Apr 052017

Soda Folk Root Beer Bottle Yet another UK root beer. Well, kind of a UK root beer. Soda Folk is a UK company and this brew can only be obtained there, but the owner is from Colorado and the root beer is actually made by the Tommyknocker Brewery. I figured it out when I saw they used maple syrup and aged vanilla which Tommyknocker also uses. The labels used identical paper as well. The owner, Ken, said that it was even Tommyknocker’s recipe. Then I had to figure out which recipe it was since Tommyknocker seems to have a new recipe every other year, and whether or not it was unique. As best as I could track down it appeared to be Tommyknocker New Root Beer but with some slight differences in the nutritional info, most likely to meet UK standards. So it is different so I can review it. This was very welcome news to anthony who ordered this brew and graciously traded me some. Who’d want to spend shipping fees to England only to find it’s merely a vanity label? But since it isn’t on to the review.

The Body is medium strength with aged vanilla and maple flavors. Wintergreen is also present. The Bite is strong, sharp, and spicy. The Head is good and lingers. The Aftertaste is more maple and vanilla with a little bitter hint, from the wintergreen.

Well this is a pretty good brew. Especially when you think that it’s sold in England. I would say that it’s the best UK root beer yet, but since it’s made in Colorado, I can’t really label it that way. There is hope for our neighbors across the pond though, if they start liking this stuff, maybe it’ll raise the quality of the rest of their brews. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three and a half kegs

Mar 172015

Tommyknocker and Polar
Some people hate staying the same. They eschew tradition and continuity in favor of change. The principle offender in the root beer world of this is Tommyknocker, having changed its name twice and its recipe four times in the last 10 years. So why would they keep with a good Seal of Approval formula? This time their “New Root Beer” is gone, replaced by an All Natural Root Beer, and since they changed the name they figured they shuffle the ingredients a bit, adding things like citric acid and deciding it’s wiser to put more Organic Root Beer Flavor than Caramel Color. So a new name, a new recipe, means new reviews for folks that do that sort of thing.

Polar, the makers of Polar Classics Premium Root Beer was so inspired that they decided to change their label, name, and recipe too. Like adding more sugar and getting rid of their artificial ingredients. Now root beer reviewers everywhere can rejoice that there are two new brews to try and write about. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some root beer to drink.

Feb 262014

Tommyknocker New Root Beer BottleSeal of Approval I honestly hope this is the last time I have to review a Tommyknocker Root Beer. You see, after my second/last review and the rebuke of Tommyknocker that went with it, they went and changed their recipe. I found this out when I saw bottles of it at The Root Beer Store. They were really pushing their Tahitian Vanilla, in the ingredients. Meh, I said, I’ll get around to it someday. Then about a year later I looked and the bottle had changed. Notice the “New” on there. Gone was the Tahitian Vanilla (who likes Tahiti anyways?) and it was replaced by organic vanilla (which evidently cannot come from Tahiti), and all the ingredients are all natural with no preservatives. So now it’s Tommyknocker New Root Beer, yet, it’s still “Original” somehow. Original in that no other brand has changed their recipe so often in such a short space of time perhaps? Either way, I finally capitulated the way you do to a toddler asking you the same question over and over and over and over … and over and over … and over again, and bought two bottles to review. I also got a third for my wife because she’s always bugging me about how she wants an all natural root beer without preservative and how I’m filling myself with terrible chemicals with all of the other root beers I’m drinking.

The Body is nice and sweet that starts with a medium strength generic root beer flavor giving way to maple and vanilla. The Bite is prickly. It seems like that comes both from some spice and the carbonation, but once again, the maple quickly drowns it out. The Head is excellent! It builds right to the top of my mug but doesn’t quite spill over. It lingers throughout the whole drinking experience as a root beer Head should. The Aftertaste is some sticky maple and vanilla.

Ok, this one is great, though still not as good as their original(?) recipe, it’s better than their second iteration. Without any preservatives detracting from the mouth feel, added to the maple bonus and excellent Head, they barely squeak through to regain their lost the Seal of Approval. Now please, please, please, don’t go messing it up again. See how it rates against other root beers.

4 kegs