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Bundaberg

Bundaberg Australian Root Beer

This root beer comes highly recommended, and I found it fairly recently and figured that this would be a wonderful brew to review. To my knowledge, this is my first Australian root beer and I’m looking forward to trying it out.

Australian Family Owned Brewed Over 3 Days

Bundaberg’s bottle is incredibly unique, and definitely conveys a “craft brew” feeling with its unique pull-tab bottle cap and short stocky presentation. It looks like an old medicine bottle, and if my information is correct, that’s what these kinds of brews used to be in 19th and early 20th centuries. The colors are dulled, which is exactly what I have come to expect for that succinct root beer visual experience. I’m excited to see if the physical representation matches the quality of taste.

Background

Bundaberg Brewed Drinks Pty Ltd is an Australian organization that brews different kinds of soft drinks, including ginger beer, cream soda, and some pretty interesting tropical flavored drinks. Established in 1960, it appears that Bundaberg started with ginger beer, and then over the years migrated into various other recipes and flavors. They are family owned, and incredibly proud of the work that they put into their drinks. Personally, I really like when an organization is proud of their work, and that makes me more excited to dig into Bundaberg’s root beer.

Ingredients

  • Carbonated Water
  • Cane Sugar
  • Root Beer Brew (Water, Sugar, Molasses, Ginger Root, Sarsaparilla Root, Licorice Root Extract, Vanilla Bean Extract, Yeast)
  • Caramel Color
  • Citric Acid
  • Preservatives (Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate)
  • Antioxidant (Ascorbic Acid)
  • Root Beer Flavor

Generally speaking, I don’t like things like “natural flavors” or “artificial flavors,” because I like to know where the various flavors are coming from. I’m confused why there is a separate “Root Beer Brew,” but I am thankful that they list the majority of the flavor origins, and for that I’ll give Bundaberg a passing mark on ingredients.

Tasting

We’re going to mix it up a little bit here, and do an overall tasting section instead of a split section based on time. I’ll enjoy the brew over time, letting it breathe, but I won’t put a specific time limit between tasting tests. Hopefully that will create a more organic review process moving forward.

The opening of the Bundaberg bottle is absolutely unique. Pulling the tab back releases some carbonation, and then pulling a bit harder releases the entire bottle cap in one go. Because the cap underneath the tab appears to be made of a softer plastic, it can be pressed back on the brew closing it once more to keep carbonation in.

The smell is very subtle, and while definitely root beer, doesn’t betray any overwhelming flavor profile. The flavor however, is definitely not what I would consider traditional root beer. It is somewhat sour and bitter, which definitely reminds me more of medicine than traditional root beer—a robust yet sweet carbonated drink. So far, I am not a fan of Bundaberg’s taste, as I prefer a much sweeter brew.

The carbonation is very light and airy, and is my preferred style. Although I am forced to take smaller sips due to the sour/bitter flavor, I am not overwhelmed by carbonation.

The after taste is almost nullified by the sour flavor that lingers for just a moment. There is a distinct root beer flavor that seems to live just under the surface, but any type of discernable vanilla, ginger, or licorice flavor is nowhere to be found. It doesn’t coat or stick to the mouth, and ignoring the sour and bitter combination, seems to drink fairly easily. Over time, one can become accustomed to the sour flavor, but it’s still not very palatable. No matter what though, this is quite a unique root beer creation.

Conclusion

I really wanted to like this brew, because it’s both highly recommended, and very aesthetic. However, because I like a very traditional sweet root beer, this is one of the least enjoyable experiences I’ve had in this review process. I have to give them significant credit for their design, transparency, history, and willingness to be bold. These are qualities that I think many creators in the root beer space could benefit from.

For those who like medicine, sour, or bitter experiences, this is definitely your cup of tea. I would recommend it to those of you who are fans of root beers, but do not like mint-derived flavor.

Rating: ♛♛♕♕♕ – 2/5

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