Apr 182018

Thomas Kemper Root Beer BottleEvery now and then the makers of a root beer will feel that it’s time for a change. This could come from a desire to improve their product or perhaps to cut costs. When this occurs they seldom let the public know, and even less often do they change their name to sufficiently differentiate the pre and post change products. Thomas Kemper, for reasons I know not, has gone down this route. I’m not sure when it started, but I did notice that the bottle and label have changed significantly as of late. Indeed the ingredients are slightly different as are the nutritional values. And it’s lost the Pure Draft portion of its name. Implying of course that it is no longer pure nor draft, and instead it’s just a root beer. They do pepper the bottle with some little catch phrases like “Cane Sugar Soda” and “Small Batch” and my personal (ironically) favorite “Every Batch Made from Scratch”. Noticeably missing is “Original” since this no longer is the original Thomas Kemper Pure Draft Root Beer. I wonder if they improved it.

The Body has a noticeable honey flavor that’s a little fruity, which happens with some honeys. It tastes mildly of sassafras and there’s some vanilla in there as well. It’s nice but the flavors are not very strong. The Bite is more like a nibble with a smallest bit of spice. Yet, it isn’t really smooth. The Head is very tall and frothy as is should be, enough to get some bonus points. The Aftertaste is a light vanilla with some cane sugar and honey going on, but not nearly enough I’m afraid.

This one is rather bland unfortunately. Sweet but bland. It’s got some of the right flavors, but they aren’t nearly pronounced enough. While their Pure Draft was good but not quite there, this is rather ‘meh’. They should have stuck with the original, HFCS notwithstanding. 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