Mike is from Pennsylvania where birch beer is prevalent. For whatever reason he hates birch beer. Personally I find it odd that someone who likes root beer could hate birch beer, but I’m sure I have my quirks as well. Today’s soda hails from Mike’s home state and is called Pennsylvania Dutch Birch Beer.
Now the good folks at Pennsylvania Dutch sent me a 12 pack for my review. As I do with all of my extra sodas I gave it away to my friends. Let me tell you, Pennsylvania Dutch Birch Beer went faster than any other soda I’d given away. In fact one of the guys that got a bottle was a Pennsylvania native as well and had been missing his fix.
The bottle design harkens back to olden times with horse drawn carriages. Now there is a heavy Amish population in Pennsylvania, so I guess the image could be modern too. A ribbon at the bottom states that this is “Made From An Old Pennsylvania Dutch Recipe”. I enjoy statements like that. They’re always so full of hope until you check the ingredients. Let’s see what creates this time tested flavor of olde. Carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, caramel color, salt, natural and artificial flavors, gum acacia, and red #40. Yup, their story checks out. That ingredient list reads as if it were pulled from the 1800’s themselves. Sigh.
It never makes sense to me to hide natural ingredients. Sure, hide all the chemicals you want in your vague “artificial ingredients” tag, but if they’re natural I’d really like to know what they are. Alright, enough complaining. It’s time I moved on.
The pungent rooty aroma bursts from the mouth of the bottle. It’s mostly comprised of black licorice and root beer, but a vanilla tingle is lingering at the end of each sniff.
Old Pennsylvania Dutch Recipe or not, that is darn tasty. The amount of vanilla in this creates a very smooth mouth feel while your taste buds are simultaneously battling the slight licorice taste you’d expect in a birch beer. The carbonation plays both sides of the field as it first compliments the smooth texture with soft, tiny bubbles. When the end of the sip draws near and the birch beer begins to bite the carbonation rises up and becomes sharp. It’s quite the fortunate battle happening in my mouth.
All in all Pennsylvania Dutch Birch Beer was a really pleasant experience. I do wish they used cane sugar and told us what the “natural ingredients” were. Still quite tasty and I’m having a hard time rating it. I think I’m going to go with “Buy a Pack”, but know it’s on the high end of that scale. Better break back out the decimals points (NEVER AGAIN).
Verdict - Buy a Pack
This soda was supplied to us by Pennsylvania Dutch