What a refined looking root beer I have in front of me today. Chowning’s Tavern Root Beer’s label goes for the colonial look with it’s parchment style coloring. There’s even a brief story about it’s origins included which I have typed below:
Chowning’s Tavern Root Beer evolved from a colonial beer made by boiling the roots of sassafras dandelion, or licorice to extract their pungent flavors. The brew of 200 years ago was then sweetened and fermented in wooden casks.
As far as origin stories go that one could have been spiced up a bit. I don’t need radioactive spiders, but I would have liked a few more terms that made me feel like I took a time machine back to when this original brew was made. Ah well, there’s more important items looming ahead.
Ingredient wise it’s got some sugar, honey, root beer extract #214, AND root beer extract #79-400. So that’s simultaneously impressive and a little underwhelming to me. I’ll forget about the latter if it’s tasty though.
Smell wise I’m not blown away, but I did get a snout full of vanilla so I’m expecting a smoother mouthfeel with this soda. If I’m lucky then I’ll also get a bit of a butterscotch taste as well, but I may be wishing for a bit much there.
Normally the carbonation level is something I mention later in a review, but it’s peculiar enough in this case to mention right off the bat. Ultimately it almost feels like there is no carbonation at first, almost like a root beer juice… which sounds kinda terrible. Thankfully there’s a small spark that reminds me that I’m drinking a soda.
It’s also clearly apparent that this is a sassafras through and through. The licorice taste is fairly strong with this one so strong I’m a little off put by it. I honestly think a little extra fizz would fix this issue by giving your tongue something else to think about. The vanilla I snurffed earlier has yet to be seen which makes me a sad Jerk.
So we don’t just focus on the negatives, the fact that there is little aftertaste and no syrupy mouthfeel is pretty solid… for a liquid. As we stated before the ingredient list is better than most and the labeling is unique which creates for a fun bottle.
Chowning’s Tavern Root Beer is consumable. Not exactly what you want to hear in a review, but trust me when I say I’ve reviewed sodas that weren’t. The strength of the licorice paired with the minimal carbonation makes for something I personally don’t really want to go back to.
I’m just one man though. Perhaps a bigger licorice fan than me would enjoy it a touch more. Go out and get one for yourself to see.
Verdict - Buy a Bottle
This was purchased at the Shell Gas Station below.