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Wild Bill’s

Oddly enough I didn’t notice this until I had already purchased Wild Bill’s, but it’s apparently made in Northern Michigan. As a Michigander, that’s pretty darn cool. The name alone hearkens back to those old Westerns, which, strangely enough, definitely make you feel at home when considering an ice cold root beer. I’m excited to see what a Michigan brew can provide, but I honestly can’t remember where I picked this one up. Was it Meijer? No, I don’t think so. Possibly Bed Bath & Beyond, if you can believe that one. Actually, if I’m not mistaken, I believe it was a gourmet grocer. I suppose it doesn’t really matter, but it’s time to really drink in Wild Bill’s and see if it was worth the buy after all.

Wild Bill's Root Beer

Sit Back and Drink It In. A Northern Michigan Product.

Wild Bill’s bottle is very interesting, and it appears to show off a bit of a notched design in the neck. I wonder if that has any impact on consuming the drink. I expect that it might, but I’m not qualified enough to tell you why. It’s important to note that the bottle is clear, but the brew contained within is a dark amber. I really enjoy this feature, because I’m already concocting expectations of flavor based on my visual interpretation of Wild Bill’s. I will also note that it appears that the cap isn’t a screw-off, which I actually like, and I was surprised to find. It’s not every day that you see that. Most soft drinks, especially root beer, have screw-offs so that they aren’t confused with hard drinks. Truth be told, screw-offs just aren’t as cool as real bottle caps.


My father’s been creating batches of premium pop for over twenty-five years. He intends for you to enjoy this soda with a smile on your face.


Okay David, let’s learn a little bit more about the Northwoods Soda & Syrup Co. According to their website, their founder, Bill Fosdick moved to the Grand Traverse area of Michigan in 1988 to found their soda company. I wanted to know more, so I did a little bit more digging, and came upon an article and video from MyNorth. Take a look here if you’re interested in more information.


  • Carbonated Water
  • Pure Granulated Sugar
  • Natural and Artificial Flavor
  • Citric Acid
  • Caramel Color
  • Sodium Benzoate to preserve quality

Honestly, if you’re an avid reader of this blog, you already know my thoughts on this. I’m disappointed, and the reasoning goes without saying.

First Taste

Once I popped the cap off of Wild Bill’s, as per usual, I took a big whiff to exercise my sense of smell preceding the first taste. For the first time, the smell actually burned my nose a bit. I’m either in for a really great experience, or I’m about to regret this purchase.

Wild Bill’s is smooth and I’m really digging the flavor. It has a clean, traditional taste that really reinforces what I expect when I think of a classic root beer. There’s definitely a deep dark root flavor there, which seems to undercut the sweetness. Nevertheless, Wild Bill’s is sweet enough for me. A definite plus. It’s been a very long time since I’ve had a chance to drink Polar out of a bottle, but I think Wild Bill’s might get really close to that level of excellence. The carbonation is a little strong, though. It’s piercing, and I can actually feel the remnants of the carbonation on the inside of my mouth. Right now, two words are echoing in my mind: shocking and smooth. What a strange combination.

After Time

Honestly, I had a hard time keeping myself away from this to give it time for the review. But for you, my lovely audience, I held off. As odd as it sounds, after time, it seems less sweet to me. I’m not sure if that’s a combination of the change of temperature, or just the fact that I’m getting used to the flavor, but it’s definitely a bit more bitter now that it’s had time to sit. Like Boylan, this root beer sticks around, but it’s not nearly as sticky. I just don’t like when root beers stick around, especially when they advertise as using granulated sugar rather than high fructose corn syrup. Wild Bill’s continues to remain smooth, which is one of its best features, and I’m glad that’s something that keeps up with the brew over time. I’m not detecting any unique flavors, like mint, but it’s a solid traditional root beer flavor that stays. The aftertaste isn’t bad, which makes up for the stickiness.


I actually really like Wild Bill’s, and I would have this one again. Despite the rating that I’m giving it, it’s part of the 4/5 rating class. The only reason why this one is getting a 3/5 is because of the ingredient list. I will stress that Wild Bill’s is not nearly as good as Virgil’s or Polar. Those are far superior. But I want you all to know that it’s definitely on the cusp between 3/5 and 4/5.

I am surprised by this root beer. I was definitely expecting that this was going to be a real bitter brew, but in combination with the appearance, the bottle cap, and the smoothness, I think it deserves being considered part of the higher end of root beers I’ve reviewed. This is a solid traditional root beer that I recommend you drink quickly, but I don’t imagine you’ll have a problem with that notion.

Rating: ♛♛♛♕♕ – 3/5


  1. Jan Jan

    Where can we purchase it in SE Michigan?

    • The Root Beer Person The Root Beer Person

      Wild Bill’s was available at Bed Bath & Beyond the last time I checked. You might have better luck at Plum Market or other independent gourmet groceries if you can find one!

  2. Jeff Jeff

    Tried it just this week in Mackinaw City, and I have to say I agree with almost all of your review. I only disagree that Virgil’s is a better root beer.

    • The Root Beer Person The Root Beer Person

      Hey Jeff. Apparently Virgil’s is no longer a great root beer, due to them changing the recipe. I still have some from the old microbrew style, so I haven’t had a need to pick up their new version.

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