While we wait for the new shipment of roots beer to arrive in the post, we spend this week in a world where I maybe care about getting diabetes from this project? Three products you can pick up in the health food department of your local supermarket, all sweetened with stevia a sugar substitute from South America.
Virgil’s Zero Root Beer
Reed’s Inc., Los Angeles, CA
I assume the promise here is that this will taste like Virgil’s Root Beer (which you may recall from Episode 3 that I love) with no calories -- a clear lie if any other diet version of any beloved soda is to be believed.
And it’s awful. A little caramel in the nose, but nothing of regular virgil’s is there and it tastes like carbonated stevia water. Which is what it is, I know, but there should be more going on with Virgil’s on the label. Trusted name, that is.
Rating: 0. I don’t want to give this 0, but the failure to even mildly approach expectations is deflating.
We press on.
Zevia Ginger Root Beer
Zevia, Los Angeles, CA
Zevia apparently is taking the Crystal Pepsi route to appear more healthy by eliminating caramel coloring in all their sodas. Lord knows what chemicals they’re adding to maintain its water-like color. This change is recent, but Zevia’s been kicking around since 2007 when its products were labeled as “carbonated stevia supplements” since the FDA had yet to approve stevia for consumption. Science marches on!
It’s clear but still has a decent head. The ginger is there, though mildly, on the nose. It’s there even more mildly on the back of the tongue. It actually has a decent bite to it, though. There is flavor here, somewhere, buried deep. It is not wholly unpalatable.
Blue Sky Zero Calorie Creamy Root Beer
Blue Sky Beverage Company, Corona, CA
Blue Sky’s been making organic soda since 1980. They were, oddly enough, purchased by Monster Energy Drinks in 2000.
Excellent head and color. This is a sensation not wholly unlike root beer. It’s creamy. It’s got a good vanilla after it’s breathed for a for minutes. A little bite to it. But you can taste the citric acid. Pour into a chilled glass and watch another episode of the Round Up before drinking. It’s still not great, but it’s not terrible.