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
- 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:
- Vanilla (Bourbon)
- Sweet Birch
- Pimento Berry Oil
- Balsam Oil
- Oil of Cassia
I’m totally shocked, and super impressed. Way to go, Virgil’s.
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 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