Following a wave of other retro sodas making a comeback into the craft soda market, 1979’s Ramblin’ Root Beer has been resurrected for another run. Coca-Cola first introduced the brand with a flashy ad campaign with a catchy jingle (and a young Sarah Jessica Parker) but by the mid eighties it was mostly relegated to fountains (gas stations, etc.). I’m not sure what this brand has against ending a word in a “g” (Ramblin’, somethin’ more, etc.).
Ultimately, when Coca-Cola purchased Barq’s Root Beer in 1995 the brand was abandoned altogether (on a side note, that sale to Coca-Cola was not without drama. Check out this article regarding a dispute from members of the Barq/Robinson families). I can’t find a source to direct you to, but a couple years ago Monarch Beverages out of Atlanta purchased the brand and introduced a couple companion flavors as well. This review is for the original root beer. Click here to see the other varieties.
I love the retro label that they’re using. It reminds me of Winnebago RV’s and bell-bottoms. A bottle of Ramblin’ probably looks the most at-home in an avocado colored fridge, but I made do with what I had.
The flavor was distinctive. There’s a real emphasis on sarsaparilla, which comes across as a bit bitter. It sticks with you, too. I tasted a bit of caramel and vanilla as well, but that bitter aftertaste was the note I most identified with the soda. It reminded me quite a bit of that lingering bitterness of black strap molasses. That’s not the flavor profile of root beer I prefer, but I imagine that others would like it. While I’d like to be objective with my rating I have to base it off of my personal taste preferences, and I can’t go higher than a 6.5 out of 10 on my rating scale. I also reviewed the other sodas in the Ramblin’ line. Click here to read those reviews.
Sampled in July 2017, received as a complimentary sample from Monarch Beverage