Sammi Rae Root Beer

Bottle and Label: Brown bottle with white label. The label is pretty poorly designed with small type and a bland color scheme

Ingredients: Water, sugar, citric acid, sodium benzoate, spices, and more sugar

Smell: There’s only two words to describe the smell from the bottle: cough syrup. When poured the medicinal smell is only slightly less pronounced but is still overwhelming

Carbonation: Medium level of carbonation that offers some nice bite without being over done

Color: Almost black to a dark amber around the edges

Head: Very tall and foamy. I had to stop pouring into my tall, frosty mug to let some of the foam dissipate or it would have poured over the edges. The foam disappears very quickly after being poured

Flavor: Cough syrup. Cough syrup smell and cough syrup taste. I can’t taste anything else. If you like drinking cough syrup you would love this.

Conclusion: How can I say this nicely? Nope, I can’t. This stuff is just bad. I can usually find some redeeming qualities with a root beer. Not so here. Sammi Rae Root Beer does have a good mouth feel and nice foamy head but in the all important flavor department it is downright awful. If you enjoy the taste of cough syrup this brew should be on your short list.

RBR’s Grade- F


Bundaberg Australian Root Beer

Bottle and Label: Stubby brown bottle with orange label and a kangaroo that attests to the origins of this brew to the land down under

Ingredients: Filtered Carbonated Water, cane sugar, root beer brew (water, sugar, molasses, ginger root, sarsaparilla root, licorice root, vanilla bean, yeast), caramel color, citric acid, preservatives (potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate), antioxidant (ascorbic acid), root beer flavor

Smell: Very strong medicinal smell from the bottle. Very much like cough syrup. When poured the medicinal smell persists and also a strong wintergreen smell.

Carbonation: I tried really hard to notice the carbonation but it was really difficult because the flavor completely overwhelmed my mouth. I’d say this has a low level of carbonation with just a bit of bite.

Color: Dark brown, almost black

Head: A nice foamy head that is tall and long lasting. It nearly went over the top of my frosty mug when I poured it and it lasted for a good minute or so before dissipating down to the level of the root beer.

Flavor: Remember that cough syrup smell? Yeah, that’s also what it tastes like. Cough syrup is the only way to describe it.

Conclusion: Do you like the flavor of cough syrup? Do you drink cough syrup with your meals? Then go out and buy this root beer right now. If you think cough syrup is a disgusting invention of Satan then avoid this root beer like the plague. I’m not usually this harsh but this root beer is terrible. My wife, who often has different tastes in root been than myself, also agrees.

RBR’s Grade- F

Jones Soda Root Beer

Bottle and Label: Clear bottle and silver label. Typical for Jones but atypical for a root beer. There’s nothing particularly special about either

Ingredients: Carbonated Water, inverted cane  sugar, natural and artificial flavors,  caramel color, phosphoric acid, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate (as preservative)

Smell: The smell from the bottle is very artificial. It has a kind of maple syrupy smell to it. Very sweet and even medicinal

Carbonation: Medium-low carbonation that feels a bit flat for this brew

Color: Dark amber

Head: Very tall but fades quickly. Mostly fizz with not a lot of foam

Flavor: Odd. It is kind of fruity with a much stronger cream soda vibe than root beer. Also, it tastes fruity and has a pretty strong medicinal aftertaste.

Conclusion: I gave my wife a sip of this Jones Pure Cane Soda Root Beer while I was writing this review and she said, “That’s not root beer.” I agree. It really does not taste like root beer. Most root beers have at least some commonality in the flavor department. Maybe it’s the the licorice or wintergreen undertones that tie so many brews together. This brew just seems to be doing its own thing and still claiming the root beer label. If you want to try something different, give this a go. If you like your root beer to at least resemble root beer, I recommend spending your hard earned dough on something else.

RBR’s Grade- F

Image Credit

So Duh! Rockin’ Root Beer

Bottle and Label: Brown bottle and a bright yellow label make this an easy one to spot on a crowded shelf. Kudos for going with something other than the traditional brown label

Ingredients: Carbonated Water, cane sugar, alfalfa honey, natural flavors, sodium benzoate, phosphoric acid, natural vanilla

Smell: Very strong wintergreen smell from the bottle. Almost like wintergreen gum. There are also some slight vanilla hints from the bottle. The smell becomes strongly medicinal when poured

Carbonation: Medium carbonation offers a nice balance of smoothness and bite

Color: Very dark amber

Head: Very short to the point of almost being negligible. The head it does muster sticks around for quite awhile

Flavor: The only word I can think to describe the flavor is “odd.” It is slightly medicinal but lacks the traditional licorice and wintergreen elements that are usually found to some degree in most root beers. In fact, this tastes more like a bad Coke knock off than root beer.

Conclusion: So Duh! Rockin’ Root Beer is decidedly not “rockin’.” This is perhaps the most un-root beer root beer I have tasted yet. It has a great smell, but the flavor totally misses the mark. The more I drank of it, the more convinced I became that it reminded me of a Coke knock off. It’s a shame because I was hoping for something more with the name of this brew.

RBR’s Grade- F

Rugged Mountain Root Beer

Rugged Mountain Root Beer

Bottle and Label: Green bottle and red label that stand out from the clear and brown bottles typically found on shelves

Ingredients: Carbonated Water, evaporated cane juice, natural flavors, spices, and citric acid

Smell: Strong wintergreen smell from the bottle. When poured the smell is less wintergreen and more medicinal

Carbonation: Medium-low carbonation that is actually pretty nicely balanced. Overall a pretty good mouthfeel

Color: Clear like Sprite

Head: Medium head, fairly foamy, and does not dissipate overly rapidly

Flavor: Straight up cough syrup. Maybe the “artificial color” is what makes root beer taste like root beer (not) and they need to use it. Very medicinal and even a bit fruity. This is not grape pop. It’s not supposed to be fruity.

Conclusion: Can Rugged Mountain Root Beer even be called root beer? I guess going “all natural” in this case does not yield pleasing results. I’ve had another “all natural” brew (Maine Root) and it was quite tasty. This one is simply not good at all. I see nothing redeeming about this brew. I don’t hand my lowest grade very often, but this brew certainly earns it.

RBR’s Grade- F

Cool Mountain Root Beer

Bottle and Label: Clear bottle with nice label design featuring mountains

Ingredients: Filtered Water, pure cane sugar, natural and artificial flavors, caramel color,  phosphoric acid, sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate as a preservative

Smell: Weak smell from bottle. Licorice is barely discernible as well as a bit of a fruity smell. The syrupy, fruity smell is only stronger when poured

Carbonation: Medium-low carbonation with a nice balance of bite and smoothness. Overall, a very good mouthfeel

Color: Very dark cherry color

Head: Medium head with a nice bit of foam that dissipates very quickly

Flavor: Because the smell is weak, it takes a moment for any flavor to register. Once a flavor does register, it is almost all aftertaste. There is very little traditional root beer flavor here. There is just an odd medicinal-vanilla flavor and not much else. It’s the medicinal flavor that dominates and makes seem like the aftertaste is the only taste there is

Conclusion: This is one of the strangest tasting root beers I have encountered. It is really like there is no flavor to it other than the aftertaste. Unfortunately, the aftertaste is not enjoyable at all. I don’t hand out the “F” grade very often, but I see little to redeem this brew from its abject failure in the taste department. Unless you like oddly medicinal flavored root beers, I suggest avoiding Cool Mountain Root Beer.

RBR’s Grade- F

Filbert’s Old Time Quality Draft Root Beer

Bottle and Label: Brown bottle with a label that seems a bit on the cheap side

Ingredients: Carbonated Water, sugar and/or corn sweetner, caramel color, natural and artificial flavors, sodium benzoate (as a preservative)

Smell: The only way to describe the smell: medicinal. It smells like cough syrup

Carbonation: Medium level of carbonation with a nice bite that is not overpowering

Color: Dark brown, almost black

Head: This is without a doubt the tallest and longest lasting head I have seen on a root beer to date. It is also the foamiest. It is so long lasting that I had to wait several minutes just to pour the entire bottle into my frosty mug

Flavor:  The flavor matches the smell. This stuff tastes like it was made with cough syrup. It has very little of the traditional root beer flavorings and the flavor it does have is not appealing at all

Conclusion: Filbert’s Old Time Quality Draft Root Beer is a classic example of a brew that gets it wrong. Flavor is of utmost importance in a root beer. I can forgive odd smells, weak heads, and strange carbonation if the flavor is good. Filbert’s only get’s the head right. The flavor is simply bad. I drink root beer because I enjoy savoring the flavors of different brands. This brew does not have much to savor and thus earns a rare “F”

RBR’s grade- F


Myers Avenue Red Root Beer

Myers Avenue Red Root Beer

Bottle and Label: A very well designed and classy label make this look like a sophisticated brew even when it is just sitting on the shelf. The bottle is a simple dark brown color.

Ingredients: Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Sweetener, Caramel Color, natural and artificial flavor (Cinnamon), Phosphoric Acid, Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Sorbate as preservatives, Molasses

Smell: From the bottle this brew has a mild smell that lacks the traditional licorice and wintergreen and instead smells a bit medicinal. It maintains the medicinal smell after being poured.

Carbonation: A very light level of carbonation makes this brew very smooth, but unfortunately also leaves it feeling flat and with very little of the enjoyably bubbly mouth feel that makes drinking a carbonated beverage different from other beverages

Color: Much lighter brown than most brews. It is noticeably transparent when compared to the almost black color of most other root beers

Head: By far this brew has the largest head I have ever seen on a root beer. I use a tall frosted mug when I test and I don’t usually have to stop pouring a brew because the head is too large to fit in the mug. With Myers Avenue Red the head was so large that if I hadn’t stopped pouring it would have spilled out all over my desk. The head is also extremely long lasting and the foamiest of any root beer I have seen to date

Flavor:  This root beer has one of the oddest flavors of any I have ever tasted. Just like with the smell, the traditional root beer flavors are almost nonexistent. The dominant flavors are cinnamon and molasses. It almost reminds me of a liquid form of a molasses cookie. The molasses leaves an odd aftertaste that is both medicinal and a bit bitter

Conclusion: Myers Avenue Red Root Beer is a very unique brew. I think people who try this brew will either love it or hate it with very few falling in between. I undoubtedly fall on the “hate it” side. As I have said in other reviews, I love the traditional root beer flavor. That said, I appreciate a brew that is able to tweak that traditional formula a bit to add their own twist. Unfortunately, this brew twists the formula too much and the result is something that says “root beer” on the bottle but that tastes nothing like root beer. Myers Avenue earns the rare and dubious distinction of being awarded the lowest grade on our rating scale but if you like molasses and cinnamon you might want to give this brew a go

My RBR’s Grade- F

Barq’s Root Beer

Bottle and Label: Clear bottle and blue label make it easy to distinguish on a shelf crowded with brown bottles and labels.

Ingredients: Carbonated water,  high fructose corn syrup and/or sucrose, caramel color, sodium benzoate, citric acid, caffeine, artificial and natural flavors, acacia.

Smell: Smell is weak and it is difficult to distinguish any noticeable characteristics. There seems to be a bit of wintergreen smell, but it is very weak.

Carbonation: Very little carbonation leaves this brew tasting flat.

Color: Pleasing, dark brown color that is slightly transparent.

Head: Very tall head that also dissipates very quickly

Flavor: Barq’s root beer has a very mainstream flavor in that it is hard to find much in it to really savor. Much like the carbonation, the flavor is flat and leaves a slightly metallic aftertaste. There is not much else to say. Barq’s simply misses the mark in the flavor department.

Conclusion: Barq’s is one of those brews I drank as a kid when my parents would occasionally buy cases of it to drink on hot summer days on the farm. As a kid on a hot day, Barq’s was just fine. Well, times have changed. Barq’s is a mainstream root beer, but it falls short of my standard mainstream root beer, A&W. A&W, despite being largely artificial, still tastes pretty good. Barq’s is simply bland and has no redeeming qualities. This is one brew where I can, without hesitation, say avoid this beverage.

RBR’s Grade- F

Round Barn Root Beer


Round Barn Root Beer

Bottle and Label: Brown bottle with a nicely designed label featuring a popular Route 66 landmark in Oklahoma.

Ingredients: Carbonated water,  high fructose corn syrup, caramel color, citric acid, natural and artificial flavor, and sodium benzoate as a preservative.

Smell: As much as I tried, I could not distinguish any smell at all from the bottle. After pouring in my frosted mug, I still could not detect any smell other than something that was a bit like dirt.

Carbonation: Medium level of carbonation with a nice bite.

Color: One of the lightest brews that I have seen. It is transparent even when it is not held up to the light. Still, it is a pleasing dark amber color.

Head: Short head, not too foamy, but it lasts for a good while.

Flavor: I think this is the first brew that I have truly not wanted to taste again after the first sip. The brew has an odd aftertaste that reminds me of dirt. The aftertaste lingers long after the beverage is swallowed. I taste very little in terms of the traditional flavors that make a root beer. If those flavors are present, they are overpowered by the taste of dirt.

Conclusion: I have posted in the past how fond I am of Pop’s. It is a great store with a good restaurant and an awesome selection of pops from around the world. Unfortunately, whoever thought up the recipe for their signature root beer needs to be taken out back to the woodshed until they repent of this travesty. Round Barn Root Beer earns the dubious distinction of being the very first root beer I have reviewed to have no redeeming qualities. You read that right, I see nothing good about this brew. Avoid this root beer at all costs. If you come across it, buy some A&W Root Beer instead, at least then you will have something to drink that resembles actual root beer.

RBR’s Grade- F