Review: Trader Joe’s Vintage Root Beer


Like the previously-reviewed Trader Joe’s Vintage Cola, Trader Joe’s Vintage Root Beer is also a branded, cane sugar-sweetened beverage from specialty grocery chain Trader Joe’s. Packaged in a classy 12 oz. glass bottle and attractive graphics, let’s see how it stacks up!

Vintage Root Beer follows the nice packaging design found on Vintage Cola, this time with brown/white/orange scheme. A collegiate font is used to spell “Vintage” under the Trader Joe’s logo, but is dwarfed by a bold “Root Beer” name in the center of what reflects a bottle cap-type logo. Bubbles and period-specific diamond shapes sit in the background on the label, enforcing the classic treatment of the brand.

The label also notes that this drink is “vegan” and that there are “no gluten ingredients used”. Other proclamations include “caffeine free”, “no artificial flavors”, and “no preservatives”.

Pop the cap (which actually is a vintage cap that twists off) and you are greeted with a subtle root beer aroma. There’s another smell in there that decidedly is not root beer, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. Something almost plastic-y in nature. Not pleasant.

Luckily, the taste is better than the smell. You’ll be shocked to know that this drink tastes like root beer. (I know, aren’t you glad you read this review?) It’s not a strong flavor and in some ways the flavor is a bit watered down. That was disappointing. There’s very little bitterness or spice flavor here, so if you are a root beer connoisseur, you are probably going to be left wanting more. However, the cane sugar sweetening does provide quite a clean experience, and for what is basically a store brand, it’s not bad.

Here’s what’s inside:

Trader Joe’s Vintage Root Beer
Triple filtered carbonated water, cane sugar, caramel color, wintergreen birch, anise, sassafras, Tahitian vanilla extract and citric acid and tartaric acid

A 12 oz. glass bottle packs 170 calories and 43 grams of carbs (all of which are sugars).

I wish Trader Joe’s Vintage Root Beer “went farther” with its flavor. When you have cane sugar on your side, why not totally be awesome? Instead, this is a passively-flavored root beer drink, despite having an ingredient list with recognizable items! Clean, but uneventful… and actually, a bit weak in overall flavor.