My uncle brought this up from California one visit after I’d been reviewing for about a year. At the time Trader Joe’s wasn’t near as spread as it is now and I had never even heard of it. For some reason all I could think of was “Hey Joe, what do you know?” I still actually think about that anytime I see this bottle. It’s got a sort of surfer theme on the label, which is similar to what you’ll actually find in the Trader Joe’s stores. As expected from them, this is all natural without any preservatives or artificial flavors. However, it still has HFCS because avoiding those wasn’t trendy in the late 90s. It’s also “Premium Draught Style” making it one of only three other brews to use the olde spelling of draft. Reading further in their flavor text explains that it is “turn-of-the-century style” Evidently their thesaurus has Premium Draught as a synonym for turn-of-the-century.
It has a nice Body, Bite, and Aftertaste, but is lacking in Head. There is absolutely nothing special about this.
Drinking this is whelming, and dare I say, ceptional leaning heavily towards quite adequate. I might also describe it as credible, ordinary, markable, and standing. Basically I would put this as the stereotypical gourmet root beer and say that this stuff is completely average for me. It could be much worse but also much better. Congrats Trader Joe’s on a job done. See how it rates against other root beers.
Even though I live in CA and I can’t seem to find anything but the “Vintage” Trader Joe’s variety (i.e., no normal variety) — if you can get a hold of that one, it’s at least made with real sugar. I’d be interested if you notice any significant difference.
…and your synonyms for “average” are rather amusing…
They don’t make this variety anymore. There were several years where they were without any root beer and then they brought back the Vintage one. My review for that is coming, though not for another year.