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WBC Chicago Style

It makes sense that being in the Midwest, and this being a Chicago brew, I would see WBC around a lot. That’s been part of the reason I’ve been skipping it for the past few reviews. If it’s everywhere, like IBC, could it really be good? I don’t really know, but I intend to find out. Trust me; I’m not going to mix this one up with IBC before I even start. It’s important not to judge a book by its cover, or whether it’s readily available. A&W in Canada is readily available, and it’s pretty damn good. Anyway, let’s get back to WBC.

WBC Chicago Style Root Beer

100% Real Sugar and Made in the USA

WBC is absolutely beautiful. The bottle is dark, it has a tall neck, and the label is clean and modern. The color scheme matches the patriotism, with stars, stripes, and solid colors. The cap is white and gold, with red stars, and solid lettering. It almost seems a bit regal. The presentation actually makes me pumped for that first taste.

Background

On the back, the following description is provided:

Deep Chicago Roots

Our deep Chicago roots began in 1988, when the first Chicago Style Root Beer was formulated in a brew pub on historic Goose Island, Chicago, Illinois. Today, our WBC Root Beer have [sic] remained true to the original recipe, never pasteurized, and continue in a tradition of quality and innovation.

WBC stands for the WIT Beverage Company, and there isn’t a whole lot of information that I could find about their origins. However, I did identify that they’ve been in Chicago for quite a while, and are proud to name drop the “Chicago Style,” but I’m not really sure what that means. Is this the deep dish of root beer; rich and delicious?

Ingredients

  • Triple Filtered Carbonated Water
  • Sugar
  • Natural and Artificial Flavor
  • Caramel Color
  • Sodium Benzoate And Potassium Sorbate As Preservatives
  • And Citric Acid

Look, I don’t care how many times your carbonated water is filtered if you’re just going to throw in “natural and artificial flavor” as an ingredient. Enough said.

First Taste

After popping the top off of this brew, the first whiff that I got was very mild, but it was definitely spiced in the traditional flavor of root beer. But the first taste? Not really that good. I’m not entirely sure how to flavor this, but I’ve had it before. It’s almost like a bitter, chemically taste, and I’m not a fan. It’s weak, and despite how much sugar there is, you really can’t detect that excess of sweetness.

The carbonation is rough and that’s definitely not a good thing. The flavor, while distinctly in the camp of root beer, isn’t really that traditional. At the same time, it’s not really unique, like Natural Brew. I just do not like what I’m getting here.

After Time

Over time, the flavor is marginally better. The carbonation is still harsh, but it has improved. It’s not nearly as painful as it was straight after uncapping. I suppose lasting carbonation is a plus, but not one for me. The taste is still weak. The flavor that is there is still bitter. If you know me, you know I like the sugar to count.

One thing that WBC has going for it is the after taste isn’t unpleasant, and honestly there’s not much of a syrupy texture that’s left behind. I guess that’s one big improvement over other brews that I have disliked.

Conclusion

I know I said I wouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but I feel like WBC is a slightly better IBC. I honestly had no idea how much I would dislike this brew. I was actually hoping it would be good, because it’s so prevalent around here. I’m not sure what Chicago Style is, when it comes to root beers, but I don’t think this is particularly great. If it’s affordable near you, and you like bitter brews, WBC might be just what you want. But it isn’t for me. I appreciate that it doesn’t stick around, and that the bottle is enticing.

Rating: ♛♛♕♕♕ – 2/5

10 Comments

  1. Thad Balmas Thad Balmas

    Well, my wife likes root beer. She has tried them all. Recently purchased a few bottles of WBC Chicago Style for her. She really likes it. She said it is the smoothest root beer she has had. I guess the taste is in the tongue of the beholder.

    • The Root Beer Person The Root Beer Person

      Hey Thad!

      Thanks for your comments. The taste is definitely in the tongue of the beholder.

      If you do a search for “smooth” on The Root Beer Person, you can check out some of the other reviews I’ve done.

      I’d recommend trying Natural Brew, Wild Bill’s, Old Red Eye, Genuine Hank’s, and Dang! That’s Good. She might like those too!

  2. Hans Strangelife Hans Strangelife

    Well, I’ve tried this WBC root beer for the first time in January of this year and will honestly say without bias it is the absolute best root beer I’ve ever had. It’s strange how I find the carbonation to be quite mild and experience no bitter taste at all. For me this has just the right amount of sugar and is smooth on the pallet. I will say in fairness that I
    am not a fan of overly sweet root beers. I’ve tried IBC, Stewart’s, Frostie and while they are all very good, I find them to be a bit to sugary for my tastes. I will definitely check out your other recommendations and thanks for reviewing them.

    • The Root Beer Person The Root Beer Person

      Hi Hans, thank you for the comment!

      Everybody has different tastes, so I can definitely appreciate that you had a different experience. Thank you for taking a look at my other reviews, I really enjoy when people enter the discussion. You’re very welcome for the reviews, if you see any others you like, let me know!

  3. William Swisher William Swisher

    I’m drinking my first right now at Harry Caray’s restaurant and I gotta say I don’t like overly sweet root beers and ones that bite my tongue like Barqs. This seems the perfect middle ground to me and while I respect your opinion I think this drink is perfect or at least 4/5. Keep up the good work.

    • The Root Beer Person The Root Beer Person

      Thank you for the comment! You love what you love and everyone has their own personal tastes. I’m glad you found your perfect or near-perfect brew!

  4. Michael Michael

    WBC is the best tasting root beer I’ve ever had! Everyone has their own favorite. What’s yours, I’d like to try it?

    • The Root Beer Person The Root Beer Person

      Hey Michael,

      Thank you for the comment. Check out my 4/5 star reviews to see the ones that I like the most! No favorite yet, but I really liked the Bavarian Nutmeg Virgil’s when they were still being microbrewed.

  5. Hannah Hannah

    I’m honestly surprised at this negative review. I’m not one to drink a ton of root beer, but when I tried this I was just blown away and instantly went to Google to find where I can buy more and to see what others say about it. I consider it to be so smooth and mild tasting and thought that it had only the smallest hint of carbonation. I’m saying this as someone who purposefully shakes up my bottles of soda to release extra carbonation as well. I’m excited to see that I can buy it at the meijer down the street though!

    • The Root Beer Person The Root Beer Person

      Hi Hannah,

      Thanks so much for your comment. It looks like you’re not the only one who really likes WBC. I really appreciate every comment that I get. In fact, it looks like this review is the most commented review that I have! I guess I’ve made it!

      There are plenty of reviews on the Internet that give WBC a great rating, and many other comments too. But I’ve noticed that I’m not the only one with this review or opinion. Food and drink reviews are so subjective because it comes down to personal tastes and what one is looking for in a particular moment.

      I don’t claim to be a professional, and truly I’m just an opinionated amateur blogger. But, I think that the bitter chemical flavor I experienced is a common experience with WBC (and others like it.) Some people really like bitter root beers. Some, like myself, prefer a nice balance leading into the sweeter realm. For as much sugar was in WBC, I really expected the latter.

      I think a lot of these root beers that I don’t personally like have a, for lack of a better term, mass-produced flavor. I’m not sure how else to describe it, really. It’s bitter and chemical, and I can’t help but think personally that, there’s a common trend with that flavor and “artificial flavors” being listed on the label. I would love to see WBC improve their flavor profile, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. Even Virgil’s apparently moved toward mass production.

      Ultimately, you want to drink whatever you think tastes good. Give Blue Sky a try, and let me know what you think.

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