Friday, June 28, 2013

The Original Fudge Brownie Cookie Dough Bites soda

The Original Fudge Brownie Cookie Dough Bites soda: Say that one 5 times fast. This is a Rocket Fizz soda. This review is going to be short, I can tell. Nice chocolate smell opening, chocolate taste when drinking. You really get the more brownie flavor as the after taste. But also had a burnt brownie after taste. I'd say they nailed the brownie dough taste, but I'd rather eat a brownie. Just did not drink well. This is a never going to buy again, sit one down in front of me and I'll hurt you drink.

Johnnie Ryan Ginger Ale

Johnnie Ryan Ginger Ale- Made by the Johnnie Ryan Co. Inc. out of Niagara Falls, NY. Started in 1934 by the Janik brothers as the Keystone Water Company, that made special 5 gallon containers of "ozonization" waters. 1935, Coke decided to stop making flavored soft drinks and concentrate on cola. The Janik brothers saw an opportunity for a niche of flavored sodas. They initially called the sodas "Extra Soda" because it had an 8oz bottle, bigger than the common 6.5 at the time (In a society that sells 32oz glasses of soda at convenience stores, can you image the reaction today to a 6.5oz soda bottle?). The brothers thought that a more Irish sounding name would sell better. After many ideas were rejected, they came up with Johnnie Ryan for one of the brother's sons, John and Ryan. They moved through a couple of manufacturing plants, and other son's (not sure from which of the original brothers), Ron and Paul took over. They sell syrups for fountain machines, drink mixes to hotels and so on, in addition to soda. With the water and healthier living craze hit, they added a seltzer water to their products. The company is still in the Janik family. They have cherry, cream, cola, ginger ale, orange and root beer. Their current bottle labeling was designed by a tattoo artist.

I have to admit I was disappointed when I first went to open the bottle and looked at the cap. The cap is the only indication that this is ginger ale. Its not very golden colored, more clear like, but a very faint yellow. Looking at the ingredients on the bottle, it has a very generic list of ingredients, and say to look at the cap for more information. My guess would be that all of Johnnie Ryan's flavors have the same basic bottle, different soda and caps. I really was expecting to drink "cane sugar soda" as is prominent on the label. The soda itself, really doesn't have a very gingery smell to it. Had I not looked at the cap, I wouldn't have been trying to get the ginger scent, and probably would have said it had no real scent (again, with PD, could just be me YMMV). Its a very crisp soda, not tart not sweet, I'd call this a very adult soda. Adults who don't want to drink syrupy sweet soda, but still want a soda, not water. I would say if you took off the cap, and just handed me the bottle I'm not so sure I'd be able to pick on the ginger and call it a ginger ale. This fits into sit one down in front of me and I'll drink it, but don't think I'll purchase myself again.

Death Valley Cola

Death Valley Cola: Brewed by Indian Wells Brewing company. Their web site is a little tough to chase down. The web address is doesn't really give you a hint that its the Indian Wells Brewing Company. They are a beer and soda company, and Mojave Red is one of their beers. So is Lobotomy Block. All the soda comes from the Death Valley line, and include cola, root beer, black cherry, sour green apple, cream, and orange cream. There is an Indian Wells Lodge in California, owned by the same company. The lodge is on the sight of the natural spring water used in drinks. Interesting if pricey menu for the restaurant.

There' a pleasant cola smell opening the bottle. Drink and tastes like a cola. Problem I had is that's just it, its a cola. You could blindfold me and handle me three cups, one of Pepsi, one of Coke and one of Death Valley cola, and I'm not convinced I would not be able to tell them apart. Its not a bad drink, but when speciality soda sells for about $2 a bottle, why spend that amount when you can spent less than a buck and get Pepsi? I would drink it again, but won't be buying it again. 

Flying Cauldron Butterscotch Beer

Flying Cauldron Butterscotch beer: Brewed by Reed's brewing. I usually give a history, but I can't come close to what's on their website: " Since 1374, the Flying Cauldron has been making this magical brew for under aged wizards and wizards who are young at heart at their brew pub in Hogsbreath England . The recipe has changed little over the centuries. It has the perfect combination of spells and quality natural ingredients. It continues to be prized for its creamy vanilla and butterscotch flavors." Um, no comment.  Reed's does brew a number of products: Ginger beer, Virgil's root beer, Reed's Kombucha (tea based drink in a bunch of flavors), Sonoma Sparkler, and China Cola. Yep, stay tuned, I'll aim for all of them too.

Well, opening the bottle, there is a strong butterscotch smell, with some vanilla mixed in. Taste is very smooth, full of butterscotch. Vanilla aftertaste. I've gone back and forth about this one. Certainly isn't the worst soda I've ever tasted, but no where near the best either. It really tastes like a butterscotch sundae, and I'd really rather have the real sundae than drink it. I'd say this is an I'll drink one if you put it in front of me, but not going to buy again. 

Sioux City Ginger Beer, Sioux City Birch Beer, Olde Rhode Island Molasses Root Beer

Sioux City Ginger Beer: If you've not had ginger beer before brace yourself. Great flavor, but the kick and the burn down your throat is something to experience. One of my neighbors called the police about me drinking beer in public. Moving beyond everything else, I offered to the officer who came, a taste of the ginger beer. He said I was nuts, but it is non-alcoholic. Actually said it had more kick than alcoholic beers. I'd ease into ginger beer. Sioux City's is a strong aroma, strong taste and heck of a burn. I'd say ginger beer is an acquired taste. Also don't have to send for this one, my grocery store carries it. I'll drink and buy again

Sioux City Birch Beer: Classic Birch beer is brewed from birch and oak bark. Comes in many different colors, but I'm used to the clear and the red. Sioux City is a red. Another earthy scented beer. Also another difficult flavor. Ever had Clark's Teaberry gum? That's the closest. Has some wintergreen flavor mixed in as well. Some say there is a licorice taste to birch beer, but I don't get that. Sioux City's has a nice mix of bite and sweetness. Also from my local grocery store. (side note: expect to see a lot of different brand birch beers. Birch beer is a favorite of mine). Buy it frequently.

Olde Rhode Island Molasses Root Beer: The molasses part made this I have to have soda. Very strong root beer flavor when you open it. Has the same strong root beer flavor as well. Didn't really notice a difference in taste, maybe the molasses made it stronger. Pleasant root bear after taste. I'll buy this one again.

Dublin Dr Pepper, Saranac Shirley Temple

Dublin Dr Pepper: A source of great controversy right now. Brewed in Dublin, TX, its Dr Pepper made with imperial cane sugar. There was a major trademark lawsuit. Dublin is supposed to have only marketed the product in a 44 mile radius, and it wasn't. Not sure if that's on purpose or by other stores doing this. Lot of bad blood as a Texas icon is now gone. I'm not sure I honestly have all the details straight in my head or here. But, bottom line is, Dublin Dr Pepper has stopped production as of  January, 2012. As you can imagine, Dublin Dr Pepper is getting rare. Kudos to Old 52, as they could raise prices as it gets rarer. Still $1.99. Its a very clean tasty Dr Pepper. Its like the true Dr Pepper instead of all the extra crap. I'll buy again, but know the supply is going to be gone soon. Just to give you an idea of how fair Old 52 is, look it up on ebay, its selling for $15 a bottle. Drawback: Needs a bottle opener to open them (most are twist off). Glass is very easy to break. Had I swallowed it, my last little mouthful would have had a glass sliver in it. Matched the part I had broken off when opening. 

Saranac Shirley Temple: If you remember, Shirley Temples were what you ordered when you were a kid because you wanted to be like the grown ups and have a cocktail. I really expected this to be a sugary sweet only have once soda. It was not at all like that. And it does taste like the classic Shirley Temple, ginger ale and grenadine. Pleasant cherry smell, and just right mix of flavors, little ginger, little cherry and not syrupy sweet. Very easy to drink. Aftertaste is about the sane as the "drink". Very impressed. Will be buying again. 

Apple Beer, Vermont Sweetwater Rugged Mountain Root Beer, Sparkling Ice Kiwi Straberry

Apple Beer: Yes that's the name of the company, Apple Beer, and they make, you guessed it, apple beer. After my prior bad experience with Apple soda, I was not looking forward to tasting this one. Not a strong apple aroma when opening the bottle. Had me worried. It does taste like apple, bit tart, but nice apple flavor. Then comes the after taste. Allow me some latitude here. When I was young, my mother and I used to go to Dowse Orchard in Sherborn, Mass. Wonderful place. If you're near it, I recommend it. Macoun apples are what we wanted (Macoon pronunciation please). Now what I've read the web claims its a very sweet apple. My experience and memory are contrary to that. I remember them been a very crisp juicy apple, but tart tasting as well. Loved them. OK, back to apple beer, the after taste is just as I remember a Macoun tasting. Gave me a nice trip down memory lane. Not sure I'd go out of my way to purchase again, but wouldn't refuse it either.

Vermont Sweetwater Rugged Mountain Root Beer: This is a clear root beer, reason why I tried it. I'd call it a mild root beer. Just seems to lack the real depth of flavor a good root bear has. Smells like root beer, drinks like a watered down root bear. This is another wouldn't refuse one if given, but not going to purchase again.

Sparking Ice Kiwi Strawberry (have had Pomegranate Berry too): Not really a soda. Its called a sparkling water. Its what I try and drink when I'm absent mindedly doing nothing on the computer. I'm not dieting, but am trying to watch what I eat. Soda is something I allow myself to have, but drinking weird ones or even "normal" 7up, the calories add up fast. Nice fruit flavor. Wouldn't say you could give me either and I'd be able to tell apart the difference. Seems to just be fruity flavor. Drinks better cold (I usually drink soda at room temperature). Over all taste is OK, but I do know I'm drinking a zero calorie drink. Also has vitamins and anti-oxidants in it. Its OK, and will stay as my sort of in between drink, but I can't see much more.

Jones Blue Bubble Gum, Hosmer Mountain Sarsaprilla, Fentimans Dandelion and Burdock

Jones Blue Bubble Gum: What a disappointment! My first Jones soda, after hearing so many good things about the company. I really am at a loss to describe the scent and flavor to you. But neither remind me of bubble gum. Bitter drinking soda. Maybe in the sort of second wave after taste, there is some bubble gum flavor, but that's a long time coming. I mentioned before that I had guzzled one soda because I am set on drinking the whole bottle of any soda. I guzzled this one. Will not buy again, and please do not put one in front of me. I'll cut Jones some slack, and try other flavors.

Hosmer Mountain Sarsaparilla: OK, I'm biased here. I'm starting to really like sarsaparilla, and this company is from Connecticut. This was a great soda. Earthy aroma. Good strong taste. I hate to call any sarsaparilla strong root beer, but its an easy way to have someone understand the flavor. And this was good. Very strong, nice after taste. Just a solid drink. Will be buying again.

Fentimans Dandelion and Burdock: Before I get to the soda, a few words about Fentimens. They are a smaller brewing company, located in England. They make about 9 or so sodas, that they claim to be botanically brewed. Company started in 1905. Company has never left the Fentimen family. So on to the soda. Earthy scent. Very pleasant flavor. Not 100% sure what dandelion leaves and burdock root should taste like, but this is a nice tasting soda. I have to admit I was somewhat concerned as one of the ingredients listed is aniseed flavor. I'm not a black licorice fan. There is some aftertaste of licorice, but wouldn't be enough to prevent me from buying and drinking again. Fentimans has a taste sampler and I sure hope I can find one on this side of "the pond"

Fireman's Root Beer, MacFuddy Pepper Elixer

Fireman's Brew Root beer: Brewed by Fireman's Brew Company. I wish I could tell all of you to zip on over to their web page, but if you're under 21, you can't view the site. Drawback to me. I'm sure there must be a way to make two sections: one under 21, one 21 and over. Their website does say that most beverages are for drinking "off duty". There are 3 different off duty drinks. I'm not a beer consumer, so can't tell you much about them. On duty drinks are coffee or soda. Despise coffee, so I'll go with sodas here. Right now, the only soda available is the root beer, but the web site promises a cream soda, and a brew soda black cherry. Everything made is literally started by firemen. 2 forest firemen were thinking how good a cold beer would taste one night, and it went from there. Company was established in 2000, but there's no real history, so I can't tell you if all the products were released at once or not. It doesn't seem to be released nation-wide yet, and is primarily a western (mostly CA) thing, though it is most recently making its way east. The two founders, Rob Nowaczyk and Ed Walker, were both home brewers, and this was a rather large expansion of that. Three real bonuses in my mind: Company was started with money from fellow firefighters. Nowaczyk and Walker still work as firefighters. They give back to their brothers. Somewhere between 10% and 20% of the profits are donated to Fireman's Quest for Burn Survivor's, the LA Firefighter's Relief Association (helps widows and orphans of LA firemen) and lastly, the National Fallen Firefighter's Foundation. They don't forget where they came from.
     The root beer has a hearty earthy scent, a strong scent. The scent prepares you for the drink. Very strong very potent taste. A little bit of wintergreeny birch beer tasty, but there is a real depth of taste. Very strong. There's a bite to the aftertaste which I can't quite place. Its not an unpleasant aftertaste, but does have a bite. With the donations to the various firefighter charities (never a fire fighter, but was a paramedic), and a nice strong taste, I'll be buying again. Wouldn't be search the web gotta have it type of purchase, but I'd buy again. One drawback: most of these sodas come in twist off caps. Need an opener for this one.

MacFuddy Pepper Elixer: From by Orca Beverages. Orca is located in Mukiltio, WA, and specializes in "retro sodas". Their website has a lot of soda's on it, Americana brand, Dad's root beer, Jic Jac, Sioux City, its not 100% clear if they manufacture all the sodas. They've partnered by "other soda companies". If you pressed me for a guess, I'd say yes they do make all the sodas. Which means I'll end up tasting 100+ Orca products. Was founded in 1980, by Mike Bourgeois, after taking a “New Age Beverage Category” at the Albers School of Business at Seattle University (there's soda college classes? sign me up!). I've also seen articles that are somewhat reversed. Dad's root beer own Orca. Stay tuned.
     The soda: well the bottle had me intrigued. "cures timidness and satisfies the daring, "infused with luck 12oz for 24 hours of favorable outcomes". I'll let you know in the next blog how lucky I was. Opening the bottle, scent is strongly cherry, with some cola underneath. First sip tastes like a very strong Dr Pepper, maybe heavier on the fruity side. Drinks well. The aftertaste, what a kick. There is no question that black pepper is used in this soda. Very strong, but very pleasant kick. Drinks very well. I hate comparisions, as each soda is unique, but this is a stronger, more pleasant Dr Pepper with a nice kick. I'll be buying again.

Bundaberg Brewed Drinks guava soda

First off, little change. I'm going to start doing each soda individually, as in its own blog post. Was a suggestion made to me to me by Patrick O'Keefe. Runs a great web site, Soda Tasting (that should be a hyperlink). Patrick has far more self-confidence than I, and he does his reviews on camera, so you can watch his reviews. One thing Patrick suggested was doing the separate pages, so it gets picked up by web search engines. At the moment, I'm really too lazy to go back and separate my first posts, though I may do some at some point. Titles will be changed. One other note about Patrick's site, having more hands than his own (his brothers), Patrick can do taste tests, comparing and ranking sodas of the same genre. Haven't taught my cats how to open soda and pour into glasses yet, so I don't think this will happen for me anytime soon. I do envy him for being able to do that.

On to today's

Bundaberg Brewed Drinks Guava soda: Bundaberg is brewed in Bundaberg, Australia. Looking at a map, it would appear Brisbane is the next closest city. They brew only non-alcoholic drinks. Its looks like ginger beer and sarsaparilla are the two best sellers.  Ginger beer is their claim to fame in Australia. They have a very nice website here: Bundaberg. They have a great place, the Bundaberg Barrel that shows people how ginger beer is made. Its very cool looking. The ginger in their ginger beer is grown in Bundaberg, think its a different company that does the growing though. Sugar cane is also grown locally. Guava apparently comes from their sparkling selection which includes: "Guava, Pink Grapefruit, Blood Orange, Peachee and our two brand new flavours Passionfruit and Lime." The company slogan is "Flip it, Rip it and Sip it" All their sodas, especially the ginger beer should be turned over 180 degrees before drinking them. Their web site also has links to "Bundaberg TV", some interesting advertising. Side note: The limited edition Bundaberg serving board is something I wish I could get. I'd buy it. But its only available via a contest that only New Zealand and Australia residents can enter. Stay tuned I've emailed them.
     The Drink: I didn't know initially that one should flip the bottle before opening. So I had to replace the cap, and turn it over. Get a guava fruit and slice it open. That is the exact smell and taste of the guava soda. Soda is sweeter, but the scent, taste and everything else is completely guava. I'm not sure I can expand on what guava tastes like. Maybe because I've had the fruit. I loved this soda. I want to have more and try their other products. Great soda, great website, and funny commercials. What more could you ask for? I'll be buying more! 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Fluids Soda Green Cooler, Rocket Fizz Red Licorice

Fluids Soda Green Cooler: Another Rocket Fizz soda. Supposed to be based on the fluids of a car engine or the like. This is supposed to be radiator fluid/anti freeze. Scent: Odd. There's actually part of me that wants to say the smells like anti freeze. Maybe a faint apple small. Taste is that of a tart apple. I'd actually say this is more apple tasting that Apple Beer. Wasn't really sure what the flavor was at first, but than the apple really kicks in. Not sure if it supposed to be green apple, but its been a very long time since I've had a green apple, I can't tell you. Taste really got better the more I drank. After taste is a little tart, but not an unpleasing tart.  Cool color and packaging. I'd buy again sometime. 

Rocket Fizz Red Licorice: Guess its a Rocket Fizz kind of day. This is straight Rocket Fizz Label. Scent: Strawberry-ish, but kind of a strawberry artificial flavoring type of smell. Taste is really the same, strawberry-ish, but very much artificial strawberry.If you went out and ate Red Twizzlers, I could see this being the taste of those. So, it is successful in pulling off red licorice. Overall its not an unappealing taste. Doesn't really have a different after taste, maybe a touch sweeter and more like red licorice. I'd buy again sometime. (36)

If you're looking for a chuckle, head to for your web search....

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Soda buying tips

Soda Buying Tips:

Look locally. I'm fortunate, I have a Rocket Fizz locally (Only one now! Hope it stays open). Rocket Fizz sells a number of its own sodas to start. Lester's Fixins', Melba's Fixins', Fluids Soda Co and Martian Soda, and some indivual sodas under no particular brand are all Rocket Fizz products. The local RF I went to has 500 different sodas between their brands and other brands. Long time before I get through 500. Think if I do make it through 500 I get a tshirt.

Look at your grocery store, you just never know. Gourmet grocery stores are even better. Some cities have ethnic grocery stores. Mexican and Oriental stores are ones I have locally. I honestly have not been to either yet, but friends have told me they do have different sodas there. Also, "regular" grocery stores in ethnic neighborhoods may have different things.

Depending upon where you are, the only option may be mail order. I would highly recommend Old 52 ( I have yet to find a soda there priced over $1.99. I have not been through all the sodas they have, so I cannot guarantee that. They offer soda with personalized labels (like for a wedding or something). They also have retro candy, and retro toys. Cannot speak to either of those, as I've never really looked through those sections. They are located in Sabin, MI, and offer a old time soda fountain on site, in addition to hardware not sold on the web. I really enjoy their website.

This would not be complete without including Galco's Soda Pop Shop ( I want to make it clear, I am not being negative about them here, I am just stating facts. Probably the largest selection of soda anywhere. Many one of a kind sodas. Problem is they know that too, and can be pricey. While I will be ordering from them again at some point for some sodas only they seem to have, I'll be looking for someplace cheaper online before I purchase. Also, at Soda Pop Shop, you can search for a specific soda there, get all excited when you find it, only to click to the soda listing page and see its out of stock. You can sign up to be notified if the soda comes back in stock, and they are good to their word. Issue is, I'm on the notify list for at least 20 sodas from there, and only 1 has come back in stock (which Old 52 had in stock)

Try Amazon. What I'm finding about Amazon, is that while most soda there is sold by the case, and not only is that pricier, you potentially end up worth lots of soda you do not like. But what I also do often find there are sampler packs. Instead of paying a higher price for individual soda bottles, the variety packs are cheaper, and there's no worries about the store being out of one flavor of a whole line of products.

Try doing a direct web search of the soda. You just never know what you will find.

In the same vein as ethnic grocery stores, if you know where a particular soda is from, what country, web search for say "Japanese grocery store". The store my have what you want, and be a cheaper price. Also some of these online foreign "stores" have sodas not found elsewhere. Cockta, never seen it at an American online distributor, but you can find it from Eurogrocery store.( Cockta is from Slovenia. Main ingredient is dog rose hip. I have no idea, but I can promise I will try it someday. This is another buyer beware though. Often you can only get the soda in a 2 liter bottle or 6 pack. So again, could spend a lot to end up with something you don't like. If you really want to get absurd about mail order ethic stores, often the currency is only in Euro's. British pounds or such. You could watch the trends of the US dollar vs that currency, and see what the trends are, and plan to order when the dollar has more value. Yeah, that's a bit extreme. But some of these store do have minimum order amounts, so if you really want a soda, you'll end up with lots of say Brazilian food around.

Reach out through friends and family. Never know who has relatives in some place, or is traveling to someplace. Very good for local, regional releases. You never know until you ask.

Last tidbit: if you find yourself mail order purchasing soda aim for numbers divisible by 12. Usually 12 is the "container" most mail order companies use. Some 6. The main point being, its a 12 pack shipping container, it will be used for orders of say 10. Why not fill them all? Not that much more postage for a couple more bottles.

7/1 Update: I've been told by a friend that Menard's has Sprecher and Jelly Bean Gourmet soda. I have no idea how many states Menard's stores cover. Its a home improvement store. Haven't been there yet, but another source!!

This is what I can think of now, and what I've found up until now. I'll be modifying as needed.

straty na hovno! Pete's Pumpkin Patch Soda, Sioux City Prickly Pear

That's Slovakian for "losing sucks" in honor of Big Z's "where was I" in the finals night last night.

Anyway, I didn't jump from bridges or anything. I can even manage to say: Congrats Blackhawks.

Pete's Pumpkin Patch Soda: Another Rocket Fizz product. Opening scent, I suppose I'd say mild cinnamon, but overall, just has that spicy smells of things cooked in the fall like, well, pumpkin pie. Taste is a little odd. Its not bad odd, just odd. I get no pumpkin flavor, but its true to the scent spicy fall. Had me thinking about New England fall colors. Another won't kill myself, but can see buying this again in the fall.

Sioux City Prickly Pear: Think I'll give you Sioux City's history since there's more flavor's left to try, and I'll be giving history on others today, and an idea about this flavor.
     The prickly pear is a fruit from cactus, specifically the opuntia family or paddle cacti. The fruit, commonly referred to as cactus fruit or Indian fig fruin (also tuna in Spanish. Imagine asking for a tuna sandwich and being served prickly pear). The fruit has to be pealed carefully, as it also has spines, which if ingested can cause irritation of the mouth, throat and tongue. Let's just state the obvious. In Malta its used to make an alcoholic drink, bajtra. Also the main ingredient in a popular Christmas drink of the British Virgin Islands, Miss Blygen. The gel from breaking open one of the flat leaves can be used as a hair conditioner and as wound and burn care. Mexican were among the first to discover the fermenting of prickly pears. Psychoactive compounds, such as mescaline, can be found in some varieties of prickly pear.
     The soda itself has a very pleasant fruity odor when opened. I'd say cherry scent dominates. First sip- tart! That's the first thought! I'd say its a combination of cherry and strawberry. But certainly not a sweet flavor. Aftertaste isn't much different, tart and fruity. I wouldn't call this a bad soda, I would say this is a be prepared soda. I wasn't prepared for the tartness. One thing I found on line was a prickly pear float, like a root beer float, and that sounds, after the tasting really really good. I know I'll be buying at least one more to try the float, and I'd drink it, just not sure I would be it regularly. 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Cucumber soda, Ale81, Sprecher's Blueberry,

Bonus! Three today, but I'll explain-

Cucumber soda: I usually try and put the maker or bottler as well, but this one, I'm just not sure. Matching it with an image on line, I think its Rocket Fizz brand. Usually I'd go through scent, scent and all that. But I also promised I would completely drink every bottle. Besides wanting to give every soda a fair shake, weird soda is pricey. Essentially $2 for a 12 oz bottle. This soda made me break all my promises. I know I'm still relatively new in the soda tasting and review world, but this one. Oh my. One sip and I had problem swallowing. Second sip I spit out, and promptly poured the rest on the ground. Want to know how bad? When I poured it out on the ground, it gathered up in a little puddle. A fly came up to the puddle, and then what I assume tried to drink it, and flew off. Ever put this down in front of me, I will cause you great pain, bad pain.

Ale 81 (A late one): Near as I can tell, comes from Ale 81 company (brewer?). History time!  The only soft drink invented in Kentucky still in existence (not sure if KY is some hot bed of soda). G. L. Wainscott, had legal issues with Roxa Cola that his company bottled. Meantime he had begun experimenting with ginger and ginger ales, after trips to Northern Europe. Ale 81 was released publicly in 1926. In was named by a contest held at Clark County Fair, and it supposed to represent its being the latest thing. The flavor is supposed to a mix of ginger and fruits. Ale 81 is still bottled in KY. Its popular in KT, Ohio and Indiana. You can still tour the plant today. Its also another soda that has multiple products: Ale 81 BBQ sauce, salsa and lollipops. There is a diet Ale 81 as well. 

Scent is a distinctly ginger, but I'd say mild. I wish I could say there is something unique and different tasting about All 81, but it drank and tasted like any other ginger ale I've had. Only difference, while not an after taste, a moment or two after swallowing there was that gingery burn. Nowhere near a ginger beer, but still there. I'd drink it again, but won't especially go out of my way to buy more. 

Sprecher's Blueberry Gourmet Soda: Sprecher's again. Since I gave one history lesson above, I spare you, since there are more Sprecher's soda's to taste.

This is another Sprecher soda that nailed it. I often find with blueberry soda, the taste ends up being more tart grape than blueberry. Not this one. Smells like blueberry, and tastes like blueberry. Is tart, but still a very pleasant taste. After taste is that of blueberry. I'll be buying again.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Cheerwine, Sprecher Puma Kola

Sprecher Puma Kola: Second Sprecher drink. Guess I'll have to do some more research
about the company. Pleasing cola smell though mild (again, that could be me and PD). Tastes and drinks like a cola. What I said about Cheerwine applies here too, just seems to be a deeper flavor. And that after taste. Is that cinnamon? Its a spicy after taste, but not hot type of spicy, just a little twist. Caffeine free as well. I love black cats. What's not to love about a cola that has a black puma on its label? Awesome drink, will be buying again. 

Late update from the Sprecher Gourmet soda website:

"All Natural Puma Kola, is fire-brewed in our unique gas-fired kettle for distinctive flavor and character. Each batch is made from scratch using the finest ingredients; kola extract, real vanilla, a pinch of cinnamon and pure honey. You will roar with delight at this wonderfully rich and flavorful soft drink."
Cinnamon flavor. Nailed it!

Cheerwine by Carolina Beverage Corp.: First made in 1917. Claims to be "the oldest continuing soft drink company still run by the same family". Started in Maysville, KY, by the Maysville Syrup Company. At the time, mint cola was their biggest seller. Also at this time, railroad was the largest form of cargo shipping. Then came WWI. Trains were used for war supplies with little room for ingredients never mind transporting the soda itself. Maysville Syrup soon went bankrupt and was bought by LD Peeler. Carolina Beverage Corp arose from the ashes. Initially, CBC kept making mint cola, but they watched as cherry flavored sodas became popular as soda fountain drinks. CBC decided to tap into that market. In 1917 a salesman sold Mr Peeler a unique cherry flavored syrup the had almond oil essence in it. Mr Peeler took this, the original mint cola and 11 other flavors to get Cheerwine. The Great Depression hit and CBC could only afford to make one soda. Cheerwine won out over mint cola. The manufacturing plant fully moved into North Carolina, and the south is still the most extensive market for Cheerwine, though manufacturing plants can now be found world wide. There is Cheerwine ice cream. sherbet and cake, even a joint partnership with Krispy Kreme to make Cheerwine donuts.  And there a number of accessories like tshirts available. "Cheerwine" comes from its burgundy wine-like color and people hopefully be cheerful drinking it.

So the soda. Let me first say that what I had heard led me to believe this was going to be a cherry soda, as opposed to a cherry flavored soda. I was in for a surprise. I didn't get much of a scent from it, but seems to be a bad day for smell and PD issues. Maybe a mild cherry scent. Tough to tell. The first sip was the surprise. I expected a fruit soda. What I got was a unique tasty soda. I suppose the crude comparison could be made to Dr Pepper, but Cheerwine has much more depth of flavor (and this comes from someone who used to drink Dr Pepper faithfully). Very pleasant, not too sweet, smooth soda. After taste wasn't anything remarkable, nothing so different, and certainly not bad. Loved it. Will be buying and drinking again. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Bawls Root beer, Sprecher Strawberry

One of the sodas I'll review today is a "high caffeine guarana" soda. 

Bawls high caffeine guarana root beer (or geek beer): This one you may actually find at your local convenience store. Its marketed as an energy drink, and those seem to be in high supply with lots of variety at convenience stores. 

     Guarana comes from South America most prevalently Brazil. Its a climbing plant from the maple family. A guarana fruit has about twice as much caffeine as a coffee bean. 
     I really love part of the company's mission statement: "To provide fuel, refreshment and flavor while inspiring memorable moments to our existing fans, and everyday striving to reach the grip of new fans." First soda I've experienced with a mission statement. There are 5 different Bawls soda in 4 flavors (one's a diet soda). They also make mints. There are so many things about Bawls: Its the drink of choice for gamers. QuakeCon hosts Bawls guzzling contests. There are many accessories: tshirts, hats, posters golf "bawls" and so on. Comes in a weird knubby sort of bottle. Guess that's supposed to be a "Bawl-zy" bottle
     Oh last thing. The original first Bawls flavor comes in a cobalt blue bottle. Blue Bawls. 

     On to the review: Smaller than usual bottle. Most glass bottled sodas are 12 oz. Bawls is 10. There is extremely strong root beet smell right away when opening the bottle. Very strong root beer flavor initially. I wouldn't call it an after taste, but after a few mouthfuls, it became bitter. HFCS?  The guarana part separating from the rest? Maybe you're supposed to shake this soda. No, shaking+soda=bad news. I'm not sure what the cause of this is. But I can tell you, the more I consumed, the more bitter it became. 

     I'm not sure I'd drink one again. Between the caffeine and the bitterness, no, I can say I would not want to drink this again. Bottle is pretty awesome looking though. 

Sprecher Strawberry Soda: I'll be honest, I'm not a real fan of fruit flavored soda. I'll drink them, and it is a nice change sometimes, but I wouldn't want to consume a fruit soda all the time. Just me though. The bottle claims this is a fire brewed gourmet soda. Mild strawberry scent. Subtle at first and then builds. The taste is well, strawberry. I think its very true to the fruit, and makes me want to have some fresh strawberries. Bottle also states this is only a summer brew. Another not sure I'd buy again, but I would drink again.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


Its been suggested I put up a FAQ. So, here's the ones I can think of. Have a question? Just ask. Will be randomly updated. 

1. How did you start this?

Well it started with birch beer. I found birch beer at the independent grocer that I frequent (actually they frequent to me. They deliver!) I hadn't seen birch beer since I moved out of Massachusetts. So I purchased some, and it was just like I remember. That led to web searches about birch beer. I ended up on one site that mentioned something about the "ever elusive" spruce beer. Spruce beer? Never heard of it. I love chasing things down on the internet, so off I went. I found spruce beer, and it grew from there. Spruce beer isn't all that elusive either. Persistent web search gives you many sources of it. Have about a case of it now.

2. But why so many "weird" sodas?

My only answer is why not? I sure didn't know there was this many sodas out there, so why not aim to taste them all? Rocket Fizz alone has 500, and I've found a number of sodas online they don't carry. So its a quest now. Hey every one needs something weird, yet still a goal. Plus if I've had all 500 of what Rocket Fizz carries, I get something like a tshirt. *UPDATE* I have found a web site that has 1221 different sodas. At the rate of 2-3 bottles a day, it will take me about year and a half, 2 years....

3. Why no review of Mountain Dew, Sprite or Pepsi type of sodas?

How boring that would be. While some of these I can get at my local grocery store (Ideal), think most would agree my grocery store isn't like most grocery stores. It is independent and tends to have different or gourmet items. Ever heard of Bird's Custard Powder? Not many have. Its very British and another thing I've have problems locating at a box or chain type of store. The store is a little bit more expensive, but I also like the idea of supporting a local business. Any grocery store anywhere in the US has Pepsi, Mountain Dew and the like. Why talk about something everyone has already tasted?

4. How do you drink the soda?

I break probably every soda tasting or soda enjoyment rule there is. I'm different, what's new? All the sodas I try are in bottles (though some are available in cans). I drink the soda at room temperature. A lot of people would say my AC in the summer is cranked to arctic levels anyway, so I suppose it is somewhat chilled. I drink straight from the bottle, no plastic or glass cup involved. I don't swish the soda all around in my mouth like I'm tasting wine. May hold it in my mouth a tad longer than normal, but no swishing. No crackers in between sodas like a wine. I don't pretend to be some grandmaster of soda.

5. Why write reviews?

Again, why not? Maybe some one will stumble on my blog, read some of it and try something different.

6. What's HFCS?

High Fructose Corn Syrup.

7. Why do you give so much history and background on the sodas?

Once more, why not? I like reading and watching history stuff, and this is just an extension of that. I enjoy adding the tidbits of information. You should be glad I spare you most times. I look up origins of all the soda I try. Read it or don't your decision.

8. Where do you buy the soda?

I'll be putting up a separate blog page with soda buying tips. I'll link here and in main title when its complete. Link here.

9. Why are there sometimes a lot of errors in what you type?

I have PD, I'm not perfect and my thinking tends to get ahead of my typing. Plus spell check doesn't catch up to form and from. I try and proof read, but I don't always do so.

10. What's your "regular" soda?

7up. But I'm finding I don't drink near as much since I started drinking odd flavors. Think spruce beer would make the regular list as well.

11. Why no caffeine?

There's a lot of conflicting research about PD and caffeine. Some studies say its inversely proportional to developing PD (as in the more caffeine the less likely a person is to develop PD). However also studies that say women are more likely to develop PD with high caffeine consumption, because of estrogen. In terms of people with PD and caffeine, there are some studies that say it beneficial, some say its not. Some say its great for specific PD issues. There have been no long term studies of caffeine's effect on PD. Seems counter productive to me. PD causes sleep issues, as in insomnia. So why consume something that will exacerbate that? My doc says no, research is varied. YMMV.

Won't be many, if any, energy sodas on this blog.

12. Why so few daily?

I try and limit myself mainly for health and calories sake. I'm just trying to be more aware of what I eat and drink. I allow myself some things like soda, as I do believe if you say completely no to something, its all you'll crave. I also think drinking a lot of soda at once would make the latter sodas not be an accurate tasting.

13. Why so many at the start?

Think I explained this, but I started tasting/drinking before I started blogging so I had to catch up. May not write up soda everyday. May end up posting 4 or 6 on  1 day, just because I didn't blog every day. Update: From the end of June on, each soda will have its own post. I've broken up some of my older bigger posts, and may still break them down further

14. How do you keep track of all the sodas you've tasted so you don't repeat sodas?

OK, every brace yourselves to laugh. I use a spreadsheet. Considering how spreadsheet phobic I am, and how a spreadsheet makes it look like this is a profession or business, it works.

15. Have you ever been sent "free" soda by a manufacturer?

Nope. I'm just one person with an infrequently viewed blog. Don't care how many views I get, its something I enjoy doing. Really don't think a soda company cares about how one person in the middle of cornfields feels about their sodas.  I've gotten a couple "freebies" from friends.

16. Do you use a rating system?

I don't use stars or mugs or a 1-10 scale or anything. My ratings are usually: Love it! Would buy and drink again; Not bad, would buy again, but not going to buy a lot or work to find it again; If you sat one I front of me, I'd drink it, but won't buy myself again; and lastly, won't drink ever again, set one down in front of me and there is no way you can force me and I might hurt you. Its informal, but it works for me. 

17. Will you ever taste and review diet soda?

Sorry, but the artificial sweeteners are not something I can tolerate. Rather drink a bad sugar or HFCS soda than a good diet soda.

18. Are their any flavors you won't review?

Yes. Unfortunately I do not find anything coffee flavored good. From the real coffee, to coffee ice cream, and yes coffee soda. I can't see reviewing something I know I don't like to taste. Chocolate might fall it this category. I know there are a few chocolate sodas around, and I suppose it will depend how they taste. I'm not a chocolate fan. Can't think of anything else.

19. What's with the (#)?

 July 1- ABANDONED!! (Just my way of helping me keep track of things. They are seemingly out of order in the first groups of posts, that's because I rearranged some posts. Number sequence is off, count isn't.)

20. What's PD?

Parkinson's disease

21. Where do you get you history and such info?

Most often the company's web site. Wikipedia as well. I probably should site sources for direct quotes, but most often I'm just summarizing what I read as opposed to direct plagiarism. If you have questions about the history and information, I can guide you to  where it is. Have to admit, I think one little blog from someone in the middle of no where is the least worry for plagiarism. I'm not taking credit in some major published source, and I'm telling you here where I get the info. Yeah, not a perfect system of foot notes and bibliography, but I just don't see the point.

22. Are you a soda expert?

Heck no!! This blog is just my personal opinions on unique sodas. I drink 'em, why not write about them?

23. If you drink one kind of soda from a brand and don't like it, will you drink the other flavors from that brand?

Yes I will. Have to admit I'm a little more excited when its a company who's product(s) I've really liked, but I hold no grudges and look at (or taste at) each soda individually.

Plug here for a fellow soda tasting video blogger. Patrick does a great job, and I enjoy listening and watching his reviews: he's also on YouTube 

This isn't really a question, but if someone has a soda they want me to try, I'll gladly do so. If its one I cannot locate, but you have a steady supply where you live, I may ask you to ship it. Since I have friends in many different regions of the US, I may eventually ask about popular regional sodas, and shipping them if I cannot locate it (I'll cover cost and shipping). But that's in the very distant future if ever.

I've covered all the questions that people have asked me. Anything else, as I said, just ask.

Lesters' Fixins Ranch Dressing soda, Baumeister Cream soda, Foxon Park Iron Brew

Lester's Fixins Ranch Dressing Soda: I real expected this one to be a guzzler. I was pleasantly surprised. Open the bottle up, slowly bring it oh so close to my nose. I'm not sure what to call the smell. I'd say something like cream soda with spices mixed in. And that's not a very good description. But best I can do. Taste it. Well, its not an all together bad taste. Does not hit the mark of ranch dressing taste. But what it did taste like, I'm really at a loss to put a description into words. It wasn't a bad taste. That's the best I can say. Another one I won't overextend myself to get, but I'll buy some more sometime. Busy picture, sorry. Wanted to get the color of the soda in, and this was the best

Baumeister Cream Soda: Nice drink. Smells honestly, like an alcoholic drink. First taste, there is a kick to it. Drinks very smooth. Pleasant aftertaste. This is another cream soda that succeeds in not being to sweet. Not sure I taste a lot of vanilla in it.  Hasn't that sort of bourbon-y taste that the Natural Brew Cream had. Not sure I'd buy again, but no objections to drinking a bottle given to me. 

I have to do an inventory, but I think I've caught up. Probably come about 2 a time every day or every other day now. Got a bunch to keep me busy (I discovered Rocket Fizz- I'm in trouble). There are also a few more I had when I was at a friend's house, and I wasn't blogging yet, and certainly hadn't kept the bottles long enough to jog my memory. Only one that stands out is Malta India, but I want to give it a better taste before writing about it.

So I'm adding on after inventory. I don't see this one in the blog.

Foxon Park Iron Brew: Wow, um, what to say about this one. Kind of smells like a root beer when you open it, but you also can smell that its not. Tasting, well in has a bite, and leaves you wondering what you just drank. Sort starts off as a root beer, and ends as a cola. I'm not doing the flavor justice. Its very unique. Bottle has nothing on it about being a root beer, cola or what. Also one I'll drink more of, but won't go out of my way to buy it. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Moxie, Tommyknocker Almond Creme, Lost Trail Sarsaparilla

Well it was time to cowboy (cowgirl?) up tonight...

Moxie: Well, wasn't as bad as I had been led to believe. First, some background. Moxie is made from gentian root. Gentian is used in herbal medicine to treat digestion problems such as loss of appetite, fullness, intestinal gas, diarrhea, gastritis, heartburn, and vomiting, and also having a calming effect on anxiety. Also, historically, its been claimed to treat paralysis, softening of the brain, nervousness, and insomnia. Lot of people say I'm soft in the head so maybe this will help. Moxie was invented, and first produced in Lowell Mass (yeah Massachusetts!!). Its the official state drink of Maine and still very popular in New England. Moxie has sort of a cult following now, as it has spurned Moxie festivals, a Moxie museum. Lots of stuff. 

On to drinking!! Has a very strong aroma, little licorice to the smell, which had me worried. The taste is somewhere between cola and root beer, with a kick of birch beer tossed in. Nice earthy aftertaste. Well, I'm from New England, so supposed its only appropriate: I loved it!!! I want more, like now. Gonna have to find a source....

Tommy Knocker Almond Creme: Remember I love almonds. This opened with a very pleasing almond scent. Drinking it was wonderful. Creamy, almondy, just wonderful. Was hard to take small sips. Another Loved it. Already have bought more of it. Really isn't much more to say. My best rating is always buying more or not. As I said, already bought more.

Lost Trail Sarsaparilla: I hate spelling Sara______. Another licorice smell, and this had some licorice bite to it. Its not bad, but its not my favorite either. Does have a pleasant root beery after taste. I drink if given one, but another I'm going to bust my butt to buy again either.

Bruins Time!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Lester's Fixins Sweet Corn, Martian Soda Plum flavored, Ramune Grape Soda

Lester's Fixins Sweet Corn: Wasn't sure quite what to expect. Open the bottle. Well, with my nose, to say it is a very strong corn scent is saying something. And its tastes like, well, corn. The question is, do you want corn to be as sweet as a soda? Creamed corn is sweet, my grandmom's corn pudding was, but neither as sweet as the soda. I really don't know what else to say except it tastes like very very sweet corn. I won't be buying anymore, and I can't say as I'd be happy if someone put it in front of me, but I'd drink it. I'd really rather have my corn with butter on the cob. Also, not to be crude, but I burped corn for quite a while after drinking it.(16)

Martian Soda Plum Flavored: Just an aside, Martian soda is actually a Rocket Fizz product, just not packaged or marketed that way (not that being a Rocket Fizz soda makes it bad). It doesn't smell the way I remember any plum smelling, but its not an unpleasant aroma. Very difficult aroma for me to pick up. Also doesn't taste like I remember plums tasting (haven't had any this year), its not an unpleasant taste. Fruity, but kind of nondescript. Not going to go out of my way to buy it, but I would buy again.(17)

Ramune Grape Soda (made in Japan by Sangaria Beverage Company):  I'm not sure I've ever anticipated a soda quite as much as this one. Not so much for the beverage, but for the unique opening and er, addition. If you try this drink, really read the opening directions well. Remove the plastic wrapper, take off but do not discard the first cap. Take off the top of that cap. Flip it, push down very hard on the opening. This will release the marble (yes marble) and open the soda. Strong grape scent. The bottle has this weird design, so the marble stays in the top part and makes the drink especially fizzy. Very strong grape flavor. Not wholly convinced its all that different from other grape sodas, but it is tasty. When I find my camera, I'll get a picture of it. I'll be drinking Ramune again as they have a bunch of different flavors. Grape was pretty tasty and I'm not a big grape soda drinker. The bottle and the taste, I'd buy again.(18)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Americana Honey Cream, Maine Root Sarsaparilla, Soprano's Amaretto Soda

Americana Honey Cream: Well, I was expecting honey cream to be different than a standard vanilla cream. I was wrong. Wasn't disappointed, but wrong. Its one of those "micro crafted" ones. You hear micro brew/micro crafted so much anymore, its just not special. Vanilla smell when you open the bottle, after that its nothing too special. I kept waiting for some sort of honey taste, but got none. It didn't wander into the realm of too sweet, so that's a plus. I'm just not convinced its different from any other well made cream soda.  I'd drink it happily if someone put it in front of me, but its another one I'm not going to kill myself to buy.

Maine Root Sarsaparilla: Sarsaparilla was used many years ago for skin and blood problems. Very wonderful drink. Nice strong smell when opened and a good strong taste as well. Many would just call this a strong root beer, but there just a wee bit of difference. Not exactly sure how to explain that. I liked the strength of flavor, the bite, but done with a smooth drinkability. I really liked this one. This is a buy again.(14)

The Sopranos Amaretto Soda: Yes same Sopranos as HBO. I'd rate this one as just OK. Not a very strong smell, just a hint of almond. Also not a very strong taste. The Almond flavor is there, but its just not potent. I really expected more. Nothing that distinguishes as a excellent soda. This is yet another would drink if someone gave me one, but doubtful I'll buy again.(15)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Goya Coconut soda, Dang! That's good Butterscotch Root Beer, Moxie Blue Cream

I've drank (drunk?) much more than this, I am still catching up!!

Goya Coconut Soda: This is another, let me start off by saying I love coconut. Anything  coconut. So the thought of coconut soda is very appealing. Very strong coconut scent when opened (has to be very strong if I could smell and says it's strong) What's to say? It tasted like coconut. I enjoyed drinking it. One of the first HFCS I've enjoyed drinking. I'm pretty sure the Goya brand can be found in local grocery store in the "Mexican" food section. This will be something I'll research. Can tell you now, they have a lot of flavors.(10)

Dang! That's Good Butterscotch Root Beer: Not quite what I expected. I thought there would be more butterscotch flavor. That being said, this still is a wonderful root beer. Nice warm root bear scent when opened. Its a little more mellow, without the bite that some root beers have. Drinks very well. A softer kinder root beer I'll buy again.(11)

Moxie Blue Cream: I know at some point I'll have to taste and review Moxie. I've heard its quite the taste. So I've chickened out so far, and figured Moxie's Blue Cream would be a start. Soft cream scent when opening. When I reviewed Killebrew Cream, I said it seemed to go out of its way not to be sweet and failed? Moxie succeeds. Nice creamy vanilla flavor that isn't overwhelmed with sweetness. Very tasty, very easy to drink. Will buy again.(12)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Izze Sparkling Blueberry, Kazouza Tamarind,

Izze Sparkling Blueberry: Let me start by saying I love blueberries, fresh, muffins, pie whatever. I've even made "strawberry" shortcake with blueberries. So that being said, I despised this drink. Smells like grape, tastes more like cranberry or grape. That's not to say I don't like cranberry or grape, but its not what I'm expecting when I am drinking blueberry. Its very tart, no added sugar. Should have been tipped off when the first juice listed on the bottle is white grape juice. Second is apple, and way down at 3rd is blueberry. Last red grape juice is also listed. Was extremely disappointed. If I wanted sparkling grape juice, I'd have purchased that. Not going to buy again. From local grocery store.(8)

Kazouza Tamarind: Set myself up here, As I had no idea what tamarind is or tastes like. So, after drinking this I went and looked it up. Tamarind is a fruit found on a tamarind tree, raised mainly in tropical climates. The fruit is an indehiscent legume (no idea) or pod. If picked before its truly mature, it is used like yams in some cultures. When the fruit matures, it gets a bit sweeter, and that's what get used in jams, ice creams and juices. Its described as a sweet and sour taste. In Western culture its found in HP and Worcestershire sauce. OK, so much for the lesson. The soda has light tamarind smell. Never smelled one before so I'm not sure. I guess it tastes like tamarind. Its not an unpleasant taste, but I certainly can not rate how accurate a taste. I would say overall, tamarind is an acquired taste. Not a bad soda to drink, but not sure I'd go out of my way to buy it again. I'll be trying more Kazouza sodas, as they generally have a good reputation for being true to the fruit. I'd drink it again if served to me, but again not going to go out of my way.(9)

Bruins time.

Reading Draft Birch Beer, Killebrew Old Fashioned Cream soda

Reading Draft Birch Beer:  A clear or white birch beer. Very strong wintergreen smell opening the bottle. Pleasant birch beer taste, wintergreeny with a bite. Perhaps a touch more wintergreen than other birch beers. Wouldn't go out of my way to buy again, but if someone put one in front of me, I wouldn't be upset.(6)

Killebrew Old Fashioned Cream Soda: I'm not a big cream soda fan. To me they are always too sweet. Well, Killebrew seemed to go out of its way to make this not sweet. Problem is, they ended up with a horrible soda. Smells like a cream when the bottle is opened, but that's the only similarity. A bitter vanilla taste with a nasty not sure what to call it aftertaste. It uses HFCS instead of cane sugar, and maybe that's the difference. Not on the buy again list.(7)

Friday, June 14, 2013

Old 52 Special Brew, Stewart Cream Soda, Reed's Spiced Apple Brew

Old 52 Special Brew: Advertised as a wintergreen, I'd lean more towards calling this a birch beer. Does have a pleasant wintergreen scent, but drinks like a birch beer would. They do claim its a "special birch beer brew". Have to admit, I'm not sure what makes it special. Don't get me wrong, its a very tasty clear birch beer, but the special I'm not tasting. Maybe a bit more bite, cleaner flavor as its sweetened with cane sugar. I'll be buying this one again.

Stewart Cream Soda: Another from my grocery store soda (not that there is anything wrong with that), but not anything particularly different about it. Good vanilla scent. Pleasant cream soda taste, though as often happens with cream soda, a bit sweet. I'd buy again, but wouldn't go out of my way. Might be buying just cause its handy. 

Reed's Spiced Apple Brew: We have a first! I am determined that I will finish every bottle of soda. This tested that determination. Reasonable apple smell when opened. Then you drink it. I really could not pick out one flavor, even apple. It was a muddled mess that did not drink well for me. With the cost of the sodas, I tend to sip them and enjoy. This one I guzzled to be done with it. Never ever will I purchase this again.