Friday, October 22, 2010

Soda Review: Henry Weinhard's Vanilla Cream

I bought a six pack of this locally for only $4.69, a fair price for a glass bottled soda. Very easily available online as well, for example from
here.This is a soda that markets itself as being old fashioned and hand crafted and having the recipe passed down for generations on a scroll that was kept in a vault where the only person who knows the code is the man who tames and owl to caw the morse code and blah blah blah. Basically, it's just a pretty standard soda but they chose to give it a sort of rustic boxing and such. I chose to have this particular soda with a side of 2 slices of bacon pizza from Cottage Inn, what a lovely meal!

Here's one of their little blurbs as read on the bottle. Like I said, "We proudly present", all that jargon. Except there's one major catch!

Yep. High Fructose Corn Syrup.
Now, I wouldn't really have all that much of an issue with HFCS(as it will hereby be referred to) but all over the bottle it touts all this stuff about "natural ingredients" and "hand-crafted". Yeah, hand-crafted with freaking HFCS! So right off the bat I hate the marketing. They are just totally lying about who they are, but let's not let this cloud our judgement and jump right into it!

First off, the bottling really is pretty well done. I know that it's misleading but the art and coloring is really just pretty good overall. It's a twist off, yay! It popped open with a nice little "bop" sound and I took a whiff. Oh man, I'm salivating this stuff smells gorgeous! It's so sweet but yet it still has an interesting flavor, something I don't think I've had very often. I admittedly haven't had very much cream sodas so I was really pretty excited for this one.

On my first sip I immediately just think "wow, this flavor is amazing!" It was definitely not like anything I had had before. It was in the ball park of a regular Faygo cream soda but it definitely had more to it. It had that underlying vanilla flavor carrying it along. I expected it to be as mouth-puckeringly sweet at faygo sodas due to the HFCS but I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was very, very sweet but not overwhelming. The carbonation is so so, I think I would have liked more because I like to feel the bubbles but they are there and they don't make you burpy so whatever.

I take a sip of water to refresh and then I taste again and I just feel the exact same way, what an amazing flavor. But it's not a deep flavor. For example, I have had sodas made with nothing but ginger and other spices and those sodas are like an ocean. You can take as many sips as you want but you'll never get to experience the whole thing because there are so many levels to the flavors. This is just sort of a "party soda" because it has a consistent but really good flavor. I can taste it over and over and it's always the same but it's always good. If anything I would recommend this as a soda for kids because of this quality. It would be a great gift as well because it comes in such an attractive little 6-pack with such nice labeling and bottling so it looks classy but it just tastes so good, nobody will complain. Oh yeah , did I mention the froth?
Seriously, just look at that. It's a solid centimeter of froth just from me drinking normally. That is just so pretty! I've never seen froth like that on anything but a root beer.

Overall thoughts:
This is a great soda being marketed totally incorrectly. The glass bottling and old, stern man on the front doesn't fit it's tasty and playful qualities. This would be so much better suited to come in a plastic bottle with a friendly, bright logo shouting out "Hey! Buy me and have a great time!" Right now the only way I would get this is if I knew that it really was just another fun candy like soda(like you do now!) or as a gift to someone. I really liked the soda itself, marketing basically just failed on this one.

Ingredients: Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Pure Vanilla Bean Extract, Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate (Preserves Freshness), Botanical Extracts, Caramel Color, Honey, Natural Flavors.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Soda Review: Sidral Mundet Apple Soda

Well this is my first review so it might be a bit spongy. Bear with me, criticisms welcome.

Sidral Mundet is an imported soda from Mexico. It is available quite widely in states. I purchased my 2 bottles locally, I believe from a "World Market" store for 89 cents a bottle. Obtaining it online is also not too difficult, you could try here. It has a pretty big following online because of its somewhat exotic nature. Definitely a large draw to hipsters. I definitely went into this one with a fair bit of skepticism.
Well my first thought was "how the hell and I supposed to get the top of". At first I was twisting and twisting, I actually ended up hurting my hand a little bit but then it turned out it was a pop off. Damning all old fashioned purists, I proceeded to go upstairs and scour for a bottle opener. I actually didn't find one oddly enough, seems like it should be something in every kitchen. I found out my can opener had a handy little thing that let me open it up. It made a nice little pop and I brought it back downstairs.

I gave it a whiff and it had a definite appley smell but it was very subtle. I started to like it right there, I go like a subtle soda. The coloring is quite attractive as well, looks like a deep apple juice but not quite as dark as a cider. Of course, natural sugar in this one. High Fructose Corn Syrup is not something you'll usually find in a glass bottle of soda. Speaking of bottling, this is one of the most attractive bottles I've ever seen. It's just a simple glass bottle with no real paint on it and a label. Simple, classic and wonderful.

I decided to drink it chilled straight from the bottle, no ice. The first taste was an overwhelming "meh". I tasted the apples and I liked it, don't get me wrong but it was like the whole taste was an aftertaste. I actually found myself not taking sips and thinking I was basically just downing it because once the liquid is off the tongue, the flavor almost disappears. It is also absolutely nothing like sparkling apple juice. It is much less powerful than any apple juice I've had or any sparkling apple juice. I would recommend it for a drink with dinner, not as a soda that you have on its own as a treat.

The carbonation was really really good, not overwhelming not underpowering. Fine bubbles that tickle the mouth and you feel them but they aren't overbearing. This is definitely the one very strong suit of this soda. This let you take multiple sips or take huge mouthfuls without encountering major issues. Taking multiple sips like that where I guess it's more on the side of "chugging" is way, way more satisfying than sipping. Definitely the way I recommend to drink this soda.

There is a slight lip to the top of the bottle that makes it hug nicely to the contours of my lips. This makes the soda wash nicely over my tongue. Really not a huge deal but it's the small things that make you realize when you're having a soda with some thought put into it.

The reason that this doesn't hit as hard could be due to the "natural sugar" versus the Corn Syrup. It really doesn't punch you in the face at all, it just sort of lightly taps you with a nice, sincere apple flavor. I sometimes really like the natural sugar but for this particular soda, I would have liked more sweetness.

Overall it's a pretty decent soda but it's just so, so middle of the road. It's not too flavorful, not too carbonated not too sweet not too anything. It's just sorta there as a side thought. For this reason I don't recommend it as a treat, I would recommend it with a meal to be used to wash down something else. I think it would go very well with any fruit dish or perhaps even with some meat.