Friday, December 30, 2011


The Pooj isn't sure he's asking the right questions.
(Rocket Fizz Pasadena, October 2011)

Sherman Avery started making soda in his barn in New Britain, CT in 1904, personally delivering wares to customers by wagon until 1914 when he finally bought a truck. To this day, Avery’s Beverages are still made in that same red barn in small batches, and are still in some cases home-delivered.

Avery's Root Beer doesn’t have a particularly strong flavor coming out of the gate – only slightly root-y, but otherwise mostly watery. The aftertaste is also ever so slightly root-y, but again, there's really not much there. Same goes for the scent – it’s slightly root-y, but fades fast. It's not that Avery’s doesn't taste like root beer; it’s just that Avery’s doesn't taste like anything in particular at all. Not cola-ish, not sugary, not really anything. Just a slightly sweet, slightly herb-y soda.

Given its interesting history, I'm more than slightly disappointed. Maybe I’m just not familiar enough with Connecticut style root beer, because Avery’s by all accounts still appears popular in its home state. Unfortunately I just won't be asking for Avery’s Root Beer in California again. Sorry, but that'll only get you a low 2.

Friday, December 23, 2011


The Pooj has a message for you.
(Rocket Fizz Pasadena, October 2011)

Mercury Brewing Company of Ipswich, MA started in 1991 as the Ipswich Brewing Company. The ale-brewing portion of the company still operates under the Ipswich name and is one of oldest craft breweries in New England, though the soda pop-brewing portion changed its name to Mercury Brewing Company in 1999. Ipswich’s beers are not filtered or pasteurized, but I’m not sure about sodas, although the company website does state that the sodas are caffeine free, gluten free and corn syrup free. Also, the company has a baseball team, which doesn’t really have anything to do with ales or root beers, but is still cool.

Initially, Mercury tastes slightly cherry-ish and slightly artificial. I'm not sure of this is supposed to be the root-y part of the flavor, but it's not so much root-y as medicinal to me. Definitely plant-y to some degree, but perhaps just a different root leaning than I’d typically prefer. My guess is that what I perceive as medicinal flavor may be an overly menthol-y flavor that reminds me of cough syrup, which may in turn indicate a heavy-handed dose of wintergreen in root beers.

Backing up a bit, I should say that the carbonation is initially pretty hard, so perhaps the menthol tastes dominant only because it’s the only thing that penetrates the carbonation. Once the carbonation dies down a little, there's a nicer flavor. It's pretty sweet now, but not so much that the sweetness drowns out the root flavor, and the root flavor falls somewhere in the middle of the root-y spectrum. What was cherry/medicinal flavor early on now helps to fill in the herb factor and make it a little more complex, which gives it a better flavor. As far as texture goes it's not particularly smooth, though it's also not so sharp as to be unpleasant, provided that you wait until the carbonation dissipates a little. The aftertaste is mostly sweet, but there's a little bit of the herb peeking through to round it out.

Overall, it’s pretty good, but probably not one I'd specifically seek out. Mercury Brewing Company Root Beer Soda Pop therefore gets a low 3.5.