Friday, November 2, 2012

Thomas Kemper root beer

Background information: (from the website) "The first Thomas Kemper Root Beer was brewed by Andy Thomas and Will Kemper (local Northwest beermeisters) back in 1990. They wanted to serve a cool alternative to beer at their Oktoberfest celebration. It quickly became so popular they had to invent Novemberfest. Now you’ll find Thomas Kemper all over the West (and everywhere else if you look hard enough) – thanks to a lot of great stores and restaurants that share the best of taste."

(from the bottle) "One honey of a Root Beer.  This wonderfully rich and complex Root Beer was first brewed for our company Oktoberfest back in 1990.  It quickly became such a hit that we invented Novemberfest."

Product details: 12 fl. oz.  Manufactured by Thomas Kemper Soda Co., Portland, OR 97208.  160 calories, 40g sugar.  Glass bottle with twist off top.

Ingredients: Carbonated water, cane sugar, maltodextrin, honey, caramel color, natural flavor, sodium benzoate (for freshness), gum acacia, phosphoric acid, salt, and vanilla extract.

My thoughts: As a kid, I remember watching the movie The Goonies and being incredibly jealous of the Asian kid with his bed that made itself.  Mix that in with his automated punching glove and oil-slick shoes and you have an incredible childhood idol!  Alas, unlike Jonathan Ka Quan, there's nothing too incredible to see here with this root beer.  There is a pleasantly strong root beer flavor that is nicely sweetened, but not a whole lot else in the flavor department.  No subtle hints of other spices are noticeable and the flavor quickly drops away, leaving virtually no aftertaste.  Despite the higher level of carbonation (one of the highest I've sampled to date) and the absence of aftertaste, there is not a hint of the dreaded 'soda water' flavor.  Interestingly enough, the carbonation seems very intense on the front of my tongue, but quickly smooths out. This is probably one of my favorite root beers as far as carbonation goes, both in its initial strength, lack of soda water flavor, and how quickly it becomes smooth, as highly carbonated beverages can feel harsh on the throat.  It's too bad that in all other aspects, it's just a mediocre root beer.

Rating: C+
flavor: C
aftertaste: C-
sweetness: A
smoothness: B
carbonation: A+

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