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

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 +

Lost Trail Diet Root Beer

Lost Trail Diet Root BeeerWhen does the head on a root beer last too long?  How about when after 5 minutes there is still 6 inches of foam that hasn’t dissappated at all!  It may sound like a good thing, but it sort of impairs the whole process of actually getting to the root beer itself.  Back in 2009 I reviewed the non-diet version of Lost Trail and I noted that there was virtually no head at all, so to have this sort of head in the diet version is quite peculiar.  I wonder if it’s something chemical . . . being diet and all.

The guy at my local soda store recommended this root beer as one of the best diet brews available.  He’s right in the sense that there is really no nasty diet aftertaste that has virtually been present in every other diet root beer.  The problem is there is virtually no taste at all.  It’s an extremely mild brew with nothing offensive at all and almost nothing to comment on.  Creamy yes, nasty diet aftertaste no, and anything distinctive whatsoever no.

Not a bad choice for a diet brew though, in fact it’s probably the best diet root beer I’ve reviewed thus far.

The Professor’s Grade:  C +

Stewart’s Diet Root Beer

Stewarts DietAhhh, Remember the days when diet sodas were believed to be healthy?  I love these comforting nostalgic feelings . . . let me just bask in this for a few minutes while I drink this diet brew . . .

Oh well, on to the review.  I got this bottle from a friend who has provided me with a few root beers already.  The first thing I notice about Stewart’s is the fantastic bottle and label.  When you drink from a bottle like this you simply feel good all over . . . that is until you actually taste it.  Unfortunately, the taste is pretty flat.  Not flat in a carbonation sense, but flat in an overall taste sense.  It’s weird because there are actually a combination of flavors at work in this brew, but when they are combined together it results in a big old pile of flatness.

On a side note, the foam in the root beer was amazing, but the artificial flavoring was pretty amazing as well (in a bad way of course).

The was not obnoxious by any means, but I guess it’s pretty darn close.

The Professor’s Grade:  F

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 +

Teddy’s Diet Root Beer

teddysdietThe same slogans and phrases that appear on Teddy’s regular root beer, unfortunately also appear on the diet bottle.  For example, I don’t think “America’s Favorite” or “Premium” really apply to the Teddy’s diet brand . . . or any other diet brand for that matter.

Like most other diet sodas, Teddy’s fall woefully flat . . . not on fizz but on flavor.  Actually, in this case I don’t think it’s the “diet’s” fault.  Even though it’s a diet, it could still have some fanciful combination of spices and herbs, but this just has a weak flavor that possibly passes for a root beer . . . maybe?

The more I ponder this brew, there is a slight flavor towards the end of each sip.  I’m guessing it could be a sarsaparilla, or at least an imitation sarsaparilla taste, but alas there is absolutely no information about the ingredients on their web-site.  A side note – when there is not information on the company’s web-site, it’s usually an indication that you are not intended to know what is in the brew!

Ummmm . . . the more I drink the more bearable it becomes.  Teddy’s Diet Root Beer just got bumped up!



The Professor’s Grade:  D -

Virgil’s Zero Root Beer

Zero-Root-BeerThat tag line for this root beer is “you’ll swear it’s made in heaven.”  Unfortunately, heaven doesn’t make root beer like they used to.  To be frank, it barely had a root beer taste at all.  It was clouded (probably a result of being made in heaven) with a huge diet taste of stevia rebaudiana leaf extract and that dang GMO-free caramel color.  Truth be told, I’m not on the up and up on the GMO, and this root beer is not really worth the couple of extra minutes to research it.

I do love the fact that it has zero calories and it’s using a sweetener that doesn’t cause years of soft-drink induced cancer.  I actually like diet soda a bit too much and it would be nice to find a tasty alternative.  Virgil’s Zero Root Beer is not that alternative . . .  although it is a really nice alternative for muddy water.

One other thing that I absolutely love about this root beer can be found right on their web-site.  It says, and I quote, “no sugar alcohols that upset your intestines.”  Awesome . . . simply awesome.

Although I’ve never been a huge Virgil’s fan to begin with, I think they have a much “higher standard” to live up to – this brew is a big disappointment.


The Professor’s Grade:  F

Zevia Ginger Root Beer

zevia ginger root beerI have been checking this root beer out for quite some time. It is practically in every grocery store I visit, but the price on this baby is out of this world. I think the cost is over $6 for a 4 pack or a 6 pack. While I guess that is only about $1 a can, I normally don’t like to pay that much for a canned root beer, and especially a canned root beer that looks like it’s going to taste gross. I was lucky to find an individual can at Whole Foods the other day – so one and done baby!

Enough about cost . . . what makes this brew so unique is that it is a diet soda without actually being diet. It has no artificial sweeteners and yet has zero calories!! Zevia uses a combination of stevia and Erythritol to sweeten the beverage. The interesting part is that even though there are no artificial sweeteners – it still tastes a little like a diet beverage. Don’t ask me how they do it – they just do.

But with that being said – I would drink this on occassion instead of a regular diet root beer. Hey – it is all natural, no calories, no cancer causing diet ingredients (well . . . at this moment stevia has not been shown to cause cancer, but give it a few years and I’m sure it will be labeled as a carcinogen), and the taste is okay. This isn’t going to win any awards, but I’m sure it will be followed by a host of organic, all-natural type people who love this ginger flavored brew.

As far as the professor goes . . .I’m still undecided – my first couple of sips weren’t too good, but by the middle of the can it got pretty good. But now as I’m finishing the last couple of sips I think it is giving me a headache.


The Professor’s Grade:  C -

Hannaford Diet Root Beer

diethannaford2Get excited now folks – this is your opportunity to read about a store-brand diet root beer! I did this review alone, as I really don’t like to expose the little professors to diet sodas. Although, for the most part this is all I drink – so my diet taste buds are actually quite refined.  Of course, I go into diet sodas in . . . what else “Diet Root Beer 101.”

When I poured the brew it had a pretty impressive root beer color and a pretty impressive head. But when I sipped this beer it went downhill pretty quick. Smack, slam, wake-up – this is one of the nastiest diet flavors that has ever been attached to a root beer.

Pretty bad stuff – but sadly I will drink the rest of the 2 liter bottle. No reason to let a bottle of aspartame go to waste.


The Professor’s Grade:  F

Diet Barq’s Root Beer

dietbarqs2Printed in big bold letters is the phrase “artificially flavored”. It almost seems like they are proud of it . . . in my “Root Beer Psychology” class, Barq’s is a case study on the false sense of “brewvado.”

I have to admit, I do like diet soda, so diet barq’s root beer stands a chance.

Every sip of this brew (I don’t know if it should even be called a brew) gets worse and worse. This actually doesn’t even taste like a root beer – it is sort of fruity with maybe a little bit of a cherry taste. The carbonation, smell, head, and color don’t really even seem to matter – because it doesn’t seem like a root beer to me.

As far as the “dietness” of the taste goes – I have had a lot worse. I don’t sense a lot of the artificial sugar taste – although it does have a bite and I guess part of that could be related to the aspartame. Oh well . . .


The Professor’s Grade:  F