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




Dec 162015
 

Round Barn Root Beer BottleIn the tiny town of Arcadia, OK, on Route 66, there exists a place called Pops. There, on the iconic route, they’ve got it all; a restaurant, a landmark, a soda ranch, and a website that actually works. Their soda ranch boasts over 600 flavors, a good 1/6 of that coming from various root beers, birch beers, sarsaparillas, and associated diets. Very impressive. Not wanting to stop there, they decided to get their own flavor of root beer and contracted with the Huebert Brewing Company to make it for them. They decided to buck the whole Route 66 trend and instead named their root beer after some round barn. The picture is on the bottle and everything. In a town of less than 300 people, I can accept that a big ol’ round barn may just be defining feature of the place. The Wikipedia article on Arcadia confirms this as it has exactly one photo in it which is nearly identical to the label picture, same angle and everything. Curiously, the article doesn’t mention anything about said round barn, so maybe it’s just for looks or something.

The Body is rather bland. It’s really REALLY sweet and syrupy but only a medium flavor profile. It’s a tad creamy with the slightest shadow of wintergreen, but you really have to look hard. There’s also a fruity hint. There is the slightest spice Bite but not much in the carbonation department. That all fizzes up to build a very nice Head that’s tall and lingers awhile, though it’s not a high froth Head. The Aftertaste is sticky corn syrup that turns bitter.

So about a week before I tried this I got an email from someone claiming my review of Henry Weinhard’s was wrong because it uses HFCS and that tastes inferior to sugar and as the primary ingredient it would have the most pronounced flavor. I responded that the sugar doesn’t make the brew and other ingredients can have much stronger flavors. This brew, however, fits exactly what he was getting at. It has a very high 47g of HFCS and that is by far the dominant flavor. Really this tastes like moderately flavored corn syrup drink, like if you watered down some Aunt Jemima. I’m not a big fan. See how it rates against other root beers.

2.5/5 Root Beer Kegs