Dec 262018

Tommyknocker All Natural Root Beer BottleI told you last time that I hoped it was the last time. Alas, it was not to be. Strange to hear me bemoaning a new root beer to review, but I’m just getting tired of Tommyknocker’s antics. They’re like the gambling addict who can’t quit when he’s ahead, or even when he’s losing badly. Just one more try they say, I’ll win it back, I’ll win more… It never works that way. They had a Seal of Approval, with their New Root Beer, they’d finally achieved some redemption, but no, they wanted to give it another shot, another spin on the wheel, and change their recipe. At least they had the decency to change their name again. Now it’s All Natural Root Beer, because evidently that’s just what they needed. They also dispensed with their “1859” and “original” from their labels, knowing that trying to claim the same original recipe since inception was so laughable it had become sad. Despite my annoyance, I dutifully purchased my bottles to see what they’d concocted this time.

The Body is medium strength with maple and aged vanilla flavors that are all out of balance and don’t ensemble well at all. It’s also sort of sour. The Bite is spicy yet smooth so that’s at least good. The Head is excellent! The Aftertaste is a clumsy mix of maple, vanilla, and wintergreen wrapped in some sour herbs.

Tommyknocker, what have you done? This is by far your worst brew yet. Though the Head and the Bite are good, the Body and the Aftertaste fail hard. It’s like you stopped trying halfway through. I figured it wouldn’t impress, but to be downright bad? Every try before at least had a rather rich mapley goodness, but now, it’s barely there. You had the Seal, you were ahead, but like the gambler, you put it all on black for double or nothing, and it landed on green. I’m sure in two more years they’ll tweak their recipe and name yet again. I have a feeling it will only get worse. See how it rates against other root beers.

2.5/5 Root Beer Kegs

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

Mar 212018

Old Bottle Brewery Root Beer Bottle The Old Bottle Brewery is a small home brewery founded in 2014 in Ruston, Louisiana. It’s just a small part time operation though they have big, professional aspirations for the future. Even though they are small, they make their own root beer and were even kind enough to send me some. Their brew is made with all natural ingredients like molasses, wintergreen, vanilla, and nutmeg. All the ingredients are listed on the “label” which is tied around the bottle neck. Unfortunately if you brew all natural, you don’t get to use sassafras, and that can be bad for the total flavor. Apart from that tied on tag, the bottle is entirely plain, but all that really matters is how it tastes.

The Body is complex with a lot of different flavors; vanilla, molasses, some wintergreen, and spices, but it lacks a solid core to pull it all together. Nevertheless, it is still pleasant. The Bite is nice from all of the spices and still finishes a bit smooth. The Head is excellent, so full points there. The Aftertaste is also very pleasant, with vanilla and light molasses and spices.

This isn’t bad, but doesn’t excel. It’s got all of the wonderful peripheral flavors but really lacks the sassafras core. There are other brews that suffer from this same problem, but this is among the better ones. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three kegs