While perusing the non-alcoholic section at a few bottle shops across the state, I kept seeing the same old stuff – non-alcoholic beers, Hoppy Refresher and other hop water beverages, kombucha, and a ton of cold brews. In addition to these popular beer alternatives, “pop” as we refer to it in Michigan, was aplenty. One of the most unique beverages I came across though is the subject of this review.

The Northwoods Soda & Syrup bottle stopped me in my tracks. Espresso and Root Beer?! In the same container?! Yes, it was true. Northwoods Soda & Syrup Co, located in Williamsburg, MI, had concocted probably the most unique combination of flavors I had ever come across. I bought a bottle to give it a try.

The nose had a touch of coffee on it, but not much else. Northwoods partnered with Petoskey’s Roast & Toast, a café and roastery to give each bottle a “shot of espresso” using a blend of four coffees from around the world. The coffee is not as pronounced on the front end but does leave your mouth with a touch of that signature roasty element on the backend. Coffee stout lovers will know what I’m talking about.

The root beer was basic. It was not very carbonated, which was appreciated to try and find the espresso element. The pairing worked surprisingly well between the root beer and the coffee, but I think it would have been much better if the root beer had more of a vanilla profile that is found in other root beer brands. There is already 47 grams of sugar in the root beer, so what’s a little more to pair the two together better.

I think this is a great beverage to try during Dry January. I think it is more of a novelty drink than one I would have in my regular rotation.


Disclaimer: Ed purchased a bottle of Espresso Root Beer for this review.

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By Ed Norton

Edwin "Ed" Norton was first introduced to craft beer when his designated fraternity Big Brother Vince asked him if he knew anything about the topic. Ed admitted his ignorance and the rest is history as Ed and Vince would split six-packs of craft beers each week during Ed's probationary status. Ed is now a craft beer enthusiast who is always on the lookout for a beer he has not tried when bottle shopping or drinking at breweries and bars. In addition to drinking beer, this livelong Michigan resident enjoys a bunch of hobbies that he doubts you really care about, other than drinking beer and sounding off about it.

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