Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Soda Review: IBC Black Cherry

    IBC is a very well known brand, most notable for their Root Beer. IBC Root Beer is sort of the generic good soda that restaurants and places will buy because it's in a glass bottle and is pretty cheap and pretty good tasting. I know this was bought at Meijer but it was bought a very long time ago. In fact, this was purchased back before I really had an interest in soda. It was the first time my dad brought home a 6-pack of soda in a glass bottle because he knew I liked sweets and would appreciate it. Actually, come to think of it this really had a large part in this site and my interest with soda in general. It introduced me to "good soda" and glass bottling as a serious thing. The design on the 6-pack really is superb, makes me thirsty just seeing it.
Really is just a pretty box, the lighting isn't great but the colors on there are very vivid and nice. For a little while I drank them voraciously, but then I had one lonely little one that you can see pictured above.

A little proof, mold from age in my basement. Ew.

I really have no idea what this cost, I'll give a rough estimate of 4 dollars for a 6-Pack though. All that being said, Black Cherry is an extremely interesting flavor for IBC to tackle, it's really not something that you would normally expect. In fact, I don't think I've ever even had a black cherry. Do those even exist? Whatever, I'm a soda taster not a food critic! On with the analysis!

     The bottling is fantastic. Come to think of it, I actually haven't found a bottle I didn't like. Well, who's to complain. Here's a picture for you:

It was hard to get a picture because this bottle is pure glass. The only paint you will find is on the bottle cap! I think that's great because when you put paint on a can or bottle when it gets recycled it's actually bad for the environment because to remove those paints before they melt down the metal they have to use highly toxic paint removers. This bottle however is simple and efficient. The lack of paint is also why I included a cap picture at the top, it almost tells more of a story than the full body picture. Look at that color as well. Such a nice, dark rosy color.

    I first opened it and the first thing to really hit me was a nice "pop!" sound no "psst". Usually the nature of a screw off is more of a slow release of carbonation but not in this case. Second I notice the carbonation, ther was just the perfect sizing of the bubbles.

Yep, that's pretty much perfection. This just got me really excited to start drinking it. The carbonation simply looks to be really good!

Oh god, the smell. Seriously some of the best smells I have gotten off any soda ever. It's like an extremely strong Dr. Pepper smell.

    On first taste I notice the High Fructose Corn Syrup pretty immediately. Yeah, IBC uses High Fructose Corn Syrup but that's because they aren't very small at all. Companies like that tend to go only for the corn syrup. The big difference between Sugar and Corn Syrup is that is leaves an after taste. In this case I actually found it pretty unpleasing. I had just finished drinking and then it stuck there for a little while, it was strange. However, I feel the High Fructose Corn Syrup is not overdone at all. It has a definite sweetness that distracts from the real flavors of the soda, but it's not over powering. It makes the soda nice and sweet rather than being purely flavor. It's like Boylan's Root Beer versus a normal nothing fancy root beer. Boylan's has a pure flavor with little sweetness layered on, but IBC layers sweetness on top of the flavor.

    I really don't know what to think of this soda. I like it, it tastes good but it's not a party soda like Henry Weinhard's Vanilla Cream. That soda was just mild enough you could serve it anywhere and it would go over well. This is fruity so it almost seems childish. I personally like fruity sodas but I think that others might not. However, I could definitely see this as a gift. The glass bottles, 6-pack design and flavor are all nice enough and non-controversial enough that people would not be disappointed by it.

     I've got it! This is a mainstream soda! It's just got a pretty nice, nothing special flavor with not much going on. It's got High Fructose Corn Syrup sorta acting as a safety net so that it will taste nice. The only real difference between this and a Faygo Black Cherry is the glass bottling.

     Taking that idea to the next level what I would really, really love to see is this but with pure sugar. Then stack some more flavors on top of it. This is a good flavor that's nice and sweet with corn syrup but imagining this with cane sugar and a twist or vanilla. Oh man, that would be so good. The black cherry flavor would hit you hard since the sugar would not distract and then after that's done you'd have a lingering feeling of vanilla and that would make it go down super smooth. With this sort of carbonation as well it would be such a fantastic soda. A dash of chocolate too would be amazing.

     If anything, I sort of wish that this were just a flavor included in something like Torani's Italian soda syrups. I want to mix it around and be able to choose my own sweetness rather than be given preset parameters for what this soda should be.

Overall, it's not a bad soda at all. Good bottling, good flavor all that. It's just that it could be sooo much more! It went the generic, mainstream route and if it were run by a smaller brewery it could really pop and be an absolutely amazing soda rather than nothing special that you drink on the side with a meal.


  1. Thanks for the review Julian,this review is now 7 years old,now IBC black cherry is made with cane sugar,have you ever tried it? It's my top 3 in my fav. sodas..

    1. Wow, amazing to see a reply on this old blog! I have not had a chance to try it with the cane sugar, perhaps I'll have to find it and do a comparison review :)