Monday, October 15, 2012

Henry Weinhard's root beer

My go-to root beer and subject #1 in my taste testing.

Background information: After moving from Germany to what was known as the Oregon territory, Henry Weinhard founded the Blitz-Weinhard Brewing Co and he opened a brewery (for beer), which remained until 1999 before being bought out and moved.  The gourmet soda distribution wing, however, is currently based in Fort Worth, Texas and is produced by the Blitz-Weindhard Gourmet Soda Company in the oldest continually operating brewery in the country.

The bottle label tells us, "Enjoy a truly great American Root Beer originally crafted by our master brewers during prohibition.  This gourmet elixir, brewed with sassafras, vanilla and honey, proved to be a popular alternative for our beer-drinking loyalists.  Our tradition of providing only the highest quality beverages continues today in each bottle that bears our founder's name, brewmaster Henry Weinhard."

Product details: 12 fl. oz.  Manufactured by Blitz-Weinhard Gourmet Soda Company, 7001 South Fwy, Fort Worth, TX 76134.  170 calories, 42g sugar.  Glass bottle with twist off top.  FEB1813

Ingredients: Carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, caramel color, vanilla extract, natural and artificial flavors, phosphoric acid, sodium benzoate (preserves freshness), honey essence, acacia sassafras extract.

My thoughts: Excellent viscosity, initially feels slightly thick with sufficient body, but not syrupy.  Superb up front root beer flavor with a nice creamy vanilla flavored aftertaste lingers as the liquid rolls down the tongue, but it's difficult to distinguish any other flavors or spices which makes it feel a little less textured and perhaps a bit bland.  The aftertaste fades very quickly however, which may give the beverage a bit of a "thin" feel to it, but this is preferable to an overwhelming syrup coating being left behind.  Moderately frothy, but not overly carbonated.  The sassafras extract provides a nice, natural root beer flavor while the honey gives the sweetness a slightly less sugary feel, which helps assuage my disappointment that they use HFCS instead of cane sugar or similar more-natural sweetener.  This root beer plays it safe, with no aggressive flavors giving it any substantial or overbearing bite or kick, resulting in a very harmonious balance of flavors that is pleasant, but a tad simplistic.  Upon finishing the bottle, there is a nice layer of foam at the bottom that is tasty as well.  Overall, a very solid root beer and far superior to the run of the mill canned soda that comes out of the vending machine.  An excellent choice for a higher-end root beer, yet quite affordable ($4-5 for a 6 pack) and widely available at most grocery stores.

Rating: A
flavor: A
aftertaste: B
sweetness: B
smoothness: A
carbonation: A

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