Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Tommyknocker Root Beer

In 2010, my lovely wife and i went on a Caribbean cruise. One of the on-boat entertainers was a young juggler who did a free show performing his routine for anyone on the boat who would come and sit in the air conditioned theater reserved for hired talent. This kid was probably in his mid 20's at the time, and while his act was reasonably impressive to someone like me with no juggling ability, he wasn't without flaws. There were several times he dropped bowling pins or balls or whatever he was hurling around in the air. However, the audience was very understanding, accommodating, and appreciative that he would share his talent with them, applauding at a well executed maneuver and encouraging when an item was dropped or the described action was not achieved as stated. But the part of the show that really burned into my brain was when he talked about his passion for being a juggler, that he had wanted to do this very thing all his life, and that he was so lucky that he could share this passion with his young bride who supported him in his efforts, found a love for the art herself, began learning the craft and even eventually became his juggling partner. Then the lovely young lady came out on the stage and the two of them performed a dual juggling act that went off without a hitch. It was heartwarming to see these two young souls share their love for each other and for the work they do with a crowd of strangers. The audience probably comprised of about 100 people and i don't know that any of my fellow audience members really even remember this couple. But i do. For some reason they made an impression on me, and to this day when i think of them i practically can't help but say these words aloud to myself; "wow... what a couple of NERDS!"

I picked up this root beer at the local Rocket Fizz here in town. Tommyknocker Brewery is located in Idaho Springs, CO about 30 miles west of Denver and has been around since 1994. The brewery makes several ales and lagers as well as a small line of sodas. The website speaks a little about the origin of the name, but i went to the source of all truth to learn about the Tommyknockers. These mythical creatures are akin to Irish Leprechauns, known for causing mischief in mines, rewarding those miners which leave them food by warning of impending collapses and stealing unguarded tools from careless miners who paid them no respect. The legends comes from English and Irish immigrants who came to work in the mines in America and the "knocking on the walls" preceding a collapse as the support trusses are about to give under the weight of the cave are attributed to the Tommyknockers. The brewery offers free tours to all who are interested in that sort of thing. 

The typical 12 oz brown glass bottle is adorned with a colorful label depicting a jolly Tommyknocker enjoying a frosty mug of foamy root beer. I really like the label, but i'm a sucker for lots of color and effort to make an interesting and eye catching label. So as far as i'm concerned, this is a homerun. Sorry if this seems rushed or brief, but i think you can get a better sense of the excellence of the label just by looking at the photo.

This isn't a twist top (not that that matters but i figure it's worth mentioning) and the first thing i noticed when i got the cap off was the rich aroma of maple syrup, mint and vanilla, all of which feature prominently in the flavor. This root beer has a rich, deep taste with a smooth finish and maybe a hint of anise, which i don't love but i think works reasonably well in this case. The syrup/molasses flavor dominates with a creamy after taste of vanilla mixed with carmel. I really appreciate when root beers have a good flavor because i have a lot to say about them, but all that really needs to be said is that this stuff is good. REALLY good. Its sweet, it's refreshing, it's deep and rich, and it's an overall winner. My only real criticism is that i wish it were more carbonated than it was, but other than that i'm very satisfied overall.

My official review is that Tommyknocker Root Beer gets 8 (eight) IBCs. It's not perfect, but it's pretty close. This stuff might be tough to find depending where you are regionally, which also makes it more expensive when you can find it. But it's worth checking out and at least investing in a bottle or two. I'm sure you won't be disappointed. Enjoy!

I use too many commas and i don't know how to stop.