Mr Z's Soda Reviews
Abita Root Beer*: Delicious. It’s sweeter than all the other root beers.
Barrel Brothers Creamy Vanilla Root Beer*: Oh. My. Goodness. For two years, I neglected to try this root beer. Why? One time, just once, I was told it wasn’t good. Phooey. I recently tried it. This may have won my heart as the best root beer! It’s definitely creamy and the vanilla is right there at the front of the sip. Not everyone has the same tastes. (Zinger!) Take the risk and decide for yourself what you like. But I’m telling you right now…you’re going to like this one.
Barton Springs Root Beer: Made in Austin, TX. That’s a good start. Like their cola, noticeable hints of vanilla lurk and it didn’t seem to quite blend with the other ingredients. Maybe it was just the one bottle I had. Made with pure cane sugar, so that’s cool.
Bawls Root Beer: There aren’t many root beers that have caffeine. Bawls does. Maybe because of its caffeine content, but it’s a little difficult to pick out all the flavors in it. Surely not bad. It is well balanced and doesn’t have a bad aftertaste. If you like a bite, it has little. Formerly called “G33K B33R”. There’s nothing geeky about this ballsy root beer. Hwa-cha!
Boylan’s Root Beer: It’s been a while since I had it, but I don’t remember anything bad about it. As I mentioned above, Boylan’s sodas are lightly carbonated. Some people may turn away because of that, but it’s easier to drink with less.
Brownie’s Creamy Caramel Root Beer*: First thing you’ll notice is how creamy the taste is. Way creamier than Barrel Brothers. Well, first thing you might actually notice is the cool label. If you can taste what you see, then you know you’ll like this one. And the caramel! My oh my. The flavor just sings with lush milky caramel. It is a root beer, so don’t think it’s mislabeled. That caramel lingers in the aftertaste. Probably one of the few sodas where the aftertaste may be better than the sip.
Bundaberg Root Beer: Imported from Australia. A lot of people like it. And it comes in a cool little barrel bottle. However, I didn’t like it. Maybe too much licorice? Yeah, that’s it. Alas, this is yet another one you’ll have to decide for yourself.
Dog n Suds Root Beer: It’s not something I’d never drink again, but it wouldn’t be my “go-to”. It just didn’t have as much “umph” that the other root beers have. However, Dog n Suds is a piece of American history from the old drive-ins and hot dog stands of Indiana. Maybe I just need to eat a hot dog with this.
Dominion Root Beer*: It’s made with pure honey and that definitely shines after the taste. Very nice.
Hanks Root Beer*: “Gourmet” draft root beer. It’s a bit more “full” tasting than some of the other root beers and has stronger hints of vanilla. This was the first root beer I’ve tried here and I still recommend it.
Henry Weinhard’s Root Beer*: It’s a draught style root beer and it’s well made. To me, nothing is too prominent in there. It’s just a good root beer that makes you say “Man, that’s a good root beer!”. And I just tried it again a year later. Still good. Very foamy when you pour it.
Jack Black’s Dead Red Root Beer*: I’m not entirely sure, but I think this has more caffeine than Bawls. This is another great root beer I recommend. (Again, don’t drink anything caffeinated if you’re not supposed to. Don’t be stupid.) The only problem is that the caffeine content is so high, it gets in the way of how truly great the recipe is. I’ve heard that shouldn't affect flavor. But I think I've been lied to. Jack Blacks Root Beer is still one of my favorites, tough
Maine Root Beer*: It’s organic and fantastic. A lot of labels say “hand made” and it’s tough to believe all of them. But Maine Root Beer really tastes like someone just crafted its sweet recipe by hand, poured it into a bottle, and then handed it to you.
Pop Shoppe Root Beer: Because of my memorable visits to Canada when I was young, it’s tough for me to diss Pop Shoppe. It’s a big favorite for many. Meh.
Rat Bastard Root Beer: For those of you easily offended by the name, just don’t mind the label. Rat Bastard is one of the best root beers you could try. Honestly. It’s good and I haven’t heard anyone say otherwise. If you’re uncomfortable with the label, just tear it off and throw away the cap.
Route 66 Root Beer: It’s good.
Saranac Root Beer*: It’s the best root beer ever made and the flavor will make you a superhero. That’s a slight exaggeration, most likely due to the fact I’m from NY. Sincerely, this is a good root beer. Sadly not made with pure cane sugar, but it is politely sweet.
Triple XXX Root Beer: Yeah, it’s good. Some nice hints of spice in there. One of “John’s Favorites”.
Triple AAA Root Beer: It hasn't been made for 27 years. It’s great that it’s back, but I feel like it stopped for a reason. It wasn't that good. However, I have been told that the first new batch that was released wasn't quite perfect. Well, these things happen. I guess.
Virgil’s Root Beer: Didn't like it. It had a buttery flavor and it has a bad aftertaste. However, I know this is actually one of the owner’s favorites. So, you’ll have to decide for yourself.
Virgil’s Bavarian Root Beer*: Yes! It’s glorious. Really. All natural ingredients, imported water from some Bavarian lake, and the perfect accent of nutmeg. No bad aftertaste or weirdness that the regular Virgil’s had. And! It comes in a wicked cool swing lid bottle. Totally worth it.
Jackson Hole Sarsaparilla: All the sarsaparillas are pretty similar, but this one is just slightly ahead.
Sioux City Sarsaparilla*: Best sarsaparilla. Sioux City is yet another brand you can trust in.
Boylan’s Creamy Red Birch*: Yes, you will find “*” next to each Boylan’s soda. I love all of them. Birch beer, to me, is like a mellow root beer or sarsaparilla. And although it’s not really creamy, it does make this birch beer even more tamed than others. After tasting some other birch beers we have, Boylans Creamy Red Birch is a bit creamier than the others.
Lurch Birch: Some people say it’s the best birch beer and that it has the most bite of all. Meh. It tasted just like regular root beer to me.
Sioux City Birch Beer: Delicious. Very mellow.
Curiosity Cola: Fentiman’s sodas are great, except for the abnormal stuff they add in. Curiosity Cola is basically a good cola with a prominent ginger root in it. It will probably throw you off a bit at first, and then you’ll have to decide if you actually like it.
Dr. Pepper Real Cane Sugar: I’m not going to talk about the whole Dublin issue. What we should be thankful for is that the drink is still here and it tastes the same; just has a different parent. The only reason this doesn’t get a “*” is because it doesn’t have as much pepper as the normal Dr. Pepper. And that bothered me. But for an old school Pep soda with real cane sugar, it’s worth trying.
Fukola “Foo Koh Lah”*: It has everything a cola should have and they did a great job balancing all the ingredients. Really. There’s a lot in there. Just a little spiced. It’s not just a fun name, it’s a superior cola.
Jolt Cola: It’s a good cola. But it’s only lightly carbonated, so don’t expect it to be like Coca Cola or Pepsi. The flavor is good. But the main thing is the caffeine. That’s what it’s all about. I remember Jolt from my childhood (the 90s) and that was before they stopped stocking it at the grocery store.
Mexi Coca Cola*: It has real sugar and it’s in a glass bottle. Enough sad. It’s more “old school” Coca Cola than the ones you see on the shelf at the grocery store.
Moxie: Tastes like nothing you’ve ever had. Some people say it’s like a cola. Others say it’s like a pepper soda. I still don’t know. I will say that it wasn’t bad. But you’ll just have to try it for yourself and decide what it is.
Americana Orange Cream*: Remember that orange popsicle? Orangsicle? Whatever. This is exactly that. It’s not as strong carbonated as the Huckleberry, but, come on, it’s emulating an ice cream pop. Americana Honey Cream: This is the third Americana I’ve tried. Although it’s not as boldly flavored as the Huckleberry and Orange Cream, it does have a modest honey flavor as well as some hints of vanilla.
Faygo Vanilla Crème: It’s a neat soda. I’m not using “neat” as in “cool”. I mean it’s an overall okay soda. I’d like more vanilla, but it’s already more vanilla than other crèmes.
Americana Huckleberry*: Fantastic. This is the best alternative from grape sodas. Huckleberry tastes similar to a grape, but with the tartness of a raspberry. Unlike most grape sodas, this is pretty well carbonated and perfect for a soda you just want to relax with and enjoy. Plus, there’s not even a hint of a bad aftertaste!
Boylan’s Grape*: The deep flavor is right up there with NEHI grape. But there’s a little more bite here.
Cheerwine*: Sweet. It’s the sweetest cherry soda ever. And it’s not “black” cherry, which are most cherry sodas I’ve seen. Cane sugar. It’s pretty hard to find outside of North Carolina. Along with NEHI, I think Cheerwine has the largest following. It’s just easy to like. I will warn you now, if you’re even remotely considering the Diet Cheerwine, drink the Diet version first before the regular Cheerwine. You will hate yourself if you try Diet Cheerwine after drinking the real thing.
Diet Cheerwine: Well, it tastes like a diet soda. It’s still good, though. I warn all you regular Cheerwine drinkers that you probably won’t like the diet; it’s not as beautifully sweet as the regular one. But if you haven’t tried regular Cheerwine, and you’re watching your sugar intake, try this Diet Cheerwine first.
Delaware Punch*: It’s not carbonated. For those of you wondering, it tastes similar to a fruit punch or Hawaiian punch. This is one of the most hard to find drinks ever. We have it. It’s a Louisiana drink and, believe me, there are some loyal Delaware Punch drinkers. It’s deliciously sweet! What’s odd is that it’s owned by Coca Cola Company; so why is it so difficult to find? That’s funny because a representative from the Coke came to the shop one day, just stopping by to see things, and said “Delaware Punch? I didn’t even know we owned this”.
Empire Banana: Good. I like it. Most people like it. The banana flavor is more like Laffy Taffy’s Banana flavor.
Frostie Cherry Limeade: Neither the cherry nor lime was strong enough for me to try again.
Mountain Dew: Yeah! Finally. Mountain Dew is back with pure cane sugar. For all us who do the Dew, it’s either been in plastic bottles or aluminum cans. I like sodas in aluminum cans. I do. Drinking Mountain Dew from the glass bottle is delicious. It’s a different experience. It’s slightly unfamiliar variation because I grew up with the aluminum can. But this is history. Still, I kinda prefer the Dew in the aluminum can. Cray cray. I know.
NEHI Grape*: This is pretty much the only grape soda I like. (Besides Boylan Grape.) It’s strong flavored and there’s no bad aftertaste. Go for it. Pretty much anything NEHI is good.
NEHI Orange: It’s good. The only reason why it doesn’t get a “*” is because it’s hard to beat Orange Crush.
NEHI Peach**: Yeah, that’s right. I did two “*”. It’s that good. Tastes just like the fuzzy fruit.
Sprecher Red Apple: Sweet. Syrupy. Deep red apple flavor. Like a candy red apple.
Mexi-Squirt: My favorite grapefruit soda. It’s so tangy! And the bite from the carbonation just makes Squirt a punch in the face. Well, maybe not in your own face. That would suck. And this is a good drink. So, maybe it’s more like a punch in someone else’s face. Yeah. Plus, it has a cool twisty bottle.
Waialua Pineapple: It was good, but I wish it had a stronger pineapple flavor. Imported from Hawaii.
Zombie Brain Juice: If the label sounds “totally gross”, then it’s probably Avery’s. I’ve tried this soda twice. The first time was great! The experience was similar to Americana Huckleberry; I could just sip and relax with it. Strawberry and orange is a good combination here. Avery’s is not juicy, it’s sugary sweet and glorious. But the second time I had it, it tasted watered down. Would I try it a third time? Yes. It wouldn’t be fair to rule it out so quickly.
Americana Honey Lime Ginger Ale: Americana makes fine sodas. I love them. This ginger ale was pretty strong, but I wish it had more lime. The honey must have been hiding because I didn’t taste it at all. I forgive them tough. It’s tough being perfect.
Blenheim Ginger Ale: Before I started working here, I loved Canada Dry ginger ale. It’s as basic as possible without becoming water. Blenheim is the first soda I tried here…..fire! Yes, unknown to me, it is our “spiciest” ginger ale. If you can get pass the burn, it really is a great drink. Some people will even add some pepper flavor to it!
Boylan’s Ginger Ale*: After my Blenheim mishap, I was determined to find a ginger ale similar to Canada Dry. Here it is. The most basic ginger ale we have. The most special thing I’ll say about it is that it tastes a little like the glass it’s in. I’m perfectly fine with that; it’s a nice reminder that I’m not drinking from a plastic bottle or an aluminum can.
Bundaberg Ginger Beer*: My favorite ginger beer. You can see the pieces of ginger just floating around inside the cool barrel bottle. At least I hope that’s ginger. Tastes like ginger. It’s my favorite because it’s sweet. Yes, sweeter than any other ginger beer. I like that.
Cock n Bull Ginger Beer: The ginger beers and ales I've tried each have something unique in their flavors. Cock n Bull is pretty strong, but it’s not as grassy as AJ’s Stephans. I've had it straight out of the bottle, but I've heard it’s the best for mixers.
Sprecher Ginger Ale: Here’s the thing. If you like ginger root, then you’ll like the Sprecher ginger Ale. Otherwise, you’re gonna have a bad time.
Vernors Ginger Ale: It’s good. There’s something about it that different from other ginger ales. It has a bit stronger ginger root than some and there’s a bit of a “glass” taste. If you want to make a Michigan resident happy, buy him/her a Vernors.
Bawls Cherry*: It’s clear! This is the third Bawls soda I’ve tried and it is by far my favorite so far. It’s made with high fructose syrup, which is a little bummer. But it’s way too good to dismiss. It has only 90 calories, the cherry flavor is not overpowering, and the bottle is cool enough to be a trophy.
Bawls Guarana Exotic Blue: Bawls is a high caffeinated energy soda. This one is, obviously, guarana berry flavor. Some people don’t like the flavor, but isn’t it sometimes tough to embrace something new the first time? And don’t be afraid of the caffeine content; compared to what FDA recommends, you’d have to drink 6 of these 10oz bottles to reach their “limit”.
Espresso Manhattan Special*: I don’t drink coffee that much, but this makes me want to. It’s brewed from real coffee beans and it’s delicious. It may throw you off at first because it’s carbonated, but just focus in on the flavor. And remember to swirl it a bit before you open it or else your last few sips will be way bitter.
Leninade: It’s a pink lemonade that is light on carbonation. It’s not a bad lemonade soda, but I wasn’t a fan. However, the labeling is hilarious. It’s definitely something to keep after you drink.
Lester’s Ranch Dressing: Absolutely the worst soda ever.
Lester’s Peanut Butter & Jelly: To me, it doesn’t taste like PBJ. I also haven’t had many PBJ sandwiches in my life so far. Some people have said they really liked it and that it tastes just like PBJ. Eh.
Lester’s Sweet Corn: The only Lesters I was okay with. There’s this kind of buttery plastic flavor in it, but what could I honestly expect from Sweet Corn Soda? It does taste like corn. And it’s made with real cane sugar.
Lester’s Bacon: Smells like bacon grease. Tastes close to bacon. Is it good? Well, what am I honestly supposed to say here? It’s bacon flavored soda.
Ale81: It’s a ginger ale similar to Boylan’s ginger ale. This one has a bit more ginger root flavor, but not nearly as strong as Sprecher.
Waialua Mango*: It’s currently our only mango soda and it’s pretty good. It has the similar faintness of flavor that the pineapple has, but Waialua Mango is slightly more enjoyable.
Squamscot Maple Cream*: Similar to the other Squamscots, it has that artificial experience. However, this is the only maple soda we have and it’s good. Reminds me of home.
Sprecher Root Beer*: This is another one of the best root beers you’ll have. Enjoyable.
Sioux City Prickly Pear*: Have you ever had cactus juice? This tastes just like it, but carbonated. It’s a bit filling, so it may take a while to drink. But the flavor is sweet and tastes like a light berry.
Ramune*: Imported from Japan, Ra-mu-ne is a lightly citrus type soda. Here’s the low down: 1) It’s a good soda. 2) It has wicked cool (but small) bottle. 3) You actually have to “pop” the top to drink it. I’m not kidding. There’s a glass marble you have to pop out (rather “into” the bottle) to drink this thing. So it’s a good drink and it’s fun.
Ting*: Ting is another grapefruit soda. All grapefruit sodas are good. The only other thing I can say about Ting is that it’s from Jamaica. And that makes it slightly cooler than the others.
Old Rhode Island Molasses Root Beer*: Best. Root beer. Ever. The molasses is just a modest hint of flavor, so don’t think you need a spoon to drink this.
Langers Chocolate: It’s similar to Cocofizz (neither are creamy), but its chocolate flavor is a bit stronger.
Lemmy Lemonade*: Lemmy is the best carbonated lemonade soda you’ll find. It has a tiny bit of lemon juice in it, but it’s the perfect amount.
Kutztown Root Beer*: This is another root beer I often recommend. It’s not like it’s the best thing ever, but it’s a nice medium root beer. If you’re usually hesitant about drinking root beer, try it.
Henry Weinhard’s Vanilla Cream*: Yes. This is, by far, the best cream soda I’ve tried. The vanilla flavor is strong, the mixture is definitely creamy, and it gives you a full feeling. My shout out here goes to Steve. He’s really in to A&W’s Cream Soda, but he’s hooked on this one too. “It tastes just like it!”
Hanks Vanilla Crème: It has that “full” taste experience like Hanks Root Beer, but it’s otherwise similar to Faygo Vanilla Crème.
Cocofizz: It’s a chocolate soda, but not creamy. The flavor is more like a Tootsie roll.
Bubble Up*: Lemon/lime soda. It’s refreshing and not as complicated as 7up or Sprite. It’s one of the few sodas that, when I’m done with it, I’ll say a healthy “awh”.
Toxic Slime: This is the third Avery’s I have tried and it’s the same sweet quality as the others. Despite being blue in color, which is cool, it tastes more like cotton candy. Blue raspberry and orange.
Jones Green Apple*: Oh. It’s a favorite. Delicious.
Apple Beer: It’s all natural. That’s neat. And they make Barrel Brothers Creamy Vanilla Root Beer. So that’s cool. I really liked that one. So I tried Apple Beer. It’s good, but I didn’t really taste much apple.
Boylan’s Crème*: So good! You just can’t go wrong with Boylan’s sodas! I’m so excited! Boylan’s Crème has a really nice caramelish vanilla flavor. Boylan’s Shirley Temple: Seasonal release. First off, I like ginger ales. I like cherries. I like Boylan’s sodas. Bam. And they did a great job balancing the two in this one.
IBC Root Beer*: Do I really need to write a review for this? It’s IBC. Drink it. If you’re standing in front of our coolers and you can’t decide, you have four options: A) Choose one that has “favorite” blue ribbon sticker on it. B) Ask for assistance. C) Cry. (Not recommended.) D) Just get IBC.
AJ Stephans Ginger Beer: Jamaican Style! Grass. I like the smell of fresh cut grass. I like ginger. This is good if you like both.
Candy Cane Train: I like it. I hear people say “it’s too sweet”. Boo. Hoo. It’s Christmas time. Christmas=sweet stuff=awesome time. And it’s more like sugary candy than a peppermint candy cane. Capt’n Eli Blueberry: I love blueberries. They used to grow outside my home. I’ve even had real blueberry juice. This soda is….I’m going to go with that this is probably the closest real blueberry flavor a soda will get.
Christmas Mint: Similar to Candy Cane Train, this one gives you a sweet kick of sugar. And it’s green! Minty! It’s more sugary than minty and it tastes great. For something you can only get around Christmas time, it could be a traditional soda that you must try each year.
Cricket’s White Peach Green Tea: I like it. All natural. Really. Like, you have to turn over the bottle for a good while until all the good stuff at the bottom remixes with the water. But when you finally get to drink it, you’ll taste light white peach followed by a honey-ish green tea. The carbonation may through you off at first, but its bite gives the peach flavor more presence.
Empire Spruce: Pine trees. If you like pine trees or super minty stuff, you’ll like this. It was way too strong for me to take more than a few sips.
Jackson Hole Huckleberry: No. The label is a lie. Americana Huckleberry tastes like huckleberry. Why can’t Jackson Hole? This one tastes like cotton candy.
Jeff’s Chocolate Egg Cream*: The. Best. The chocolate is so smooth and the texture is very creamy. You should turn over the bottle to help mix back the recipe, but don’t shake because there is a little bit of carbonation.
Mexican Sprite: There’s a distinct glass flavor in this. I’m not against it, but I’ve never really noticed “glass” in these other sodas. Still, Mexi-Sprite still has that lemon/lime flavor. And it’s made with pure cane sugar. That helps.
Mexican Pepsi: I like warm Pepsi. Room temperature; not like in a boiling tea kettle. And I haven’t liked Pepsi since the recipe changed somewhere in the 90s. This Pepsi, in a glass bottle, was close enough.
Saint Arnold Root Beer*: It’s good. Kinda sweet. Not a lot. I like it better than Weinhard’s, which is also made in Texas.
Tommy Knocker Root Beer*: Dear Maple, it would be awesome if you were in more sodas. I really like this one. The root beer flavor is great. Right on. But the maple…That maple knows the real mark of greatness is in the aftertaste; what lingers after your sip. Just when you think Tommy Knocker couldn’t be a better root beer, maple comes along and hangs out with you for a little while. Like a signature. Like your best friend, who was at your party the whole time, but waited until the end to chat up with you because there were so many other cool friends there.