Thursday, February 13, 2020

Hannaford's Root Beer

Not long ago I visited my brother in Salt Lake City, UT. I went up there to do some snowboarding (a very nice Christmas gift from my wife). My brother and I did some night skiing and when we were done we stopped by a CafĂ© Rio, which is a chain restaurant popular in this region. While we were walking in, we witnesses a group of people coming out. It was clear one guy was shouting at the others. For sake of clarity, I will call this man Steve, though I don’t know his real name. He was badgering a man and his wife as they were walking out, and it was apparent that these people did not know each other previously. He was shouting things like,  “I can’t believe you’d park in a handicap spot!”  “You’re selfish and ungrateful!”  “That’s a $600 fine!”  “My mother is in a wheelchair!”, and the like.
The man kept replying to him the same way, “I’m not parked in a handicapped spot. I told you that in the restaurant. I don’t know why you’re yelling at me.” The man walked over to the handicapped spot which was empty, “see?” he said. “I’m not parked here.” Steve stormed up in front of a car that was parked in the cross hatched spot next to the handicapped spot to block off space for wheel chair loading, which is technically a part of the handicapped spot. “This is still the handicapped spot jerk. You can’t park here!” The man points to the car and says, “that’s not my car. THAT’S my car.” He then points the other direction to a car parked a few spaces away, clearly not in a handicapped spot. 
Now, mind you, my brother and I are not in any way participating or involved in this at all, we are merely observing, but from my view Steve has made a grave error. He has absolutely no footing to stand on and is clearly in the wrong. Had I found myself in Steve’s position, I would have said something to the effect of, “You know what, I apologize for the misunderstanding. I’m sorry I reacted this way. Have a nice evening.” Then I would have left. This is not what Steve does. This guy doubles down. HARD. “You told me this was your car! You’re a liar!” “I told you I drive a white Infinity, that one,” the man says pointing at the other car. His wife (I presume) says to Steve, “Shame on you. You need to apologize.” Steve blasts back, “I’m not apologizing to ANYONE…” and with that my brother and I walked into the restaurant and were out of earshot. I don’t know how this confrontation resolved, but I do know that Steve had no business being a social crusader and conducting the witch hunt the way he did. 
So knowing that, I’ll tell you my tour of root beers from the Albany, NY region continues with this gem, which, like Steve, shouldn’t even be in this conversation. Hannaford Root Beer is the house brand of a regional grocery store from Scarborough, ME called Hannaford’s. I… don’t know what else to say about this. It’s a local grocery store house brand. Should be sufficient enough to get the picture. Ummm… let’s see… the bottle says the store has been around since 1883, though I doubt the root beer has been in production that long. Uh… it was started by a couple brothers with the last name Hannaford. Oh, the name reminds me of Mike Hanford of The Birthday Boys fame. I believe he's from this region as well. And… yup, that’s it. I’m out of trivial and uninteresting facts. Moving on…
The store had this stocked in aluminum cans, 2 liter plastic bottle and in 12 oz glass bottles, which is what I ended up getting. I got a 4-pack of clear glass bottles with the black and white photo of a Hannaford’s storefront and a man sitting on a carriage with a team of horses pulling it. The image is overlaid with generic brown font that simply says “Root Beer”. It’s typical of a house root beer looking to cash in on soda drinkers’ desires for a delightful beverage. But beware here folks, because you’ll find no such respite here. 
This stuff is bad. It’s bitter. It’s thin. It’s losing its hair. Wait, those all describe me. Except the thin part. But anyway, this stuff is barely a soda, let alone a reputable root beer. It contains pure cane sugar, which is a shock seeing as how bitter the taste is. The ingredients also say it contains wintergreen, but there is no trace of it in the flavor. It just tastes like the bad taste you get in your mouth after you have eaten candy or something sugary. I get the feeling it makes your breath smell too, though there is no one here to confirm that for me. And despite being not a great root beer, I’ve drank 3 of the 4 in the pack I bought, so I must be super depressed right now or something.
My official review is Hannaford Root Beer gets 3 (three) IBCs. I don’t like it. It’s not even original in how bad it is. But I’m still giving it a 3 because I keep drinking it. I think I’m mostly just in a bad mood though because I am sitting in my hotel room, in my bed, under the covers and I am still wearing my jacket cuz I’m so cold and have been for the past 2 days now. Sorry if you’re taking the brunt of my bad attitude Hannaford, but this root beer aint gonna save you.

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