Sunday, 28 March 2010

Bundaberg Root Beer

Bundaberg Root Beer
Made by: Bundaberg Brewed Drinks P/L

Origin: Australia

Imported into the UK by: Bundaberg Brewed Drinks UK Pty Ltd

Root beer originates in Philadelphia, USA, where it was first developed as a herbal tea formula and then as a soft drink marketed to miners and the mining community, from where it's popularity grew. Root beer is still strongly associated with North America, however related drinks made using roots, tree barks, herbs and spices exist in many countries (examples being Ginger beer and Dandelion & Burdock in the UK). The original flavouring components of this drink were Sassafras tree root bark, together with Acacia bark. As health concerns gradually surfaced with the use of Sassafras, Sarsaparilla and other complementary herbs, spices and fruits were introduced to flavour the brew.

Bundaberg Root Beer is a dark chocolate brown colour, fading slightly at the rim of the glass. The drink is sparkling and as with other Bundaberg drinks, the bubbles here are very small and rise gradually to the surface from specific points in the glass (as with a fine sparkling wine). There are some small particles floating in suspension.

On the nose a reminder of the medicine cabinet, with a creamy menthol scent: Muscle rub ('Deep Heat' cream), plus notes of vanilla, treacle and malt extract.

Moving to the palate, the initial taste is of a herbal cola, with vanilla and creamy menthol, followed by dark sugary flavours (molasses, treacle, malt..). A refreshing bite evolves towards the finish, bringing grassy, salted caramel and leaving a trace of liquorice in the aftertaste.

There is a lovely restrained balance at work here, with supple, round flavours loaded with nuance, and just the right amount of bite to cleanse the palate.

As with other Bundaberg drinks, this is a real 'thinking man's' soft drink, whereby the quality of ingredients used allied to traditional production methods produce a captivating experience.

Packaging claims: Naturally brewed to be better, traditionally brewed, plus tbc

Ingredients: Carbonated water, cane sugar, sasparilla root, vanilla bean, ginger root, liquorice root, molasses, sasparilla flavour, caramel, acid (citric acid), yeast, preservatives (E211, E202), Antioxidant (E300)

Price: Should be about £1.40-£1.50 for a 340ml glass bottle, available from Waitrose and selected supermarkets, and specialist retailers