Dec 162013
 

Root Beer cans and bottles in Saudi Arabia
This last week I had the immense pleasure of traveling to Dhahran in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to do more electric car academic things, presentations and a thesis defense. I of course was on the look out for the greatest soft drink the world has and ever will known/know. I was simultaneously hopeful and worried. Hopeful, because all alcoholic beverages are banned and so many beer companies make 0.0% malt beverage to sell there, and worried because none of my Saudi friends have ever liked root beer. And also because the internet filter put on by the government blocked my site. I assume it is due to the “beer” in the title of Eric’s Gourmet Root Beer Site and all of the talking of root “beer”. I did send an unblock request explaining the misconception so hopefully it will be taken care of soon. Either way, it didn’t bode well for root beer finding.

I searched in every grocery store and cafe I encountered, and while I did find many new and strange sodas and malt beverages, root beer eluded me until the second to last day. I had gone to Safeway in search of a post card (also something nigh impossible to find). In the soda section I saw cans of imported A&W, my heart was swollen with joy, but not as much as when I turned the corner and saw another display with bottles of IBC. A drinkable gourmet root beer in a regular grocery store. A most triumphant win for the good people of the Kingdom this is. With any luck it will catch on and they’ll start making their own version for me to review. Until then, all root beer lovers heading out that way for extended periods of time can rest easy in the knowledge that some gourmet brew is awaiting.


Aug 152012
 

I got this on trade with another reviewer who goes by the name of Cosmo. He’s pretty much the Anti-Eric – He thinks Henry Weihard’s (pretty much my standard) is the worst root beer in the world and that IBC (his standard) is the best. To each his own I suppose but I can’t help but think that he looks down upon me for liking Henry’s so much (and IBC so little). Though I’d never spoken with him, I figured I would make a preemptive strike and out of the blue offer him one of the world’s last bottles of Thomas Kemper Purely Natural since he hadn’t reviewed it. The plan worked perfectly, though he still disagrees with me about many of my brews of choice. He sent a reciprocal offering of Blumers, though it isn’t the last in the world but that’s ok, I’ve never tried it. This stuff is made my Minhas Brewery, the same people who make The Cubby Bear, but the ingredients and nutritional info are different. It’s got a pretty cool label all frilled like a postage stamp and the bottle has and embossed ‘M’ in the glass.

It has a sweet and creamy medium Body with noticeable vanilla. Then there is a strange caramelized corn syrup herbal flavor that tastes a lot like bubble gum. The Bite is solid and spicy. The Head is short and fizzes down much too quickly, though it doesn’t leave in mere seconds so it could be worse. The Aftertaste is the bubble gum flavor that last way too long. It builds the more you drink until that is almost all you can taste. At the end of the long and gross bubble gum Aftertaste, it turns bitter.

Ugh. What a disappointment. That weird and bitter bubblegum flavor progressively overpowers everything else so the more I drink this, the less I want to keep drinking. I suppose it’s a good one to pass around amongst a group but really, a bottle by itself is not good at all. So Cosmo sent me a nasty root beer and I sent him a nasty root beer. Fair trade I suppose. See how it rates against other root beers.