Jun 082016
 

Bottle of Iron Horse Root BeerSeal of Approval I got this in late 1999 or early 2000. It was one of my first mail orders, and I had to order 12 of them since variety packs were not an option in those days. I picked it because it looks awesome with that train and metallic shine (which is really hard to capture in a picture with the flash on a white background). When I first tried it I was blown away like never before, I was standing when I took my first drink and I had to sit down. It was that good. I got on the phone and called a friend and told him I’d found the best root beer EVER, and I awarded my first 5 kegs. In the next year or so I had multiple cases and then I went on my mission to Madagascar, a great dry spell for me as it were. When I got back my parents had a case waiting, but as I drank it against Hank’s and Henry’s, it didn’t seem to taste as good as it once did. I figured I’d had a bad batch and over the years had it again and again, each time disappointed (and by that I mean not the greatest thing ever made). Finally I had the The Ultimate Root Beer Showdown and realized I needed to re-rate this.

This has a very sweet medium Body and a very nice Bite. There’s some cinnamon and other spices that really grab the tongue. There is also a lovely caramelized corn syrup flavor that is very unique. The Head is ok and medium frothy. The Aftertaste is of vanilla and spices.

It is still a really good root beer, but doesn’t hold up against the others like it used to. Maybe they changed the recipe, the ingredients and nutritional info are the same but who knows what could be different with the whole “natural and artificial flavor”. Maybe it’s me. Maybe all the cholera I had in Madagascar changed my tastes such that what had made this and only this amazing no longer does. I don’t know. What I do know is that it is still a fine brew to be had whenever possible, but not the greatest root beer in the world. Sorry and congrats at the same time I guess? See how it rates against other root beers.

4 kegs




Apr 272016
 

Jumpin Johnny's Root Beer Bottle This was the first root beer I reviewed after returning from my mission in Madagascar and South Africa. I was gone for two years and the only root beer I had was my mission recipe from some extract my parents sent me. When I returned home there was a case of this, a case of Henry’s, a case of Hank’s, and a case of Iron Horse waiting for me. I waited about two weeks before trying this, drinking the others to make sure I fully remembered what good root beer tasted like. The name of this annoys me. It should be Jumpin’ or Jumping. I don’t know who Johnny is, but he clearly has some mad skills. He’s jumping over a root beer keg on speed skates while holding a foamy mug of root beer. I know I couldn’t even jump over the barrel with a mug of brew if it were on grass, let alone speed skates. The reward for this feat was of course getting his own root beer named after him.

This root beer has an exceptionally sweet and delicious Body but although it is delicious at first, it proves rather hollow. There is not much Bite and it has very little Head on it. The Aftertaste is nothing special and even turns slightly fruity after awhile which counters the sweet flavor at the beginning.

They put real sugar and clover honey making this one of the sweetest brews I’ve ever encountered. Because of the sweet delicious flavor, it does go very well with food and therefore is drinkable and actually very desirable in that a food like pizza is greatly complimented by the sweet flavor, and the pizza flavor will fill the hollowness and mask the unpleasantness of the Aftertaste. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three kegs




Jan 272016
 

Thomas Kemper Root Beer Bottle One of the first five gourmet root beers I ever had. I can’t remember when I first saw it show up at Safeway, but it was after I had fallen in love with Henry’s yet before I became The Root Beer Gourmet that I am. I almost never got it since I had Henry’s (spoiler alert: I liked the Henry’s more), even though this was made with pure Washington honey. With my small sample size (four or five root beers at that point) I was wondering if all quality root beers would be named after somebody. Another special thing about this brew is that it was one of four brews in my blind taste test. You see, someone at my work said that all of my root beer preference was just hot air and I really couldn’t tell the difference. So I went home got a bottle of Henry’s, a bottle of this, a plastic bottle of A&W, and Safeway Select in a can and had my family administer the blind taste test. I correctly identified each root beer, and reported back to my coworker in the sort of taunts you’d expect from a 17 year old working on a farm.

A better than average brew but nothing spectacular. Nice Body, Bite, Head, and Aftertaste. Good on everything but not great on any of them.

And the sort of writing you’d expect from one of my earliest of early reviews. It was creamy with a nice honey flavor as well, but below Henry’s in all aspects. It’s plenty good all around and doesn’t really have any thing wrong with it, so it’s fine for floats and meals and what not. It just had the misfortune of being in the shadow of something greater. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three and a half kegs