Jan 302013

I love my coworkers. They’re always willing to bring me back root beers from their trips. This one was brought back from Texas by my esteemed colleague Jimmy Jeff, who has family there and goes often. H-E-B is a grocery store chain in Texas and northern Mexico. The fact that they not only have their own root beer in glass bottles, but have one of the coolest and completely original bottles puts them in a class above almost any other grocery chain in existence in my opinion. An added bonus, if you like being bilingual, is that the label is also in Spanish, which sets this also in a class of its own since all other root beers I’ve encountered with bi-lingual labeling did so in French and English (to keep the Québécois happy). So they’ve got about everything going for them up to this point. How is the brew itself?

The Body has a rich medium sassafras flavor that is creamy with vanilla hints surfacing. There are nice caramel overtones as well. The Bite is well balanced between spice and carbonation while not being overly strong. The Head is tall and moderately frothy though it fizzes down faster than I prefer. The Aftertaste is a light vanilla and caramel flavor that turns slightly bitter at the end before vanishing. The bitterness doesn’t build though, so it doesn’t affect the rest of the brew the more you drink. It’s kind of like eating bread dipped in olive oil, the slight bitter notes at the end.

Yum. I like it. It’s got the right attributes and still has a unique flavor. Is it good enough for the Seal though? I was right on the line with this so I drank a third bottle (because I had one) and freezer chilled it to see if it gets better or worse in the frosty mug. I normally don’t need a third bottle, and usually don’t have one but this one was just so on the line between 3.5 and 4 I figured it could help. The head turned incredible and everything else was just as rich and developed as before. I was convinced. The Seal of Approval it is. I really want to go visit an H-E-B now. If this is the quality of their store brand root beer, I wonder what other treasures they’ve got there. See how it rates against other root beers.