Apr 252018

Bull's Head Root Beer Bottle Awhile back I got in touch with another Seattle reviewer, The SodaFry, who reviews all sodas as well as french fries and french fry dishes, which includes fried green tomatoes evidently. Anyways he went up to Canada to find sodas and fries and brought back a few extra bottles of this stuff for which I traded him some extra, hard to find brews that I had. It all went down in the underground bus tunnel at Westlake and kind of felt like some black market deal. Bull’s Head is a Quebecois beverage company that started in 1896 making ginger ale. It has a long and storied history with their ginger ale, while the root beer is a more recent edition. It has a really cool stubby little bottle that few other root beers have every come in. The label also looks old fashioned, like it might have back in the 1890s, and coupled with the stubby bottle, gives the brew a very unique and sort of special feel. It’s also 100% natural for people who care about that sort of thing.

The Body is mild with vanilla as the prominent flavor. It isn’t a very sweet brew, but it is well balanced. The Bite is mild as well with only a little spice. The Head has good height but dissipates quickly. The Aftertaste is light vanilla with some bitter hints.

All in all this is a pleasant and refreshing brew. While it has great potential, it just doesn’t deliver enough. It just needs a bit more oomph in all departments. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three kegs

Apr 182018

Thomas Kemper Root Beer BottleEvery now and then the makers of a root beer will feel that it’s time for a change. This could come from a desire to improve their product or perhaps to cut costs. When this occurs they seldom let the public know, and even less often do they change their name to sufficiently differentiate the pre and post change products. Thomas Kemper, for reasons I know not, has gone down this route. I’m not sure when it started, but I did notice that the bottle and label have changed significantly as of late. Indeed the ingredients are slightly different as are the nutritional values. And it’s lost the Pure Draft portion of its name. Implying of course that it is no longer pure nor draft, and instead it’s just a root beer. They do pepper the bottle with some little catch phrases like “Cane Sugar Soda” and “Small Batch” and my personal (ironically) favorite “Every Batch Made from Scratch”. Noticeably missing is “Original” since this no longer is the original Thomas Kemper Pure Draft Root Beer. I wonder if they improved it.

The Body has a noticeable honey flavor that’s a little fruity, which happens with some honeys. It tastes mildly of sassafras and there’s some vanilla in there as well. It’s nice but the flavors are not very strong. The Bite is more like a nibble with a smallest bit of spice. Yet, it isn’t really smooth. The Head is very tall and frothy as is should be, enough to get some bonus points. The Aftertaste is a light vanilla with some cane sugar and honey going on, but not nearly enough I’m afraid.

This one is rather bland unfortunately. Sweet but bland. It’s got some of the right flavors, but they aren’t nearly pronounced enough. While their Pure Draft was good but not quite there, this is rather ‘meh’. They should have stuck with the original, HFCS notwithstanding. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three kegs

Apr 112018

Batch Brown Sugar Root Beer Bottle I’ve had many different “flavored” root beers. Vanilla root beers, butterscotch root beers, maple root beers, birch, sarsaparilla, honey, caramel, and even cherry root beers. But I’ve not yet had one that calls itself a “brown sugar” root beer. Not that there hasn’t been brown sugar in other root beers I’ve drank before, it’s just no one has ever decided to make that their main selling point. Interestingly, brown sugar isn’t listed on the ingredients, just “pure cane sugar”. This could include brown sugar but it’s kind of odd to not list it separately. Batch is a relatively new soda company. It was established in 2013 with the goal of evoking a connection to authenticity and inspiring the creation of new memories through their soda recipes. They list the batch number on the label, in this case, 714, but I’m not sure if they change that every run. A quick google image search does not reveal any labels with numbers other than 714, but there’s also not many pictures period, so I can’t make a definitive conclusion. Anyways, on to the review.

The Body is mild and generic with fruity overtones and some vanilla. It’s got the kind of fruity that you get if you put too much brown sugar in your oatmeal. There isn’t much Bite and, unfortunately, it isn’t very smooth. The Head is nice and tall with medium staying power, so it’s pretty good. The Aftertaste is more fruity vanilla flavor.

I said it already, but the flavor really reminds me of the times I’ve put ridiculous amounts of brown sugar in my oatmeal and it has an kind of fruity flavor. And you know how I feel about a lot of fruity in my root beer. It’s a shame really, I could have seen this being much better. See how it rates against other root beers.

2.5/5 Root Beer Kegs