After failed attempts to clarify how the wacky Germans mix sodas, the Soda Jerk guys asked me to stop sending emails and in a "put up or shut up " like invitation asked me to write a review. Now first off you need to realize I'm in Europe and American commodities have their price. After a few years of residence you soon learn to live without things you never imagined you'd miss. Like Root Beer!
Some of the upscale supermarkets sell US stuff in a limited section at the end of an aisle at outlandish prices. My daughter had been shopping and mentioned seeing Root Beer and I suddenly had a hankering for it so I made the 15 minute trip (to Kaufhof) only to find out that either she was hallucinating, or they were sold out. Well after coming this far, I was not giving up. I then went 10 minutes further to their competitor (Karstadt) in the central shopping district and found these brown 12oz cans of Stars and Stripes for... get this $2,05 per can. Flush with my Christmas bonus I bought 4 cans. The last time I had Root Beer was probably 3 years back so I splurged.
This is indeed a US product and the can is marked for deposit in many US states. I haven't found but one German who tried and liked Root Beer. Germans travel to the US a lot and many have had the experience and it's always a negative one. "Bahh" (eng.=Yuck) Apparently they relate the taste to medicine.
Well the Stars and Stripes can decoration is Ok nothing elaborate. Thank god it's not decked out for 4th of July. Simply done in a rust brown, it bears a similarity to another Root Beer can I saw here called Jones. This product carries markings for Hoover's Barrel and uses a "Y" emblem with H,R;B. (HMmm, isn't there a brand called Hire's Root Beer?) So let's crack it open and see what we get. Well no immediate aroma breaks forth just cold steel. It's well cooled and some noisy carbonation cries for joy. I placed it down to type these words and now faintly the aroma has reached my nostrils but only faintly. Let’s get closer. I pour some in the glass, but the aroma only increases a bit more. The foamy head rises noisily and dissipates almost as quickly. As I raise the glass expecting more aroma ...still about the same. It hits my mouth and settles into the taste centers after I swallow. There is a very strong wintergreen taste that fades. I immediately thought of some pink candies my grandmother always had for us. This isn't root beer I thought, where's that sassafras taste? I took a longer draught satisfying my thirst and looking for the sugar kick. Ok,sugar kick there, sweet where it resides and now a gentler permeable "taste" but still primarily wintergreen. The taste leaves quickly with a little aluminum can backlash. The pleasant sweetness abides. This isn't a creamy beer or soda consistency, or, for my memory a root beer. Its soft drink characteristics are similar to cola with a loud noisy head that fades to nothing quickly. It is only satisfying in that first moment. It falls short of satisfaction or excitement. I 'm disappointed. Sigh!
Verdict - I'd say don't bother, but if I truly believed that, I wouldn't be writing this review. I think of all us poor slobs living here .. What??? No Root Beer!?? Well we've got Stars and Stripes and for no other reason than for the sake of Ol' Glory .. Where have I head that metaphor before? In a pinch? Buy a can
Bet you didn't know that Twist had a German cousin named Tiger.