An archive of my ignorance before I discovered pongy ale.

I used to be a Lager Lout. I am ashamed of my past. This blog is an archive of ignorance past. I walk into the future emboldened, tankard in hand. Pongy ale awaits.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Franks Alcoholic Root Beer


It is quite rare I’m tempted to pay full price for anything. Being one of life’s cheap skates, always on the lookout for a bargain, it can be quite painful to pay the full whack for anything. I did so on a recent trip to Tesco. Sure I got a bargain on the Beck’s Vier and even picked up some cheap Budvar Dark lager (3 for £4) & Tesco Belgian Kriek beer(£1 a pop) but bizarrely it was this little number that got me least by way of bang per buck at £1.95 a bottle. Franks Alcoholic Root Beer 4%, by Kopparberg of Sweden.

I’ll let you decide whether this is an alcopop or an actual beer, I’m not fussed either way. Grog is grog. The label did seem to indicate some actual connection to beer by way of mentioning the ingredients as Barley malt, Hops, Yeast, Wintergreen Oil, Liquorice Root, Aniseed and Vanilla. The first few seem actual beer ingredients to me.

I am more familiar with root beer as a soft drink, and as soft drink I love it. It is uncommon in the UK but when I find it I enjoy it. The Spoons have it on as a soft drink in their pubs, Sainsbury’s occasionally stock 2 litre bottles of the pop, but root beer has never really taken off in the UK. The UK has its fair share of unusual soft drinks, so I’m guessing an overall lack of demand for a classic American pop.

The bottle seemed to indicate that this product is aimed firmly at the “over ice” category of large bottled drinks dominated by cider brands. Upon cracking it open the smell was entirely like a pop version with the fizz also more indicative of a can of pop. From smell and appearance alone you’d put this as an alcopop rather than a beer.

The taste had more layers and a natural texture than a typical soft root beer. The vanilla, liquorice & aniseed stand out at different points but the taste comes across as a posh pop with less of a cloying sweetness. Designed more for adult tastes and possibly that it is impossible to session a root beer or can of coke. It would be difficult to session this regardless of a reduced but not absent sweeteness. The taste of alcohol is wholly absent. You’d never guess from taste alone that you were drinking an alcoholic beverage. On the whole I liked it. But I like root beer. I suspect if you didn’t like root beer you’d find this to be a bizarre concoction. One to try again, but I’ll wait for a special offer before buying more.

12 comments:

Curmudgeon said...

"The taste of alcohol is wholly absent"

I'll have to recommend it to Anna Louie Sussman, then ;-)

Cooking Lager said...

Valentines coming up, Mudge. Send her a card, and take the bird out!

Sid Boggle said...

Oh! A different Frank. Carry on...

Curmudgeon said...

From the sound of it, this stuff actually is an alcopop - root beer soft drink with added alcohol, rather than a beer in the normal sense of the word.

Cooking Lager said...

It certainly tastes like an alcopop, Mudge, but alcopops have been getting clever because of tax rates.

With mixed spirit RTD's stiffed for tax, producers are better off with a flavoured fermentation. Like Forest fruit flavoured cider. I really don't know whether this is fermented or spiked with cheap ethanol, I do know that many similar products have a fermented base, like the new Ginger ales etc.

Could easily be a light ale with heavy dose of soda stream syrup, and in the soda stream!

Flagon of Ale said...

I enjoy a good root beer. Where did you get that excellent Cobra glass, though? I drank from a half-pint version of that glass while on vacation, and I'd really love to have one. I suspect I know the answer, but thought I'd ask. Care to share?

Mark said...

Interesting, I haven't seen this but I'd like to give it a try. Also interesting that it's Koppaberg, so they are branching sideways from the apples and pears. I don't have much of a sweet tooth so don't think I'd manage much more than a sip but still, I'd like to try it.

BeerReviewsAndy said...

I saw this in tesco the other day, very nearly bought it then i remembred the abomination that was franks alcoholic ginger beer so steered well clear....

Cooking Lager said...

@Flagon. Didn't nick it. A xmas gift box pack with bottles of Cobra, glass and curry recipe book.

@Mark Worth a try. If you like soft Root beer, you'll like this. Mudge is right, it's alcopop, but alcopops are nice because pop is nice. It's not sessionable. You'd struggle with more than one. Difficult to get pissed on. Heh, maybe that makes it responsible alcopop?

Flagon of Ale said...

Thanks for the tip. They seem to really push the curry "pairing" with all their merch, which I don't quite get. I had hoped some online retailer might have them but since they only seem to be in the UK, I think I'm out of luck to find a glass. I have too many beer glasses as it is already, so that's probably for the best.

Curmudgeon said...

Hmm, I got some of this from Tesco to try it. VERY medicinal - tastes like liquid Germolene. But I'd agree you can't taste any alcohol at all in it. And, no, it won't become a regular purchase. But I'll force myself to finish it ;-)

Anonymous said...

I came across this today in Tesco £1.89 a bottle i bought to try and will be going back for more it's absolutley LUSH...... but again it's like marmite you'll love it or hate it.