This week we're rounding up everything in my root beer box with the word "red" in the name because, come on, I've got to have some sort of criteria here.
Red Arrow Root Beer
Originally sold out of Michigan beginning in the 50’s, Red Arrow is now under the Orca Beverages blanket. Based in Washington state, Orca sells all sorts of original, reclaimed, and licensed brands of soda, including that glass bottled Dad’s we had a few weeks ago.
Reminds me a very little bit of the Reading Draft Birch Beer from a few weeks ago, as its also is a mix of traditional sassafras and birch/wintergreen flavors though this is much, much heavier toward the sassafras. Some vanilla undertones. A lot going on, but not overly busy. Really quite delicious.
Old Red Eye Root Beer
The label says “Since 1948” and has a story about a the namesake bull liking the root beer recipe, but this is another Orca resurrection and there’s little information I can find on who originally made it or where. In anycase “Animals drink it! You should to!” is a weird marketing strategy.
The nose on this, and the over-powering flavor, is that of cola, not root beer. There’s a little birch maybe, and certainly a little sassafras, but if I were handed this blindly I’d guess it was a cola not a root beer. That being said, it’s a good cola and hands-down more drinkable than most gourmet colas I’ve had.
Rating: 1 as a root beer. 4 as a cola.
Red Ribbon Root Beer
Natrona Bottling Company has been making soda since 1904 out of Natrona, Pennsylvania.
Of the ones I remember trying during my birthday root beer tasting that spawned this project I liked Red Ribbon the best. In a smaller field it stands up just as well. The sassafras is a little more subdued with some anise, birch, and vanilla balancing things out. A good bite and good creaminess. Almost tastes like it’s straight from a draft, and every root beer tastes better from a draft.