It is *so* refreshing to look at an ingredients list and see that the makers of the product actually thought, ‘what ingredients can we combine to make this a truly tasty, quality, satisfying product’? Instead of looking at a label and it seeming like they were thinking ‘what chemicals can we combine, that are cheap as possible, that will kind of make this taste ok, and how can we disguise some of the more insidious ones’? Actual pride in the product you manufacture? How novel. It’s not something one sees much of anymore.
I poured myself a glass of the Trader Joe’s Vintage Root Beer with major anticipation. I *love* root beer, and you don’t find much of it these days that is any good, so I was *hoping* this was as good as it looked. I started by inhaling the aroma (simply because I have always done that – I love the smell of root beer), and it smelled wonderful. Then I tasted it, and it is so good! Awesome! It rocked! My taste buds were ecstatic! After I swallowed my first drink of it, the flavor lingered as it should, instead of having that weird after-non-taste (hard to describe) that I notice when drinking pop with HFCS in it.
And the most unexpected thing about it? When I drank it, I had a memory flashback of going to Buckskin Joe’s (no relation to Trader Joe’s) in Colorado as a kid. It’s an old cowboy town, and they served sarsparilla in the “Saloon.” It was really good and a great memory, and this took me right back there. It has a truly “vintage” taste. I guess that’s what happens when you use real ingredients….
Speaking of which, here is a comparison of the ingredients in Trader Joe’s Vintage Root Beer and IBC Root Beer:
Trader Joes Vintage Root Beer
Tahitian Vanilla Extract
IBC Root Beer
High Fructose Corn Syrup and/or Sugar
Sodium Benzoate (preservative)
Artificial and Natural Flavors
Food Starch – Modified
Which one sounds yummier? I’ll let you decide! I think I prefer the one on the left. By the way, I’m not “picking on” IBC for any particular reason. I just chose it because it’s what I drank the last time I had root beer, and I remember being disappointed in the taste – especially since it is supposed to be one of the higher-quality root beers.
So, to sum up: Trader Joe’s Vintage Root Beer has no HFCS, contains quality ingredients, and tastes fantastic. It’s $3.99 for 4 12-ounce bottles (cheaper than IBC in my area), and I think a true value for the money. If I spend 4 dollars on 4 bottles of pop, I want it to taste really good! And this does.
NOTE: In addition to Vintage Root Beer, Trader Joe’s offers Vintage Orange Creme Soda and Vintage Cola. I have not yet tried either of these, but I hope to soon.
(I received no compensation or special recognition of any kind for this product review or any other reviews found on this site. It truly represents my own experience and opinion.)
~Sherry – Your No High-Fructose Corn Syrup Blogger