Jones Soda has its fans, and I will totally admit that I am not one of them.
I just can’t get behind their style – inventing new flavors every few days, putting out flavors where the thrill is the tie-in and not the taste.
If you go to the Jones Soda site right now, it’s advertising a soda based off the movie “9” (the soda is named “To Protect Us,” which doesn’t really tell you want to expect when you take a sip), a Julius Jones flavored soda (I imagine it tastes like sweat and stale cigarettes, myself), a “Magic: The Gathering” series of sodas (“for planeswalkers”) and a “Dungeons and Dragons” series of sodas, plus a Breast Cancer Awareness soda. Because if there’s anything you want to be thinking about while drinking soda, it’s breast cancer. But I don’t want to buy a soda flavored like the G.I. Joe movie. I want to buy a soda that tastes good.
And that’s why I don’t like the Jones Soda Root Beer. Because it doesn’t taste anything like root beer.
Now, I know that root beer’s not for everyone. Some people only like Coke, or Sprite, or they don’t like soda at all. I have no issue with these people, though they often have issue with me. People who don’t drink soda are, almost without exception, snotty about this fact. Other groups who fit this profile: people who don’t own televisions*, people who buy their clothes exclusively from vintage stores, people who read Faulkner on airplanes, 24-Hour Fitness trainers and “health consultants”, and anyone who makes anything by hand that can be bought at a store for under ten dollars.
By the way, here are some groups who aren’t universally snotty about their superiority even though most people assume that they are: vegetarians, HBO subscribers, people who troll junkyards for deals, dog breeders, indie musicians, trainers from non-24 Hour Fitness gyms, and people that own their own pool stick or bowling ball. All that to say: Jones Soda aficionados belong in the first group, and so I went into this taste test with a little bit of malice directed towards the brand in general. And maybe that affected my view of the soda, but I doubt it. Instead, I just think that Jones Soda Root Beer is really terrible.
Instead of a creamy, rich flavor, Jones Root Beer is packed with wintergreen (why?), leading to an overpowering feeling you’re swallowing a weak cough syrup flavored vaguely like root beer. It’s too thin, too flavored – as if they had some big tin of generic soda into which they just poured flavoring.
Jones Soda was one of the first to jump onto the cane sugar bandwagon, and also one of the first to get it wrong. Skip this soda, even when you really want a root beer and don’t have any other options. You’ll only be disappointed.
*my parents are possibly the first and possibly only exception to this rule.