Monday, February 13, 2017

Killebrew Root Beer

So i know it's been a while, and i know i say that every time i post a new root beer, but i have a perfectly good explanation. I'm lazy. And Fallout 4 isn't going to play itself. But as fortune would have it, i had to travel out to Minneapolis, MN for work recently. Minnesota wasn't my dream destination in the middle of January, but i figured i would make the best of it and do some root beer scouting while i was in a new part of the country. So i ducked into a local Cub grocery store to find this locally brewed Killebrew Root Beer. Killebrew has been around since 1996 and is named after Harmon Killebrew, a hall of fame professional baseball player for the Minnesota Twins. I don't follow baseball (or sports for that matter), but i figured something was up with the name Killebrew because one of the streets outside of the Mall of the Americas is named Killebrew Dr. I am sure he has lots of other things named after him because he seems pretty beloved by the Minneapolis area from what i have read.

I got a six pack of 12 oz. dark brown glass bottles. The label on the bottle is very colorful. It has the name Killebrew pasted across what i guessed was a baseball diamond, before i know who Harmon was, and the words "With the Hall of Fame Taste" are strung along the bottom of the label. It even has some subtle pinstripes just like a Minnesota Twins jersey. Well done on the label, really. It's a break from the boring traditional root beer labeling.

I cracked open the first bottle to find a very pleasant wintergreen aroma. The root beer itself was kind of spicy tasting with a nice wintergreen tone to it and a hint of honey. It was a nice flavor overall. It was a little watered down, but that was only a minor setback. I drank the whole six pack during my short stay and was quite satisfied with it. Killebrew is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, so you can hold that against them if you want but i'm not going to. I thought this was a really reasonable root been.

My official review is that Killebrew gets 6 (six) IBCs. I liked this root beer well enough. I really don't have much bad to say about it other than it was mildly watered down. It didn't knock my socks off, but i wouldn't have a problem drinking this stuff again. I just doubt i will get up to Minnesota any time soon to get my hand on more. If you can find it, give it a shot. It's pretty decent stuff.

IBC recipe change?

So I was alerted by a reader (tip of the hat to you Squealer, don't let it go to your head) that IBC recently underwent a change in recipe that is leaving people pretty unhappy.

I tried to do some research online about it but could only find that the company is now owned by the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, a conglomerate that owns and distributes several sodas and root beers including Hires, Stewart's, A&W, and yes, IBC. To be honest, i don't know how long they have been owned by Dr Pepper Snapple and i don't really care. The Dr Pepper Snapple Group website claims that, "the quality of IBC Root Beer has been upheld by retaining the original, secret formula packaged in a distinctive brown bottle." So they are claiming that the recipe is the same, though i don't know when this description on their website was posted or if it ever gets updated. I can't find any specifics on what the changes were, who made the changes, when the changes were made, etc. except that some people say it was sweetened with high fructose corn syrup and changed to cane sugar, and others say just the opposite. But it seems like every post i have been reading about this is of one consensus; they are upset with the change and no longer want to drink IBC.

I recently bought some IBCs and i did notice they changed to a sticker label on an otherwise unmarked bottle, which was quite disappointing to me. And to be completely honest, i did notice a change in the flavor. To me it was subtle and I couldn't tell you how or what changed, but i don't know that it was enough to make me upset. The "new" flavor wasn't an improvement, i'll say that, but it certainly doesn't make the root beer undrinkable. Come on, if you think that you're being super obtuse about this whole situation. Do you know how many GARBAGE root beers i have drank over the last 9 years i have been doing this blog? Dozens, if not hundreds. You think this soda is worse now? Every soda has become worse over time. Everything is getting cheaper, smaller, less healthy, easier to produce with little consideration of how the public will react. It's a natural side effect of our capitalistic society, ever cutting corners to seek the marginal stock increase, appease the investors, and help everyone's retirement funds grow. You don't like the new recipe? Move to Russia, you pinko commie.

So here is my hard line in the sand. IBC is still the best root beer available on planet Earth. Keep in mind that i have a system in place that hinges entirely on rating other root beers on a basis of how good they are compared to IBC. I have a vested interest in this root beer. Am i being biased? You're damn right i am. But that's why you read these reviews, isn't it? Am i happy with the change? I don't even know what the change really is. Am i a die hard IBC fan? Till the day i violently murder my whole family and then take my own life (someone start the clock). So that being said, and based upon my most recent tasting of IBC, i still feel they can do no wrong in my eyes. And the day i stop drinking this delicious golden nectar is the day it starts tasting anything like Henry Weinhard's.

That's right Henry, i still hate your guts and your stupid root beer more than anything.