It's hard to know how to write a root beer review. My biggest worry is that an abundance of adjectives will make me sound like a pompous wine-reviewer where I talk about the various fruit flavors and how the tannins from the Bourgogne region in France are better than the low-brow California wines. My other worry is that I will write with such a breezy style that I could fit on a Tumblr hipsterific blog. Hopefully I can find a middle ground.
I decided to start with Galco's own White Rose Root Beer that was developed by John Nese. Galco's has a line of private sodas that it is beginning to develop, but I haven't tried any of the others. The owner told Laura that he wanted this to taste like old, classic root beer. Based on their blog, the name White Rose comes from an old Highland Park bottling company that used a local spring as its water source. I am not sure where it is bottled, but Galco's is advertising it as a locally developed brand.
One thing to note is that I drink my root beers straight from the bottle. None of this glass pouring stuff for me. What fun is it buying a drink in a glass bottle if all you do it pour it into a glass? Might as well just buy it in a can if that is the case. Sure, I suppose I am losing some of the experience by not being able to smell, or by not letting the root beer breathe, and I won't be able to talk about the foam head or the color. But I just like drinking from a glass bottle.
I've always thought that there is basically one important spectrum of how to classify root beers: the Root Spectrum. Some may call this the bite or the sharpness or the sassafras/Smilax regelii taste. I just call it the root taste because it is the distinctive flavor unique to root beer. White Rose falls in the middle of this spectrum. I find it to be rather smooth and easy to drink with no sharp flavors except for a light anise flavor on the back of the throat in the aftertaste. It is sweet, but not too sweet. I can't identify all the flavors here, but there is a higher amount of variety that normal for a root beer, but they are subtle. It is clear that this was crafted to be a sophisticated drink. All in all I say it works, but I think that even though it has a lot of different flavors, overall it comes off a bit thin. The flavors are light and the sweetness doesn't really mix with the other flavors. Laura liked it better than I did but overall it was an enjoyable root beer.
Good: complex flavors, sophisticated taste, locally developed.
Bad: thin, anise isn't my favorite flavor, sweetness doesn't mix with rest of the flavors.
Made from: water, pure cane sugar, natural and artificial flavors, citric acid, and caramel color