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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Teddy's Root Beer

The Kibbitzer-In-Chief is a truly diligent and dedicated Weird Soda researcher, especially for someone who doesn’t like soda. At the conclusion of last night’s burrito run, as we waited for the talented chefs at Super Taco to put the final touches on their culinary confections, she decided to zip next door to the dollar store for some sundries. She came back with said sundries, as well as what looked like a forty-ounce container of cheap booze. This was, to say the least, surprising (none of the Lab staff drink a lot of alcohol). However, she revealed to me that she had, in fact, found a Weird Soda masquerading as cheap booze. I love this woman!
What she found was Teddy’s Root Beer. It has some impressive credentials:

--It was found at a Dollar Tree
--It comes in a one-liter brown plastic bottle with a screw-on cap
--The label has a picture of Teddy Roosevelt (I think) on it
--The manufacturer is listed as the “Unique Beverage Company”, in Everett
--The back of the label provides a two-sentence summary of the history of root beer, including this gem: “Root Beer is now enjoyed as a soft drink or as the main ingredient in Root Beer floats”. It also claims to be handcrafted, and “made from only the finest ingredients”. Based on the ingredients list, I have a mental image of sun-tanned laborers in the fields, harvesting the Natural and Artificial Flavorings (Chemicus syntheticus) with great skill and care, then bringing them by hand truck (with pneumatic tires, lest too-harsh jostling bruise their delicate leaves) into the cool, oak-beamed stone brewing house, where they are gently stirred into copper kettles with the High-Fructose Corn Syrup imported from Peruvian mountain farms. The brewmaster, a wizened man who stoops about the brewhouse with a knurled hickory staff, inspects the mixture and determines the exact amount of Gum Arabic to add to produce the carefully nuanced blend of flavors we’d expect in a handcrafted, premium root beer.

I think I like this stuff.

Where and When: purchased 3/27/09 at Dollar Tree, Vista, CA
Color: very dark brown, kind of a pretty garnet when light shines through it
Scent: spicy, rootbeerlike, complex. Scents of cinnamon, maybe anise. I do like the smell of root beer.
Taste: A bit sweeter than it smells. Slightly tart for a root beer, but not obtrusively so, and with a lot of mellowness to balance it out. Kind of similar to A & W. Kind of a taste of marshmallow to it, in a good way. There’s a slight note of something menthol-ish—it’s similar to birch beer.

While I like root beer, I am not widely experienced with it. This is a pleasant, fairly strong root beer, not as complex as some, but pretty nice. Given the packaging and source, I feel a little like I bought some Gallo Bros. boxed wine, and it came out like a medium-priced Kendall Jackson chardonnay. It’s better than I would have expected, which makes me happy.

Quaff rating: 3. Pretty pleasant.
Cough rating: 1. The cinnamon-mint-treebarkiness of root beer could be unpleasant with the wrong foods.

21 comments:

  1. I purchased this root beer just yesterday and was impressed by the flavor. It was a delightful tasting root beer for such a low price. I purchased mine at our local grocery store for roughly a dollar. I read the label also after tasting it, what a surprize that such a cheap root beer would taste so good. So, I googled it to see where the manufacturer is located, I was that intrigued and came across your article.

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  2. I first bought Teddy's Root Beer in a local grocery store for about $1.29. I loved it it! Then just recently I saw it at the Dollar Tree Store and bought about 8 of them. I am adicted to this stuff. I like root beer anyway, and A & W is/was my favorite. But now........!

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  3. Teddy's is an oddly impressive root beer-another great root beer is Dad's. Usually you can find it at Big Lots

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  4. I think you nailed it about some A&W marshmellows and sweeter then it smells...and it's much better then expected and that's makes you happy.

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  5. Bought two large plastic bottles. When I opened the first one, it sprayed in every direction like nothing I have seen before. I took much greater caution with the second. Had I not, I would have encountered the same result.

    Lost a significant amount of product due to the spray upon opening. BE CAREFUL WHEN OPENING!

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  6. this is manufactured in a 35 year old A & W plant in Everett, WA that shares space with Unique Beverage. Hence the A & W like qualities...most certainly a slightly different recipe or perhaps an old A & W recipe, who knows? It's just good - the after taste is wintergreen...nice!

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  7. I am 68 and can remember how A&W root beer tasted and how it has along the way lost some of the rich taste it once had. Teddy's root beer has brought back the old A&W richness. Thanks

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  8. Teddy's is my favorite brand of root beer, I found it in an Oregon WinCo a few months back, and loved how it has a bite to it, but is still nicer than Barqs. And I love the 1-liter bottle size for $1

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  9. I bought the diet version at the Gocery Outlet for 88 cents a bottle. We buy it by the case.

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  10. I started buying Teddy's Rootbeer at a Dollar Tree in Edgewood, WA...then I found it at Fred Meyer in Sumner, WA...along with diet, and orange flavor, $1. Then we found WinCo carried it for 88cents, along with the diet and other flavors but it is hit and miss weather they have it or not. We love it alone, as floats or with whipped vodka!

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    Replies
    1. Whipped vodka?
      You shouldn't abuse your alcohol, and whipping is clearly abuse by anyone's standards.

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  11. It explodes when you open it! Be careful! Sprayed everywhere, so bad in fact I couldn't help cracking up laughing, me and my carpet got completely soaked with cream soda! Good stuff though!

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  12. I am from Seattle but am hanging out in Oceanside, when I googled for "Teddys rootbeer socal" your page came up. The stuff is usually carried at Albertsons, but here they have Dad's Rootbeer instead.

    Anyways I enjoyed the review: if you know where to find it in the Oceanside-Carlsbad-Vista area, or anywhere in North County please let me know!

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    Replies
    1. I don't know of a reliable source. I found it at Dollar Tree, but their stock changes a lot.

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  13. Found this at the local grocery store in Panama City, Panama. I am having lunch and washing it down with this stuff. Pretty good but a bit too sweet.

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  14. I found this at the local Plaid Pantry for a buck and it changed my root beer tastes! I used to think Weinhard's made a good root beer but it seems almost flat and flavorless in comparison. We did a bit of a taste test at home with the different root beers we could find at the local stores, including a couple of organic ones, and Teddy consistently came out on top. Barqs and Mug will do in a pinch, and I will NEVER buy Santa Cruz organic root beer again, but Teddy's is my fav! Only problem? Plaid Pantry keeps running out, the few groceries stores around here don't carry it, but I have yet to check WinCo. If they have it I'll buy a case!

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  15. I have been finding my supply of Teddy's at Fred Meyer (which one I will keep secret). I really, really, really love this stuff; so much so, I buy it 24 cases at a time. Why? Because my local Fred Meyer only has it now and then and when it’s been on the shelf for about 3 days, they pull whatever is left over and ship it out. I am diabetic and should not drink any "regular" sodas, but diet root beer tastes horrible. Dilemma solution… I mix it half & half (usually 6 to 8 bottles at a time) The bottles which have been mixed I switch the white & black caps to that a mixed bottle has a black cap with a white ring or vice versa. This root beer is soooo good, one can even drink it warm or even after is has gone a little flat.

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  16. I found TEDDY'S Root Beer at the Tractor Supply store in Georgetown, Texas today. Tractor Supply is a farm and ranch supply place - anythng you need for your farm or ranch - it's there. Feed for all types of animals, motorized equipment - you name it.
    Anyway, bought 2 bottles of RB, 1 each of Creme Soda and Orange Cream (the saleslady said the OC tastes like an old fashioned orange popsicle - we'll see.
    But the RB is the best I've had in years.

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  17. I was looking for some trailer ramps at Tractor Supply in Edmond, Oklahoma and saw several different types of Teddy's soft drinks. I purchased a bottle of the Root Beer and shared it with my wife who is definitely not a soda drink lover. She said that she likes the taste. I am a soda freak, and this is the best root beer that I have ever tasted. I will return to Tractor Supply, and plan on purchasing all the root beer they have, and will try the Creme Soda and whatever else they have on hand as well.

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  18. there is nothing traditional rich and creamy or classic about sucralose in your drink.
    danger Will Robinson.
    this is poison.

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    Replies
    1. If you don't want sucralose in your drink don't drink anything with "Diet" in the name. Sucralose isn't the only "artificial sweetener" poison being used. The non diet root beer doesn't have the artificial sweeteners, it has HFCS. (High Fructose Corn Syrup), which in itself isn't terrible in small quantities.I'd rather have good old fashioned cane sugar in my drinks but that's been proven to be bad for us so we're stuck with alternatives that are worse.
      That being said, Teddy's is the best tasting root beer I've had since I was a kid half a century ago. My favorite root beer then was Frosty and I haven't seen that since before pull tab cans were introduced. (Yes, it's been a long time). Of course nothing in a can or bottle could compare to getting a real soda at the soda fountain for 10¢ on Main Street but those days are but a fading memory. Teddy's does remind me of the good root beer flavor I liked so many years ago, no others even come close.

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