I’m going into Genuine Hank’s Gourmet Philadelphia Recipe Root Beer with an open mind. After the turn of events that was Old Red Eye, I think my initial apprehension over the gruff Hank’s might be fluff. I’m expecting this one to be good. The folks over at /r/rootbeer seem to think so, so my tHanks to them. Anyway, since I was able to get a hold of one of these brews, I figured it should be next. Let’s see what happens.
Genuine. Gourmet. Gold. Hank’s!
Hank’s is packaged in an eye-catching, very attractive bottle. Although the label on mine was placed slightly askew, I can see how Hank’s might give off the feeling of regal or high class. Added to the fact that it’s branded as a gourmet drink, the slender, tall neck and gold accents seem to be appropriate.
There are numerous Hank’s gourmet beverages available, including teas (although these seem to be a recent brand.) It appears, however, that there is only one non-diet root beer, and that’s branded as the Philadelphia Recipe. According to Hank’s Beverage Company, the Hank’s brand itself is over forty years old, while the root beer I’m trying today only became available twenty years ago. Hank’s also boasts an award, the 2007 Glass Packaging Institute Clear Choice Award within the category of carbonated beverage. Based on Reddit’s feedback, and this new information, it’s safe to say I’ve got my hopes high. Don’t disappoint me!
- Filtered Carbonated Water
- Cane Sugar
- Caramel Color
- Natural and Artificial Flavor
- Sodium Benzoate (to protect flavor)
- Yucca Extract
- Citric Acid
Okay, I’m a little disappointed. I’m tired of brands hiding beverage components, especially after Virgil’s. Anyway, for those wondering, yucca extract acts as either a thickening agent or an additive to create a consistent foam. Acacia is apparently designed to stabilize the brew, especially when it comes to the foam. So, hopefully this brew will be rich and the foam will be well crafted with science.
On first taste Hank’s is actually quite palatable, albeit very mild in flavor. The root beer essence, although somewhat unique, is immediate and rich (as hypothesized.) Carbonation is a little weak, which seems to go hand-in-hand with the mild flavor. It has a very smooth texture, and while definitely sweet, is not overwhelmingly so. It’s certainly not bitter. There appears to be some quality of wintergreen, or some other type of mint-like element. This is something that reminds me of birch beer, although in those brews it’s quite overwhelming. Here, it’s subtle, and reminds me of a weaker Virgil’s.
After about forty minutes, Hank’s really doesn’t change all that much. It’s a bit warmer these days, and it’s certainly better when freshly chilled. The carbonation is slightly weaker, but not noticeably so. Given how little carbonation it had to begin with, that may be problem for some enthusiasts. The flavor remains fairly consistent, possibly even stronger over time. There’s very little after taste, and Hank’s is easily dispersed with a swish of water. I’d say, on the whole, Hank’s is consistent.
Something that occurred to me while I was enjoying Hank’s, is that if yucca extract is being used as a thickening agent, then Hank’s may be a watered down recipe. This would account for the weaker flavor (and possibly carbonation.) In either case, I’d say that Hank’s is well received, but it’s not as amazing as I had expected. It’s certainly genuine. The recommendations were pretty spot on, but at this point I would personally prefer either Polar or Virgil’s to Hank’s slightly underwhelming flavor. I could see myself favoring Hank’s whenever I’m trying to avoid heavy carbonation. I’m certainly not disappointed, and glad I gave it a try.
Rating: ♛♛♛♕♕ – 3/5