Jones Soda Co. has recently been doing a big Made in Michigan campaign, which has definitely caught my eye; despite the company being from Seattle. Being from the so-called murder mitten, I’ve grown accustomed to the derogatory statements that accompany places like Detroit and Flint. As such, it’s really nice to see pride in the state, especially when it comes to root beer. Based on Jones Soda’s reputation, I’m really expecting this brew to be good, and I hope I’m not disappointed.
I’m Jonesing for Jones Root Beer
Jones bottling is pretty standard, and doesn’t really look any different from their other brands of pop. The cap sure as hell doesn’t scream a nice tasty traditional root beer, but it does remind me of that one bubble-gum flavored pop. One of the unique things that Jones Soda brings to the table is the art that they crowd source from fans. When I was still in school, there was a bit of a contest to see if anyone could actually get placed on the label. Truth be told, I don’t believe any of us made it; the competition must have been fierce.
In 1996, just one year after its creation in Canada, Jones Soda made a big splash in the world of carbonated beverages. By the time the millennium hit, Jones was a phenomenon that swept Northern America. Unique and hipster to the core, Jones Soda embodies pretty much everything to do with the movement toward branding as independent. It may have had a slight premium in cost, but the world was willing to pay. Glowing reviews certainly helped, not to mention a little odd marketing, like meat and junk food flavors.
- Carbonated Water
- Inverted Cane Sugar
- Caramel Color
- Natural Flavors
- Sodium Benzoate (As Preservative)
- Potassium Sorbate (As Preservative)
- Gum Acacia
- Phosphoric Acid
- Calcium Disodium EDTA (To Protect Flavor)
We’ve got some new and interesting ingredients here. I’m glad not to see artificial flavors, although I’d rather we just cut to the chase and explain the natural ones fully. I’m perplexed by Calcium Disodium EDTA, also known as ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid. My research indicates that despite having some relation to formaldehyde, it’s actually used in food products as a preservative. Inverted cane sugar was a new one for me too, and it turns out this is a physical combination of fructose and glucose (such as cane sugar being broken down by some third agent,) often stored in syrup form (very similar, but not to be completely confused with high-fructose corn syrup.) In any case, none of this makes me particularly impressed before consumption.
On first taste, Jones appears to be a fairly weak, yet traditionally flavored root beer. It’s clean. That is to say, the flavor is clean and doesn’t appear to have too many layers. The bitterness outweighs the sweetness, but only barely. The carbonation is very strong, which does impede the ease of drinking somewhat. Nevertheless, it appears to be a pretty smooth brew. If anything, Jones just makes me want more. More flavor. The weakness combined with the carbonation just isn’t something that I’m particularly happy with. The unfortunate part is that the taste, from what I can gather, is really on point traditionally.
Over time, Jones certainly retains its carbonation. Quite honestly, I was hoping that it wouldn’t so I might have an easier time appreciating the flavor. Leaving it to breathe didn’t really help that aspect at all. Despite the downsides, Jones doesn’t leave a syrupy mess behind, and the aftertaste isn’t that prevalent. Paired with the clean flavor, I’m actually not too disappointed in Jones. It would have been nice to have a more powerful flavor presented to me, and I’d say that this brew is better at the start then it is over time.
There are better brews, but I wouldn’t mind having Jones again, especially if I’m in the mood for something with a bitterness to it. Often times I’m more inclined to favor sweeter brands, but I can see how some would find bitter flavors to be appealing. That being said, I really wish the flavor had been more prevalent. It’s a great, traditional, clean flavor, and I think it needs to be stronger. The carbonation is just way too powerful, and it takes away from the underlying root beer present. That’s something I’ve seen in quite a few brews here, and something I am often disappointed by.
Rating: ♛♛♛♕♕ – 3/5