, but similar in flavor with a nice bitter aftertaste.

Right up my alley.

Combining them is a great idea, Thanks Josh! I’m told, they should have this combo at the new and excellent Trick Dog, if you don’t feel like tracking down your own carton of Sanbitter.*

*Update! Apparently, the Sanbitter product has been discontinued, so the Sanbitter & Bitter Lemon Highball will NOT be on the menu at Trickdog. They still have 3 excellent non-alcoholic drinks, so go anyway!

Blenheim Ginger Ale

Blenheim Ginger Ale

Woo, That’s a spicy Meat-a-Ball!

So, the thing about the chemical components which cause ginger to seem spicy-hot, is that they degrade quickly. If you make a ginger syrup, it will stop being very spicy within a very few days, even refrigerated.

However, some Ginger Ales and Ginger Beers are very spicy. How can this be?

Well, among the ‘natural flavorings’ the manufacturers use to flavor these spicy Ginger beverages, you will find the chemical component which causes chile peppers to be spicy, Capsaicin.

Yep, the same stuff in Pepper Spray.

Though, I can’t say that carrying a bottle of Blenheim Ginger Ale will probably have quite the same deterrent effect as pepper spray. Not a recommended substitute.

Baladin Cedrata

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Baladin – CEDRATA SODA A journey for the tastes of times gone by. A taste that our memory has registered but has been hiding for a very long time. This is what Cedrata Baladin represents. Its ingredients are simply water, natural brown sugar, lemon juice, carbon dioxide, and the infusion of Calabria citron from Diamante, which gives it its distinctive aroma and flavor. Cedrata Baladin is produced with simple and selected ingredients and contains no colorings or preservatives. A unique drink with an unmistakable taste.

Baladin Cedrata is Lemon soda. It has a nice natural tasting honeyed sweetness, but no bitterness. It’s OK, but I’d prefer something along the lines of bitter lemon. This is Kid stuff.