I got a hot tip from a cool friend (<-- come on, now that was clever) about a place to get some new root beers to review, so i went and investigated yesterday with my wife. Most people have heard of the soda brand Hansen's. It is known for several fruity concoctions of drinks made from real fruit juices with no preservatives, sodium, or caffeine. But i was a little surprised that they made a root beer. But it's true, root beer is just another flavor added to the extensive Hansen's line. Hansen's was started in the 1930's in Corona, CA. Hubert Hansen and his three sons started out by selling fruit juice to film studios and retailers in Southern California. Who might those three sons be? None other than the three members of the band Hansen. I know that might not seem possible, but seriously, these kids haven't aged a day since the 1930's. I swear the little one went to my high school and got busted for doing crystal meth. Maybe there really is something to this preservative free soda/fountain of youth thing.
I picked up a six-pack of cans as it was the only packaging available to me. The labels of all Hansen's drinks are always very colorful, full of scenes of nature and natural naturey stuff, obviously trying to play up the whole natural ingredients angle. The label has a lot going on, but not in an offensive way like Journey John Barleycorn. Just take a look at it yourself, cuz i don't really want to go into the details of it. Standard for a Hansen's label, minus being a root beer and not some fruit flavor.
Hansen's uses cane sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup, but it doesn't really have the cane sugar taste. That's not necessarily a good or a bad thing, but all i can really say about the taste of Hansen's is mmmm-blah. Kinda boring. Nothing really special at all. I taste a tiny hint of anise at the beginning and a creamy vanilla after taste, but it's still not that amazing or incredible. Not that it's bad, it's just not something that really sticks out to me. Wintergreen is labeled on the ingredients, but i can't really taste it at all. Too bad Hansen's. You might have won me over.
My official review is that Hansen's gets 5 (five) IBCs. It's not bad at all, but it just falls into the middle-of-the-road variety of root beer because there is nothing special about it. I don't drink a lot of Hansen's products, but i'd recommend their other flavors if that's what you're into.