Welcome to the Root Beer Rundown. Over the last few years, I've had a lot of fun drinking a lot of root beer and posting my root beer reviews for your reading pleasure. Use the tools on the right to see the complete history of my reviews, find all the brews within a given scoring range, or simply search for your favorite brew to see if it's one I've reviewed. I always like to hear what other root beer lovers like and dislike about different brews, so feel free to sound off in the comments of the reviews. I've also provided some links to a few other great root beer resources. Let me know if I've missed any so I can add them to the list. Enjoy the site!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Black Bear Soda

Who Made This Stuff?  
Black Bear Bottling Group,
Oak Creek, WI
Website:   www.blackbearbeverages.com
Where’d It Come From?  Parks Cheese & Candy Shop, Crivitz, WI  
Review Date:   8/15/10
Commentary:  OK, let me just admit this up front… I do not have high hopes for this one.  I grabbed a couple bottles of this stuff while making a cheese run on our Root Beer Road Trip.  A cheese shop was about the last place I expected to find a new (to me) brand of root beer.  From the start, it has a few things working against it.  First, it is in a plastic bottle rather than glass.  Second, it has HFCS instead of sugar.  Finally, the name – Black Bear Root Beer Soda.  Did you catch that?  Soda.  My guess is that this is going to be a root beer flavored soda instead of an actual root beer.  Maybe I am jumping to conclusions here.  I could be wrong about all of this and it could be amazing.  After all, the bottle does state that you “Gotta love the bear!”  I guess that is why we do these reviews, huh?  Let’s find out, shall we?
Yup.  Right on the money.  When I opened the bottle, the first whiff smelled like a mass-produced, generic root beer.  It even smelled sweet.  No head whatsoever when poured.  This is very syrupy sweet.  Not a pleasant sweetness.  No creaminess here.  The carbonation seems to be disappearing in near-record time.  I don’t think I’ll finish this one.   Oh great.  What am I supposed to do with the second bottle?

Now, to be fair, the company website shows a different label for their plastic-bottled soda, and proclaims that it contains 100% real sugar.  Maybe they have changed their formula recently.  If I ever come across one of their new-label root beer sodas, I guess I could give them another shot.  The site also highlights their line of Caruso Legacy Gourmet Soda (in glass bottles!) that includes “Robusto Root Beer” among other flavors.  It even states that their root beer is an old Italian recipe.  Really?  I was not aware that Italians were known for their root beers.  I guess you learn something new every day.  I bet you are pretty happy with yourself for stopping by the Root Beer Rundown today, huh?

I will stop short of calling this a “bad” root beer.  I will stick with saying it just is not a good one.  I cannot, in good conscience, recommend this stuff to friends.  Sorry bear.  I guess I can still love you, but just not your root beer soda, right?

Well, in order to get this over with I guess I have to give this stuff a score.  Let's go with...........................................65.

Are there any Black Bear Soda lovers out there?  Has anyone tried their new formula or their gourmet line of sodas?


  1. I've had the Caruso's Root Beer - found it at Aldi no less. It was 100% cane sugar sweetened and in a brown glass bottle.

    It was fine...wasn't really memorable, I want to say I probably found it over a year ago and haven't seen anything since.

  2. Thanks for the tip, Greg. We've got an Aldi here in our town. I'll need to add it to my list of places to check for new root beers. Cost Plus World Market was another great place to find new brews, but they closed their store here about year and a half ago.