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Virgil’s Micro Brewed Root Beer

Virgil's Micro Brewed Root Beer
Purchase Virgil’s Root Beer on Amazon

Please Note: This review was performed in 2016, when a possible older recipe of Virgil’s Micro Brewed Root Beer was being sold by Reed’s Inc. If you come across a label that differs from the one in this review, you may not be experiencing the same root beer that this review describes. 

I have to admit that I’m excited for Virgil’s. It’s been a little while, but if I’m remembering correctly, this is one of those brands that has set the standard for the industry. I have to admit, after my last three experiences, I feel I’m due for something nice, don’t you?

This particular brew claims to be a globalized blend, stating that the brand imports all sorts of ingredients from all over the world. Despite this apparent modern method for acquiring components, Virgil’s Micro Brewed Root Beer has that essential look of a traditional root beer.

Classic, Traditional, Delicious?

Virgil’s Micro Brewed Root Beer is presented in a very dark bottle, adorned with gold, white, and red tones. Prominently displayed on the label is a very large bearded fellow holding pitchers of what appears to be the perfect visual representation of root beer. I feel like I’m in for a treat. Furthermore, the label boasts proudly that this particular brand is the winner of the NASFT (this is an old acronym for the Specialty Food Association) award for outstanding beverage. You’ve got my attention.


Virgil’s is a brand that was acquired by Reed’s, most notable for its westernized Ginger Beers. Their tag line is “The Best Soda’s in the World, Naturally.” For my sake, I hope so. Actually, it might be easier to describe Reed’s by letting them do it for me:


  • Purified Carbonated Water
  • Unbleached Cane Sugar
  • Carmelized Unrefined Cane Sugar
  • Herbs
  • Spices
  • Citric Acid

By now, if you’ve been reading my articles, you know of my disdain for natural and artificial flavor. Well… to be quite honest, I expected I would have to complain about these terrible “ingredients” in every article throughout this blog, but the truth is, I can’t. Not here at least. My grumpy demeanor must be quieted, because it appears that Virgil’s Root Beer is actually going to explain what their “herbs and spices” are made of:

  • Anise
  • Licorice
  • Vanilla (Bourbon)
  • Cinnamon
  • Clove
  • Wintergreen
  • Sweet Birch
  • Molasses
  • Nutmeg
  • Pimento Berry Oil
  • Balsam Oil
  • Oil of Cassia

I’m totally shocked, and super impressed. Way to go, Virgil’s.

First Taste

After popping the top off this brew, the first thing that hits is the scent, which is pleasant and refreshing. However, it’s immediately apparent that there’s more to this than just your traditional root beer essence. I can’t really pinpoint what it is, but it’s nice and fragrant. Upon diving in and getting that first taste, the traditional root beer element is the first thing I experience. Nevertheless, there is an initial overpowering licorice flavor, which I’m not entirely a fan of. There’s very little bitterness, which is good, and the sweetness is well balanced.

Virgil’s is carbonated well, but it’s not too bubbly and there’s no saltiness associated. I’d say that, if anything, it reminds me of a cream or a foam. This feeling is what I expected from Zuberfizz. Besides the vanilla (which is pleasant) and licorice (which is unpleasant,) I’m not capable of discerning any of the other flavors listed by Virgil’s. However, I’d say, overall the combination of these herbs and spices is actually quite good.

After Time

After almost forty minutes, there’s definitely a loss in carbonation, but not to the point where it’s unsatisfying to drink. In fact, at this point, it’s a lot easier to appreciate the flavor. I like having the opportunity to drink something over time, and so far I have to say the root beers I’ve experienced on the whole have been good at that. Unfortunately, for Virgil’s, that means having to taste more licorice. On the plus side, though, I can taste the wintergreen now. The rest, however, still escape my amateur palate. Like those who preceded this article, given the cane sugar, there’s no syrupy texture or flavor and a drink of water is sufficient to swish away Virgil’s. So far, so good.


If it were not for my strong aversion to licorice, Virgil’s would be darn close to my perfect brew. I will note that the root beer flavor that I expect from something traditional isn’t as prominent, but the sheer fact that there’s so many levels of flavor that mesh so well makes up for that to a degree. Furthermore, Virgil’s Micro Brewed Root Beer actually tells me what I’m drinking, and that is worth quite a bit. This is the first time that I would strongly recommend others pick up one of these brews. I’m not going to swear that it was made in heaven, but it’s damn good.

Rating: ♛♛♛♛♕ – 4/5


  1. Doug Murphy Doug Murphy

    It seems odd to me that you host a blog on reviewing gourmet root beers when you have a “strong aversion to licorice” when licorice and anise are too of the common ingredients. It strikes me as reviewing pizza when you have a strong aversion to pepperoni.

    • The Root Beer Person The Root Beer Person

      I don’t get very many comments on this blog. I appreciate all of them, even the unconstructive ones like yours.

      I found it odd reading your comment, too. It seems strange that anyone would comment something unconstructive on someone else’s blog. It makes me wonder, why bother commenting at all?

      I can’t change what I like or dislike, but I’m not going to hide that fact when I review root beers. I’m not a professional. I don’t make my own. I just speak my opinion into the void.

      It’s okay if my reviews aren’t for you. Like everything on the web, you’re free to ignore it and move on if it doesn’t fit your need.

      Your analogy is cute. The most famous pizza vlogger in the world prefers his pizzas with cheese only, and has often docked restaurants that provide him a pepperoni pie. Interesting how that works out. Also, did you know that pepperoni is a truly Italian-American derivative from 1919, and it referenced sausage? Interestingly enough, modern pizza evolved in the late 19th, early 20th centuries, and didn’t use any meat products. In fact, in the 1911 print, it was tomatoes, mozzarella, anchovies, and mushrooms. Pepperoni pizzas are kind of like the Taco Bell of Mexican cuisine. I think the analogy would fit better if I only reviewed corn-syrup infused root beers exclusively produced in plastic bottles.

      That mushroom and anchovy pizza does sound good though. Since I too dislike pepperoni on my pizza, maybe I should start reviewing pizzas with the root beer. Thanks for the idea! Keep an eye out for The Pizza Person!

  2. Lizabeth Rowe Lizabeth Rowe

    So happy so run across your blog! I love rootbeer. A local Homeland grocery has started carrying singles of different brands of rootbeer, sold cold, making it easy to try new ones. I recently tried Virgil’s and after reading your description, it’s like we drank completely different products. My notes for Virgil’s (shared on a different site) said it was like drinking a suicide mixture of coke, A&W with a splash of Dr Pepper and left to go almost flat. It was so awful, after 2 sips I poured it down the drain. Now I’m wondering if I had a spoiled bottle. I may try it again one of these days, but not soon! 🙂

    • The Root Beer Person The Root Beer Person

      Hi Lizabeth,

      Thank you so much for the comment. It looks like the newest version of Virgil’s is actually a different recipe than the original. I read online that one is micro-brewed, and no longer available, and one is macro-brewed, which is what you probably tried. I think that might be the cause of your dislike. I plan to review the new one some time in the future.

      • DK DK

        Hello Root Beer Person,
        I looked for a name to address you in the about section, but could not find one, hence the greeting. I’m wondering what your rating on the new recipe of Virgil’s would be. Will you be doing an updated review soon? I feel we have similar taste preferences, as Virgil’s was a standard from which I would judge other root beers. Now it serves as the tragic example of what happens when big corporations take over and change what was great about the original product it acquired. It seems they favor sub par ingredients that are cheaper while keeping the same price, presumably to increase profits.

        • The Root Beer Person The Root Beer Person

          Hi DK,

          I have noticed a change in the Virgil’s labeling and recipe. I really don’t know what the difference is, but I feel like you’re probably on the right track. It happens with so many other businesses, I wouldn’t be surprised here. I have heard through rumor and speculation that it was a combination of big corporation opportunism mixed with a move toward macrobrewing. What the true reason is, I don’t think anyone really knows. Virgil’s was famously microbrewed, but they have been owned by Reed’s Inc. since 1999. That means they’ve been in control for decades. Maybe Reed’s Inc. will publicly describe why they made the change? Was it demand? Profit? Loss of a supplier? I’m as curious as everyone else is. I do think that demand was skyrocketing with the old recipe, because I started noticing Virgil’s popping up all over the place, and at a more affordable price right before the change.

          I plan to do an updated review, and I have stopped drinking it in the mean time to prepare for that. It could take some time to get to though, I have quite a few other new (to me) root beers lined up.

          Thank you for your comment!

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