Jonnie Ryan Delcious Diet Root Beer

jonnieryandietI think it’s been a little while since I’ve reviewed a diet soda . . . I’m trying to stay away from these . . . really I am.  Nevertheless, the professor (there I go talking about myself in the third person again) has to do the dirty and dangerous work of reviewing all root beers . . . even the diet ones.  And to be quite honest, I get immense pleasure from sipping these brews, even the ones, like this one, that are filled with cancer causing ingredients like sucralose.  Dr. Oz had a interesting article on artificial sweeteners, and given that he was recently proven to be right, 100% of the time , I thought I’d give a link to that article.

I found this particular diet soda while in Virginia of all places . . . at a Wegman’s.  Now, I know I’m not the professor of Supermarkets (that title goes to my illustrious colleague – Professor Regan.  The back story is that Lesley begged to be an associate professor of root beer, but when I declined to give her tenure, BBC picked her up to do her current supermarket thing), but Wegman’s is the bomb . . . it is simply awesome.  I must have picked up 3-4 different brews while I was there, and Jonnie Ryan’s was one of them.

This diet brew has an extremely low carbonation content – and while I normally like it, this is pretty much non-existent.  It’s entirely possible I got a bad bottle, but I’ll act as if it was intended to be this way.

This has a slight “diet-taste,” as all diet root beers have, but it is much less offensive than most diet brews.  The flavor of root beer is not all that unique or different, but there is a interesting bite of flavor that maybe includes wintergreen and even a hint of licorice.  I could be “way-off” though, as that “diet-taste” seems to be getting stronger and stronger with each sip.  By the way . . . isn’t that how most diet sodas are . . . at first, they taste alright, but with each sip it gets worse and worse.

At any rate, this is still one of the better diet sodas  I’ve drank.

The Professor’s Grade:  C

Oogave Root Beer

agaveI had my mother-in-law over, and being the health conscious woman that she is, I pulled out the Oogave Root Beer to share together.  She prefers diet soda over regular soda, but being that diet soda is getting a bad-rep lately, I thought this Oogave might be the ticket to drinking root beer, safely, healithy and responsibly.

You see, it only has all-natural ingredients, and is sweetened with only organic agave nectar.  It has a total of only 24 grams of sugar, with no diet ingredients added.  I actually really like root beers who try alternative methods of sweetening such as, honey, molasses, brown sugar and now agave nectar.  Sometimes these alternative methods of sweetening add something unique to the flavor – I’m not sure the agave adds anything to the flavor – but it’s cool nonetheless.

As suspected though, the flavor doesn’t quite match up with it’s superior counterparts.  That’s not to say it’s gross or anything . . . I would gladly drink this from time to time to forgo the obscene amount of sugar that’s found in other root beers.  But the root beer is pretty light on flavor.  It does have a sharp bite throughout the beginning to the end of the taste  . . . which gives this a nice distinctive difference.  It’s a little hard to place what this “bite” is, but it reminds me of a one-note sarsaparilla flavor.

On a side note, this is another Colorado soda and thus another opportunity for a factory tour.

The Professor’s Grade:  C




Hammond’s All Natural Root Beer Candy Cane

all-nat-nutmeg-caneLI unwrapped this thick candy cane at Christmas, but only recently realized that it was a root beer flavored candy . . . boy, my family really knows me!

I didn’t expect anything great from this sweet treat, but upon closer inspection I found that it is gluten-free and all-natural.  Even the ever-so-light root beer coloring is all-natural with ingredients like Reed Beet, Red Cabbage, Paprika and Tumeric Powder.  In laymen terms . . . that’s pretty dang cool.

This is also made by a local Denver, Colorado company – Hammonds (http://www.hammondscandies.com/candy-types/all-natural-candies/all-natural-rootbeer-candy-cane) .  Note to self – they offer free factory tours – this might be a good field-trip to take my students during “Rootbeer Products 101″ this summer.

Needless to say, my three little professors thought this was amazing, but to be honest it is almost not deserving of a letter grade.  It’s not gross, bad or repulsive . . . it is just not that flavorful.  This is a neat thing to put in someone’s Christmas stocking and if there is someone who likes candy, but is health conscious . . . it is a great gift.  But without much root beer flavor, I can’t give this above a C.

The Professor’s Grade:  C


Flavorful, good, creamy . . . oh not creamy.  Tastes like root beer.


Teddy’s Root Beer

teddysrootbeerMy little professor # 3 weighed in on this root beer.   She said, and I quote, “I weally like this woot beer.”  In all truthfulness she first said “blah, blah blah”, but I made her say something a little more constructive.

Not that you really want to hear what the elder professor has to say, but I’m going to say it anyway.  This brew was pretty good for a plastic bottle root beer.  Nothing great, nothing bad . . . a little bit better than the diet Teddy’s alternative though.  It was a bit sweet, a bit syrupy, a bit wintergreeny and possibly a bit sarsaparilly.  My other co-professor (the wifey) felt like it left a left a weird fuzzy feeling on her tongue (I’ve heard her claim this before so I wouldn’t take it too seriously . . . although if you’re worried about fuzziness than you may want to stay away from this root beer).

If you can’t afford all the bottled root beers, this is a cheaper alternative as it’s about $1 for a 1 liter bottle.

And yes . . . I do drink root beer in a boot.


The Professor’s Grade:  C

Keg Style Root Beer, Walmart Brand

walmartThis is the first review of 2010 and the first review in almost a year. My son and daughter (professors in training) got the itch to taste and review more root beers – so here we go!!

I will begin to comment on what my son said about this root beer. He commented how the root beer smell came out of his nose when he drank the brew. And he also began to dip his popcorn in the soda and thought that it tasted great.

I thought that this Keg Style Brew had a good bit of foam with a nice, rich, dark root beer color. It was a very sweet tasting root beer – actually too sweet for my taste (it has 46g of sugar per serving). This concoction is actually distributed by Walmart and being a “cheapo” brand it could actually be a lot worse. Don’t expect a lot from this soda, but at the same time it is not all that bad. Unfortunately, I really don’t have much else to say about this root beer.

My son wants to give this brew a C +, but


The Professor’s Grade:  C

Virgil’s Root Beer

Virgils_RootBeerI was originally enthralled by the complex spicyness of the root beer until I wondered if it had anything to do with the “red pepper chips” that I ate only moments before. Virgils does claim to be a superb blend of spices and herbs, so I suspect that at least a little bit of the spice was blended by Virgil’s. Anise, licorice, cinnamon, clove, molasses and nutmeg are only about half of the spices that are present in this brew. This gives it a superb kick that nicely contrasts the smooth and rich texture that’s also present.

I have to admit, I taste so many root beers that are all so similar that it’s nice to taste something different like Virgil’s. Virgil’s isn’t really my cup of tea . . . or should I say cup of root beer, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t recognize that this is a high-quality brew. If any of my students brought this in as a “teacher’s day gift,” I would accept this with the utmost gratitude and drink it on a day that afforded the opportunity.

When it comes down to the nitty gritty, this brew is pretty good. But I must admit that these complex flavors don’t really agree with my refined palette.




The Professor’s Grade:  C