Monthly Archives: March 2014

Hippo Size Burley Birch Beer

hippo sizeThese dang brews keep showing up in the most unlikely places . . . I sure hope it didn’t microwave itself because that would totally ruin the review.

This brew seems to be 12 oz. of pure contradiction though.  This is a creamy red birch beer (and on a side note it seems like creamy red birch beers are in high demand these days).  But I’m assuming that the red is just some artificial coloring being that this it’s flavored with “White Birch Extract,” but one can never be so sure.  The bottle also says that this Burley Birch Beer is the “original Texas sized drink” and that is bottled under the authority of Orca Beverages in the state of Washington.  And the “Hippo” in the name had apparently at one time referred to the size of the beverage, but now it seems to refer to the taste.  I guess I could rename this “Regular Size White Birch With Red Food Coloring Original Texas Now Made In Washington Birch Beer.”  A little more honest . . . but doesn’t have the same ring to it . . . I guess I’ll stick with Hippo Size Burley Birch Beer.

I haven’t had a Birch Beer in a real long time so I almost forget what I’m looking for in a Birch Brew.  But this is a creamy brew with a nice simple birch flavor, mixed in with the perfect amount of carbonation.  I’m sure there are plenty of Birch Beers that are a lot better, but for now I am really digging this contradictory Birch Beer.

The Professor’s Grade:  B +


Old Town Root Beer

oldtown2Sampling a new root beer that you’ve had your eye on and just couldn’t get a hold of is priceless! This was a Christmas present from all my assistant reviewers . . . and it just also happens to be the very last root beer in my fridge . . . for the moment anyway.  Thankfully I’ve got some local stores with plenty of new brews to try.

This brew is very smooth, clean, fresh, crisp and well boring. With the combination of cane sugar and honey I was sure that I would like it, but the exact nature of the combination is just got wrong. And maybe it’s not even that they got it wrong as much as they needed something else. Or maybe it’s just that I’ve had too many root beers that have a similar flavor combination that it doesn’t seem like anything special.

It’s not a gross root beer, it’s certainly one that I would give to someone, but it’s probably not one that I would spend any money on in the future.

The Professor’s Grade:  C +

Cicero Beverage Company Salted Caramel Root Beer

Salted Caramel Root BeerWait a minute . . . I am back in Maine at the ocean?  It’s that ocean, saltwater smell . . . ahhh it’s good to be back.  Nevermind, it’s just that salty root beer smell from the Cicero Beverage Co. called Salted Caramel Root Beer.  Hopefully it’s not as salty as a bouillon cube – the label says 130 mg or 5.5% of your recommended daily intake –  not too bad really.

The dominant flavor in this brew is not the salt (although that adds a nice compliment), but it’s the caramel.  It’s not so strong that it makes it unpleasant however.  Caramel is probably not my favorite root beer flavor, but this drink uses the caramel in a way that’s not all bad. I would have no problem offering this to someone, or if someone offered it to me I would drink it with no qualms.

Using a sweetener or flavoring like maple syrup, honey, molasses or caramel for a root beer is certainly a little risky, but Cicero does a nice job combining the caramel with the salt to make a different and half-decent root beer.

The only complaint that I have is that I bought this off of a humble grocery store shelf and upon further examination Anthony received his brew in a special sack, with paper shavings all within a pirate-esque wooden box.


The Professor’s Grade:  B