My regular readers know that I really appreciate Sprecher sodas. Especially the root beer. You can see all of my various reviews of their products by following this link. While I love Sprecher, I generally do not love low/zero calorie sodas, so I was curious if they would be able to produce something in that space that I would enjoy. Disclaimer, Sprecher provided me the soda free of charge, but there was no other payment or conditions placed for this blog post.
Let’s start with some general information about the original Sprecher root beer compared to the low calorie version. I received 16 ounce cans of each beverage, so it should be an apples to apples comparison.
The regular can will add 260 calories to your day, whereas the low calorie version is only 45. There is still sugar in the low calorie recipe (and honey), but they use less of it. It contains sodium saccharin in its place which serves as an alternative sweetener. I also noted vanillin and vanilla as ingredients in the low calorie can that did not appear on the ingredients list of the regular. Both of the sodas contain maltodextrin which provides some creaminess and body.
As you can see above, the two root beers look identical. They also smelled identical. To evaluate whether or not they taste identical I had my wife switch them up on the table and I tried them each blindly. I immediately identified the low calorie root beer, but it was much closer than I expected.
I love Sprecher root beer because it has so much body and richness. Low calorie sodas tend to taste a bit hollow to me. Or watered down. They lack the body of a full sugared soda, and often leave an artificial aftertaste on your palate. The Sprecher low calorie root beer had a little less body than the regular one, but it was still creamy and had a similar flavor profile. The regular root beer left an almost caramel like finish on my tongue, but the low calorie root beer finished much cleaner. Some will probably prefer that (a couple people in my family did), but I’d still take the regular root beer if you gave me a choice. This low calorie root beer was the best that I’ve ever had, and I think that Sprecher did a fantastic job. Even if you agree with me that it’s not 100% up to the original, at one fifth the calories it might be an obvious sacrifice to make for a lot of people.
Root Beer Floats
While I had cans of each root beer open, I decided to do some floats as well. Tillamook’s Old Fashioned Vanilla is my ice cream of choice for floats, and I made a small one using each root beer. The low calorie version worked really well here, and I only noticed a significant difference at the very end of the glass. Again, the regular root beer had a bit more of a bold caramel flavor, but the low calorie float was very good.
Sprecher is based out of the Glendale, WI area, but you can also find their sodas online. The root beer can be purchased in either bottles or cans. Here’s a link to the cans for those that are interested.