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


Aug 272014
 

Red Ribbon Root Beer bottle There are many oddities about this brew. The first is that the bottle, while looking the standard shape and size, is actually about a millimeter or two taller than other long neck bottles I have. Why? I don’t know. The second that jumps out is the fact that while the bottle is ever so slightly taller, it contains 1 milliliter less root beer than a standard 12 ounce bottle. They all say 355 ml yet this one is only 354. If that isn’t nickel and dimeing you out of root beer I don’t know what is, especially since they oversized the bottle to compensate. Then there’s the “Pinpoint Carbonation” and the “Home Brewed Style” but the most glaring of all is the name itself. Red Ribbon is for second place. It’s like they didn’t even want to try to be the best, or have at least conceded that they’re not. You never see that on a product, “Second best soda” or “First Loser Brew” but yet, Red Ribbon is right here.

This has a Body that’s a little weak. There’s some wintergreen and maybe a tad bit of licorice in there as well. It’s pretty generic and also fruity. I never like that sour fruity. There’s not a lot of Bite but it really isn’t smooth either. The Head is tall but fizzes down quickly. The Aftertaste is fruity with faint traces of vanilla that don’t really mix well together.

It’s fair to say that I was whelmed by this brew. I’ve got to give their marketing team props for calling this even Red Ribbon. No doubt that was at the extreme end of the stretched ethics that is a corporate marketing department. First Loser Brew would probably be more appropriate. See how it rates against other root beers.

2 out of 5 root beer kegs