Bottle and Label: Bottle is brown with a plain, but eye-catching, label that can’t help but catch your eye when you walk past it. The font and catch-phrases on the label make it appear to be marketed to young males.
Ingredients: Carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, molasses, citric acid, caramel color, caffeine, natural and artificial flavors, herbal blend consisting of American, Siberian, and Korean Ginseng, Jasmine, Clove, Doug Quai (Angelica), Skullcap (Mad Dog Weed), African Capsicum, Kava Kava, Ginko Bilboa, Goth Kola, Goldenseal, Echinaciea, Reishi, & Shitake & Cordyceps, Sodium Benzoate to preserve taste. (WHEW! That is the longest ingredient list I have ever seen in Root Beer)
Smell: strong root beer smell
Carbonation: This brew has a mild to moderate level of carbonation with just a slight bite
Color: When poured color is a medium shade of brown-not watery looking, but not coffee looking either
Head: This brew has a small, light head when poured
Flavor: This brew has a solid traditional root beer flavor. It reminds me a little bit of Barq’s in a can. However, it does not have the level of bite and carbonation of Barq’s (a good thing). Flavor has a hint of wintergreen and a very slightly bitter aftertaste.
Conclusion: I must confess, I’m a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to root beer. I tend to favor brews with a straight-forward flavor and as few ingredients as possible. Rat Bastard goes completely the opposite direction. Everything from the bottle to the ingredients is designed to appeal to those who favor more contemporary drinks (especially energy drinks). While I was wary of any brew that marketed itself as an energy drink, Rat Bastard was a pleasant surprise with its solid traditional flavor with just a bit of complexity thrown in to make you come back for more. Don’t be put off by this brew’s unconventional marketing, while it may not appeal to the hard-core root beer lover, it offers enough flavor and the right marketing to bring the casual drinker and the afficianado to the same table.
RBR’s Grade- B-