Sep 172014

Trader Joe's Root Beer Bottle 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 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.

Three and a half kegs

Sep 102014

White Rose Springs Root Beer Bottle I know it doesn’t say “Springs” on the bottle but the people who make it insist on calling it that. You’d think they’d put the name on the bottle but no, why would they do something easy and consistent like that? That brings me to wonder about all of the root beers named after springs. It usually has something to do with the soda works’ water supply, but not for this one. This one is actually bottled by Natrona. It has the same slightly too tall, slightly not enough root beer as the Red Ribbon Root Beer. It even has the same nutritional information and listed ingredients as Red Ribbon. If I didn’t know any better I’d say they were the same root beer simply relabeled. Luckily, I do know better as I called them to find out and they swear the two are different. The label says that this root beer is “Definitely Better” but doesn’t say just what it is better than. For lack of any further clarification on that part I’m going to say they mean than Red Ribbon.

The Body is dark and turns fruity after the initial contact. There’s some anise and wintergreen hints in there as well. There’s a strong Bite, mostly from carbonation, that hits after you first start drinking but it subsides quickly for a smooth finish. The Head is medium short and fizzes away quickly. The Aftertaste is fruity and minty and isn’t my favorite.

Take away the fruity and this could be decent, but not as it is now. It is better than Red Ribbon, though I wouldn’t say Definitely Better. Maybe they were comparing themselves to Free Natural in which case I’ll agree. See how it rates against other root beers.

2.5/5 Root Beer Kegs

Sep 032014

Slaughter County Brewing Company Root Beer Seal of ApprovalThis past Friday my parents were visiting for the Labor Day weekend. I decided that we should all take a ferry ride to Bremerton because it is an awesome ride. The question arose of what to do when we got there and well, I figured we’d go and get some root beer and have lunch. I decided to check if there was any new place that I’d missed and the lovely Google Maps showed Slaughter County Brewing Company in Port Orchard. I called them and asked if they made their own root beer and they said that they did. Therefore, that’s where we went for lunch. The whole place is very pirate themed, with skulls and skeletons and cannons and ships and whatnot. It’s got personality like few places ever do. They run on a skeleton crew, so you order at the bar and then they bring it up to you. We got six root beers, one for each of us, and then I got to reviewing.

The Body is darker with prominent anise and wintergreen flavors with spice. The anise isn’t too strong though and there’s also some caramel hints. The Bite is nice. There’s good amount of cloves and a nice carbonation level. The Head is nice and tall and lingers; not the longest, but it’s quite nice. The Aftertaste, surprisingly, is a creamy vanilla with a caramel finish.

Yum! I’m quite surprised by this one, at the first drink I thought it was just going to be an above average dark and spicy brew, but then that Aftertaste completely changes it up as though it were a creamy caramel type. I like it a lot. It’s got my favorite aspects of both genres of brew. Add in a nice Head to seal (pun intended) the deal and I’m proud to give this one a solid 4 kegs. The food there is pretty yummy too. I had the Musket Balls (meat balls) topped with The Seven Deadly Seasonings and absolutely loved them. I also got some wings and other family members had pizzas or sandwiches. We were all quite satisfied. We even got a growler of root beer to take back with us. A root beer this good and unique you don’t run into every day after all.

4 kegs

My dinner of Buffalo Wings and Musket Balls with the Seven Deadly Seasonings. So good. Plus some pizza and my Dad's Cuban Sandwich.

My dinner of Buffalo Wings and Musket Balls with the Seven Deadly Seasonings. So good. Plus some pizza and my Dad’s Cuban Sandwich.

The brewery in the back of the restaurant.

The brewery in the back of the restaurant.

Right inside the door. Also the dart boards.

Right inside the door. Also the dart boards.

The bar. Notice the pirate stuff everywhere.

The bar. Notice the pirate stuff everywhere.