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.

Jun 132012

Another one from Northwoods Soda, the natural version of their Wild Bill’s. Pretty cool actually that they make two types of root beer. I always appreciate a company that makes more than one type of root beer. This one also features “organic sugar.” They say on the label that it is “Organic dehydrated cane juice” which is marketing speak for JUST PLAIN SUGAR! That’s right, cane juice? That’s what ALL cane sugar is made of. How do you get a solid from a liquid mixture? You remove the water or “dehydrate” it. I’ve been meaning to bring this up for sometime, because you’ll see this more and more these days as companies want to show how healthy and natural their sweetener is. Anyways, I guess organic Michigan beet sugar is too hard to come by or something so they went with cane sugar on this one. While I was excited to try the natural version, I was worried that it would be nasty like that Thomas Kemper Natural Root Beer.

This has a medium Body. There is a nice sweet caramel flavor and some vanilla hints. It is crisp but not creamy. The Bite is a tad sharp but ends smooth. The Head is a decent height and frothy so that it lasts several minutes. The Aftertaste is of spiced caramel and a tad vanilla that lasts awhile.

So, they didn’t screw it up like Thomas Kemper. Another solid brew from Northwoods. When comparing the regular Northwoods Wild Bill’s with this Natural side by side (I do have two frosty mugs after all) reveals that the Natural is a little milder and less creamy. It is more crisp and it has a better Head. I like the original a tad better than this one though they taste extremely similar. See how it rates against other root beers.

Apr 112012

I first heard of this when I was ordering some of the last Thomas Kemper Purely Natural Root Beer in existence. I wanted to see if I could get a few more varieties in the 12 pack to lessen the price per review on that one. I was told by the distributor that this one is brand new and wasn’t even on their website yet. Hooray! I may be one of the first root beer reviewers to try it. The idea seems cool. Less sugar so the other delicious root beer flavors can come through. That way I can drink more root beer and not get diabetes (which is a myth by the way).

It has a most amazing Head, like a Henry’s, tall and frothy and lingers for ages. However, that is all this has going for it. The Body is gross. It is weak and really sour. There’s only the tiniest hint of vanilla and other root beer flavor but they’re diluted to the point of being gross and drowned out by sour. Dry indeed! The Bite is horrendous. There are no spices but plenty of acid burn. The Head, for all it’s height and frothiness, tastes worse than the liquid so I actually wish it were much shorter. The Aftertaste is more sourness that lingers way too long.

This is like drinking straight carbonated water, but worse actually because those tiny hints of sugar and flavors make the whole thing just taste like a big gross mistake. What have they done? Where are all of the good root beer flavors? I can accept them cutting the sugar for a more refined taste or whatever, but it seems for every part sugar they cut, they cut two parts everything else. So, so terrible! If this is what grown-up sodas are meant to taste like, I’m moving to Neverland, or Toys-R-Us, or Chuck E. Cheese’s, or anywhere else to escape such an age induced fate. It does have a pretty bottle though and that amazing Head is worth another half keg to be sure. See how it rates against other root beers.