Nov 042015

TraderJoeVintage_big This was the first root beer that I reviewed after my graduation, when I was finally able to put more time into reviewing. It isn’t the first Trader Joe’s root beer that’s been made and if history is any lesson it won’t be the last. There have been two other gourmet root beers offered from Trader Joe’s in the last 15 years, though sadly, I’ve only had one of those two. There was awhile when they didn’t have any and then one day I just saw them there. I consulted with the manager to make sure that this was a new recipe which they said it was. It seems that after my scathingly average review given to their previous root beer, they came back with a different, new, yet vintage recipe. So how does it fare compared to its ill fated sibling?

The Body has a dark rooty flavor on the initial contact but then is rather hollow after that with only slight hints of vanilla and wintergreen. The Bite is solid but not too much. The Head is adequate and frothy. The Aftertaste is rather empty with a little creamy wintergreen flavor coming through and a little bit of fruity from the citric acid. The flavors just kind of disappear from your mouth.

So it is definitely different than their original. But is it better? Well, if you like hollow bodied root beers with a solid bite and head than yes, but if you prefer a full bodied root beer, which I do, then sadly no. It isn’t bad by any means, it just isn’t enough. Since my last review seemed to cause a reformulation (that’s my story an I’m sticking to it) I wholly expect them to try again until they get a recipe I like. Here’s hoping at least. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three kegs

Oct 282015

Propeller Root Beer Bottle This is from a trade with a fine fellow by the name of Red Hunt who likes to travel and write about said travels. He also likes root beer, though he doesn’t write about that. Most importantly though (for me anyways) is that he’s Canadian which means in addition to saying ‘eh’ several times in each sentence, he has access to brews that are much harder for me to get. This one for instance, comes all the way from Halifax, Nova Scotia, where, coincidentally, my brother is serving his mission. It comes in a 341 ml bottle which is a really strange volume. It doesn’t convert to an even number of anything else. The closest is in imperial ounces, which it is 12.0015. They just wanted to be different I guess. The label says that it’s produced by the John Allen Brewing Company but the cap says it’s from the Propeller Brewing Company. It looks as if those are the same, but seriously guys. Get your act together. Strange volumes and can’t make up your mind on the name of your own company. Who knows what other strangeness you’ve got.

The Body is sweet with the standard creamy root beer flavor. It is a little on the light side but it has some nice cane sugar and vanilla as well as some spice. The Bite is decent from the aforementioned spice. I think I want to say there’s some cinnamon. The Head is medium height with average staying power. It forms large bubbles as it fizzes down which is kind of unique. The Aftertaste is a light vanilla and cane sugar that doesn’t quite last long enough.

This is a good brew that just needs to be a little stronger. At least they’ve largely got making their root beer figured out. With the other oddities I half expected it to be some weird fusion crossover type root beer. This is probably better. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three and a half kegs

Oct 212015

Journey Desert Sage Root Beer BottleThis is the second root beer that I had from the Journey folks. The first one I tried I liked about as well as a punch in the face from the guy that both stole my high school sweetheart and disrespected my grandmother, not that that ever happened, but I’m sure that’s the sort of situation that would make me feel like I felt drinking the first bottle of Journey Root Beer that I drank. Needless to say I had high expectations for this one, not in a good way, but high hopes that this would set a new low in root beer vileness. I mean, they use desert sage in this one, which I can’t imagine would be a good thing at all. Supposedly the Native Americans/American Indians/First Nation/Whatever used to do that as well, or so the bottle claims. But then again, they’d also eat raw deer intestines.

The Body has a gross fruity medicine like flavor which is painful to drink. It is thankfully rather watery for if it were stronger I would probably have puked. It doesn’t really have a Bite, and there is no Head to speak of whatsoever. In all honesty it is the worst root beer head I have ever seen. There is not much Aftertaste but what is there is bad.

How they can even pretend that this is root beer? I agree with the bottle that this is a “Historic Brew” as in the history of root beer few brews have been so vile. I think I may actually prefer raw deer guts to it … maybe not. The bottle is pretty but it was so awful in so many other aspects as to negate half of the keg awarded for the prettiness of the bottle. The company has since gone out of business. I nearly had a heart attack and died of not surprise. See how it rates against other root beers.

Half a root beer keg.