For those of you who are new to the site let me give you a small slice of history pie. I’m from Texas and being from said state makes me very biased to Dr Pepper. I’m sure you’ll find many a Texan who couldn’t care a lick about Dr Pepper, but you’ll find more that do care than any other state. With that said I’m always skeptical when I find a Dr Pepper rip-off as I immediately think it won’t be good as the original. Doc Zola was the only product that equaled or surpassed Dr Pepper, but today a new challenger emerges… Virgil’s Dr. Better.
As you may know Virgil’s Root Beer is the drink that gave me the idea to start this site because of how awesome it is. Virgil’s brand sodas are among my favorites so to see one trying to topple the great Dr gives me mixed emotions. Another note is that in talking to other soda companies I know of at least one other that planned on making a product called Dr. Better, so while I like the name I’m aware that it’s been thought of before. Hopefully the company that didn’t get to this product name first still tries to produce a Dr Pepper flavored beverage because I’d really like to try it. With all that said it’s time I try this “Dr. Type soda” (as the back of the bottle says) and see how it fares. Ok, one final gripe. It really shouldn’t be written as “Dr. Type soda” since it’s trying to somewhat replicate Dr Pepper which has no period after the “r”. Honestly it should be a “Dr Type soda”, but I’m just being picky at this point… moving on.
The smell to me is less of a “Dr. Type soda” and more of a “Mr. Type soda”. All that the previous sentence means is that it doesn’t smell as strongly as Dr Pepper does when you first open the can/bottle. Mr. Pibb is the weaker flavored beverage and its scent translates that. I’m sure that Virgil’s will back up their scent with a more amazing taste though… I mean we’re talking about Virgil’s here, not Coke. Onward!
There’s a lot going on in this bottle of Dr. Better. The soda hits your tongue with quite a kick, but quickly backs off as to not upset the entire drinking process. While the initial flavor tastes more of Mr. Pibb (weaker) as you get closer to the finish it develops the familiar richness of Dr Pepper. The thing that’s bothering me is the finish and over all mouth-feel of Dr. Better. While they make a Dr. Better with stevia (an ingredient I’m not sure I’ll ever endorse as the sole sweetener in a beverage) regular Dr. Better uses no such leaf. It’s sweetened with evaporated cane juice and I’m just now noticing also includes “a touch of prune juice”. With all that said the finish of the drink, I didn’t lose my train of thought too much there, has a bit of a diet taste to it that I’m not all that thrilled with. Upon this complaint of mine I will add another, the mouth-feel is probably the most syrupy I’ve experienced from a Virgil’s product. These two qualities knock Dr. Better down a couple of pegs as a glass bottle of sugar sweetened Dr Pepper would trump it easily. I’m not completely surprised as this outcome, but I will say I expected better from the fine folks at Virgil’s. Again, they’re battling a Texans love of Dr Pepper, but those are the breaks on this site.
Verdict – Buy a Bottle
Twist received his doctorate in keeping it real