The birthday box is empty! These are the last three left our initial root beer investment. 63 varieties ain’t bad, but rest assured, there’s more on the way.
Norka Root Beer
Norka Food and Beverage LLC, Akron, OH
The original Norka brand - that’s Akron spelt backwards, eh? eh? - produced a wide variety of soda from 1924 to 1962. Akron resident Michael Considine decided to borrow the name for his new company just this year. Unfortunately, Considine couldn’t find the original Norka recipes. Well, maybe not unfortunately? I’ve never had the originals to compare.
Kind of wish I had, because I imagine it was nothing like this. A deep, almost cocoa flavor with a little licorice herbal underneath. The cocoa-ness is accentuated by the vanilla and creaminess. A very mild bite. Not bad, and fairly unique.
Reading Draft Root Beer
Reading Draft Birch Beer, Inc., Reading, PA
We sampled Reading Draft’s various birch beers on our first birch beer episode, so it’s about time we give their root beer a try.
Back in episode four I said that their brown birch beer tasted like a mix of birch and traditional root beers but favoring the birch. This is the opposite. There’s a lot of birch/wintergreen flavor, but there’s more sassafras. Good creaminess to it though; tastes very much like a draft root beer should. But it leaves an almost sort of chalky feeling in my mouth as an aftertaste, almost like I’d just eaten a Root Beer flavored Bottlecaps candy.
Avery’s Root Beer
Avery’s Beverages, New Britain, CT
Sherman F. Avery started making soda in 1904 in a red barn on Crobin Avenue in New Britain, CT. The company is still family owned, as is the barn, where the soda is still produced.
Definitely the heaviest toward licorice of the bunch, with a very deep herbal flavor. But also the creamiest with a rich draft flavor.