- Harpoon Brewery http://www.harpoonbrewery.com/
- The Pitch:
- Harpoon Hand-Crafted Sodas are made in small batches at our brewery
in Windsor, Vermont. Brewed in the tradition of Prohibition when breweries
converted to Root Beer production. (Spike says: except the brewery still
- The Ingredients:
- Pure Vermont carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, cellulose
gum, caramel color, natural and artificial flavors, sodium benzoate
(preserves freshness), citric acid, anise, cassia.
- Disclosure: the brewery sent me this stuff for
free. They asked me some months ago what I thought made a good root
beer. Fast forward, they made a root beer and wanted to send me some.
I've heard this before, but no brewery has ever followed through (are
you listening, Millstream?). I usually don't hear from the breweries
after I tell them, "I can't promise it will get a good rating,
if it sucks I'll say so." This time I didn't say that and lo, root
beer arrived (2 bottles, + 2 of cream soda and 2 of orange cream soda).
The rating is the true rating, no points for freebies.
When I first took a sip of this I thought, "Oh no, this is not
very good". I could see it now: "Dear Harpoon, thanks for
the free root beer, please pour the rest down the drain and smash your
vats." Ok, it wasn't quite like that (that sort of response is
reserved for Think! and Journey's Root
Beer) but still, I was worried. As I kept sipping, it got better,
and better, and by the end I liked it (kind of like cigarettes - once
you get past that first pack they're great, hack hack). I was already
pre-concerned because they sent me an e-mail saying (to paraphrase),
"Dear Spike, we're sending you some root beer that you won't like
because we use anise and wintergreen, and by the way we don't much care
for Henry Weinhard's either." Anyway, with vigorous pouring you'll
get a slight head but it dissipates quickly. It has a nice dark red
brown color and is only moderately carbonated. I'm happy to report that
both wintergreen and anise were used sparingly in the production of
this brew. As for cassia (aka "bastard
cinnamon"), I can't pick that out individually but together
they make a nice blend. I would call this an adult root beer - the flavor
is more subtle than most, not particularly creamy but not harsh either.
It probably wouldn't make a good float but would be pretty good with
dinner. It was a close call between A- and B+, but in the end I had
to go with B+.
P.S. As a service to my Green Mountain State visitors I want to
point out that Harpoon Brewery has trademarked "Vermont". See
the white spot on the label next to the "T" in "Vermont"?
That spots says "TM". I was unable to confirm the rumor that
the brewery plans to ban the use of the name "Vermont" and will
try to change the name of the state to "Harpoonia".