Nov 042015

TraderJoeVintage_big This was the first root beer that I reviewed after my graduation, when I was finally able to put more time into reviewing. It isn’t the first Trader Joe’s root beer that’s been made and if history is any lesson it won’t be the last. There have been two other gourmet root beers offered from Trader Joe’s in the last 15 years, though sadly, I’ve only had one of those two. There was awhile when they didn’t have any and then one day I just saw them there. I consulted with the manager to make sure that this was a new recipe which they said it was. It seems that after my scathingly average review given to their previous root beer, they came back with a different, new, yet vintage recipe. So how does it fare compared to its ill fated sibling?

The Body has a dark rooty flavor on the initial contact but then is rather hollow after that with only slight hints of vanilla and wintergreen. The Bite is solid but not too much. The Head is adequate and frothy. The Aftertaste is rather empty with a little creamy wintergreen flavor coming through and a little bit of fruity from the citric acid. The flavors just kind of disappear from your mouth.

So it is definitely different than their original. But is it better? Well, if you like hollow bodied root beers with a solid bite and head than yes, but if you prefer a full bodied root beer, which I do, then sadly no. It isn’t bad by any means, it just isn’t enough. Since my last review seemed to cause a reformulation (that’s my story an I’m sticking to it) I wholly expect them to try again until they get a recipe I like. Here’s hoping at least. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three kegs

Sep 172014

Trader Joe's Root Beer Bottle My uncle brought this up from California one visit after I’d been reviewing for about a year. At the time Trader Joe’s wasn’t near as spread as it is now and I had never even heard of it. For some reason all I could think of was “Hey Joe, what do you know?” I still actually think about that anytime I see this bottle. It’s got a sort of surfer theme on the label, which is similar to what you’ll actually find in the Trader Joe’s stores. As expected from them, this is all natural without any preservatives or artificial flavors. However, it still has HFCS because avoiding those wasn’t trendy in the late 90s. It’s also “Premium Draught Style” making it one of only three other brews to use the olde spelling of draft. Reading further in their flavor text explains that it is “turn-of-the-century style” Evidently their thesaurus has Premium Draught as a synonym for turn-of-the-century.

It has a nice Body, Bite, and Aftertaste, but is lacking in Head. There is absolutely nothing special about this.

Drinking this is whelming, and dare I say, ceptional leaning heavily towards quite adequate. I might also describe it as credible, ordinary, markable, and standing. Basically I would put this as the stereotypical gourmet root beer and say that this stuff is completely average for me. It could be much worse but also much better. Congrats Trader Joe’s on a job done. See how it rates against other root beers.

Three and a half kegs