D Plus

Reading Draft Blueberry Birch

blueberry birchLot’s of Reading brews that I haven’t tried yet, but I’ll mark the Reading Draft Blueberry Birch off my list.  To be honest, I love blueberries and I love birch beer, but I haven’t had an overwhelming desire to try this brew.  Maybe I’m wrong, but it just doesn’t seem like a combination that goes together.

The “kool-aid” blue color of this birch beer is a big turnoff as is the food coloring flavor that is slightly noticeable.  All in all, it is not quite as bad as it could be – it’s flavor is mild, which in this case is a really good thing.  The carbonation is low, which in this case may not be such a good thing – a higher carbonation level might mask some of the flavor.

It doesn’t really taste like blueberries either, again it’s more of an artificial “kool-aid” “food-coloring” taste.  It’s not gross, but it’s simply something that you would drink at a birthday party for a six-year old . . . you know, the kind of birthday party with cupcakes, streamers and boogers that have been wiped on the couch by multiple, gross six year old boys.

Surprisingly, there is no nutritional information on the side of the bottle . . . maybe because they wanted to hide the extreme amount of sugar needed to make this soda . . .

The Professor’s Grade:  D+

Great Value Diet Root Beer

great value root beerWhat does a Diet Root Beer have to do with a cornucopia of various vegetables?  Absolutely nothing, except for the fact that diet root beer appears to be very healthy.  A recent article says that diet soda trims your lifespan . . . I’m assuming that’s a good thing, sort of like trimming your waistline.

Oh well . . . on to the review.  I was surprised to see the Great Value Root Beers on the shelves of Walmart recently.  Why, you ask?  Walmart’s Root Beer Brand used to be Keg Root Beer, but now Great Value seems to be in vogue.  I found a straggling case of regular and diet Keg still on the shelf, but it was the last of a dying breed.  As far as I can tell it’s exactly the same soda with a different label.  But being that I never reviewed the diet version of Walmart’s Root Beer before, the change in label seems to be a moot point.

The Diet Great Value Root Beer is a very smooth brew with a medium to light head.  It’s got a heavy licorice . . . or is that anise . . . flavor that bulldozes through my tastebuds though.  The diet soda taste still sparkles throughout my mouth, but it’s actually not that bad for a diet brew.  I probably won’t drink through the whole 2 liter bottle, as I’m trying to watch my waistline and my lifespan, but at least I’ll enjoy this boot mug full of root beer.

The Professor’s Grade:  D +

A & W 10

A&W 10There are so many different kinds of A & W that I sincerely believe I could review only A & W Root Beers for the next three months.  Anyway, here I go to A & W TEN.  If my calculations are correct, there are in fact six sodas, all made by the Dr. Pepper/Snapple Group that have a new 10 calorie version.  Here is a little quip from a press release I found online:

The new versions get their fewer calories by starting with the diet versions, which are sweetened with aspartame and acesulfame potassium, and adding a little high-fructose corn syrup.

Wow . . . “aspartame, acesulfame, high-fructose” . . . they sure know how to make a soda sound delicious.

So, let me get this straight, same great old diet soda with a little high-fructose corn-syrup mixed in – hmmmm.  Sounds like one of A & W’s rocket scientists came up with this one.

The bottom-line is that this is pretty much the A & W Diet Root Beer with a little sugar mixed in to take the edge off of the obnoxious taste. It is refreshing and creamy like all A & W Root Beers, and it’s got that nice frothy character to it.

The Professor’s Grade:  D +

A & W Diet Root Beer Restaurant Review

aw3Same visit to A & W, but i decided to get two root beers for the price of one – you can learn more about that in Economics 101.  Anyway, after I finished my cup (and yes I did says cup, no mug at this visit) of A & W Root Beer, I filled it right up with A & W Diet Root Beer.  One of the first things that I noticed was that the diet brew had the same great root beer flavor as the sugar version.  The diet taste was of course noticable, but this was still a pretty enjoyable cup of diet root beer.

Maybe I’m getting caught up in the whole experience, or maybe I had enough of the regular A & W flavor left in my mouth from my first cup of the the real stuff.  I don’t know . . . but what I do know is the evening ended with my son getting a good root beer burp up the nose.  And by the way . . . his burp was not from the diet version.


The Professors Grade:  D +

Reading Draft Root Beer

readingdraftAs a Pennsylvania boy, I love trying these Pennsylvania Root Beers.  Sadly this is not one of the top brews – not bad, but certainly not anything special.  It has a simple, light flavor and a very frothy head.  Maybe the one thing that sets this root beer apart is the deep dark color, in fact it’s the darkest root beer I’ve ever seen.  There you go Reading Draft Root Beer, you’ve made it into the Root Beer 101 Textbook.  Not for taste of course, but for color – that’s right – just squirt a bunch of caramel color into your brew and you make history!

And on a side not, I purchased this at Sturgis Pretzel Factory which my colleague and personal friend, Professor Pretzel invited me too.  Unfortunately, the Sturgis Pretzel Factor was more cool than the root beer that I purchased there.







The Professor’s Grade: D +



Thomas Kemper Root Beer

Thomas_Kemper_Root_Beer_SodaI wish I liked it . . . I wish I liked it . . . hold on I’m going to click my heels three times . . . I wish I liked it.  Ahhh, to no avail, I don’t like it.  It’s not that this is a terrible brew, but it’s all about the expectations.  First of all, the bottle is pretty darn cool.  The name and the label are hip.  The ingredients proclaim the heavenly sweeteners of honey and and pure cane sugar.  But unfortunately, all of these promising elements don’t add up to a winner.

It is a really creamy beverage, but the flavors don’t really blend that well.  It’s almost as if each flavor jumps out and bites your tongue.  Now don’t get me wrong, if I had a 6 pack in the fridge I’d probably drink them, but I wouldn’t buy anymore on the internet.

The Professor’s Grade: D +

Root 66 Diet Root Beer

root66-logoI was beginning to get a little worried about the health effects of diet sodas . . . you know the cancer, weight-gain, kidney problems, cell damage and of course the addictive nature of the drink.  Thankfully, I had a “heart to heart” with my colleague, Professor Diet Coke and he assured me that all of these concerns are way overblown.  I can now do this review with a clean conscience.

As far as diet root beers go, this is actually a pretty decent one.  It has a good head, nice carbonation and is pretty creamy . . . just like the non-diet version.  Most of the flavoring in this beverage remains pretty consistent with the original Root 66 Root Beer.  Of course, it still has that diet after-taste, but it’s better than most.  Ed and Mari (another root beer web-site) give much shorter and to the point review.  They strongly disagreed with my assessment giving Root 66 Diet Root Beer a rating of “mega-barf.”  Well Root 66, bring on the barf . . . bring on the barf.


The Professor’s Grade:  D +

Stewart’s Birch Beer

Ahhh . . . a birch beer on a root beer web-site.  I can feel your judgmental eyes reading this birch beer review already.  Academically speaking, birch beer is root beer’s twin, both birthed from a wonderful combination of sugar, roots and carbonation.

I was thrilled to taste this and review it as Stewart’s is a classic . . . you can almost find it in as many supermarkets as IBC.  Unfortunately, I don’t really have a lot to say about this brew.  Simply, it tastes like a birch beer should taste.  It’s probably flavored with a bit or birch root, as this is a birch beer.  A pretty standard birch beer on the lower end of the excellence scale.

The Professor’s Grade:  D+