Category Archives: 4 stars

Bundaberg Lemon Lime & Bitters Review


Brand: Bundaberg
Flavor: Lemon and Lime
Sweetener: Cane sugar
Size: 11.5 ounce bottle
Purchased At: Harmons
Similar To: Fentiman’s Victorian Lemonade

Bundaberg sodas (or flavored sparkling drinks, as the bottle says) are brewed and bottled in Queensland Australia. They produce a good number of different flavors of soda so I’m glad that I’ve been able to find them locally. The first one up for review is the Lemon Lime & Bitters soda. The eye-pleasing bottle advertises that this is made with the aromatic Bundaberg bitters. Upon first tasting the soda, I was pleasantly surprised by the crisp, authentic taste of lemon/lime that hit my tongue. The ingredients state that real lime and lemon juice (from concentrate), which would explain the nice, natural flavor. The soda finishes with a root-like flavor that reminded me of ginger or cinnamon. The bitters in the soda are made from tropical spices and gentian root which helps give this drink a distinctive flavor that separates it from other lemon lime sodas. Although summer is still a few months away, this is a drink I can definitely picture myself enjoying at a barbecue on a hot Saturday. rating:

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Fentimans Victorian Lemonade Review

Brand: Fentimans
Flavor: Lemonade
Sweetener: Sugar
Size: 9.3 ounce bottle
Purchased At: Liberty Heights Fresh
Similar To: Jelly Belly Lemon Drop

The thing that I’ve loved about other flavors of Fentimans that I’ve tried is that they always have a strong, bold flavor. The Victorian Lemonade variety is no different. The soda is flavored with real lemon juice and it helps make this one of the most authentically flavored lemon sodas I’ve ever had. The soda is sour and sweet and very lightly carbonated. It finishes off slightly bitter, similar to other flavors of Fentimans. After trying a lot of sodas that have wild flavors printed on the bottle and then being slightly disappointed at how bland they actually taste, Fentimans Victorian Lemonade is both refreshing and delicious. Like all other Fentimans flavors, this one comes in a 9.3-ounce distinctly shaped glass bottle. The yellow and blue color scheme looks nice and the soda’s creamy yellow color is exactly what you would expect from a lemonade. I wish the carbonation packed a little bit more of a punch here, but I think the light carbonation is deliberately done in order to help the natural flavors stand out more. This is definitely one I want to try again. rating:

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Americana Cherry Cola Review

Americana Cherry Cola

Brand: Americana
Flavor: Cherry Cola
Sweetener: Pure Cane Sugar
Size: 12 oz Bottle
Cost: $1.99
Purchased At: Rocket Fizz
Flavor Notes: Cola, cherry, smooth
Similar To: Sprecher’s Cherry Cola

I’m quickly becoming a huge fan of Americana sodas. I enjoyed their Honey Cream and I also enjoyed their Cherry Cola. Nothing beats a freshly made cherry coke/cola from a restaurant. While I have yet to find a bottled or canned cherry cola match that same grenadine-heavy enjoyment that you can find hand-made in popular eateries, Americana Cherry Cola is nonetheless an enjoyable and very good cherry cola. This lightly carbonated cherry cola is sweetened with Pure Cane Sugar and has a smooth cherry taste. The cherry flavor is right on queue, it’s not too strong, not too subtle but it melds well with the cola flavor. The carbonation is not too strong – it’s finely carbonated like a Sprecher’s soda if you’ve had one. If you’re a fan of cherry cola’s then you should make an effort to try an Americana Cherry Cola. Rating:

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Hot Lips Apple Soda Review

Brand: Hot Lips
Flavor: Apple
Sweetener: Cane sugar
Size: 12 ounce bottle
Purchased At: Liberty Heights Fresh
Similar To: Apple Beer

Originally founded as a pizza company in 1984, Hot Lips has also been making sodas since 2005. Their apple soda is the first one I’ve tried and I came away pretty satisfied. For starters, the soda is made with real apples from the Northwestern United States. When you tip the bottle over, you can see chunks of apple pulp drift slowly downward. I was surprised and impressed by how much apple pulp there was and by how large the apple chunks were–there is definitely real fruit in this soda. According to the Hot Lips website, their apple soda has the taste of fresh pressed cider. I found this to be quite accurate. The soda is very flavorful and goes down quite smoothly thanks to the light carbonation. For comparison’s sake, Apple Beer is a little more sour and tangy than this and much more heavily carbonated. The only downside to the Hot Lips Apple soda is that a 12-ounce bottle is fairly expensive–I think I paid around between $2.50 and $3 for a single bottle. I’ll have to hunt around and see if I can find it cheaper, since this soda is definitely worth returning to. I can’t wait to try the other Hot Lips varieties. They’re all made with real fruit from the Northwest! rating:

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Fentimans Mandarin and Seville Orange Jigger Review

Brand: Fentimans
Flavor: Mandarin and Seville Orange
Sweetener: Sugar
Size: 9.3 ounce bottle
Purchased At: Old 52
Similar To: None

Mandarin and Seville Orange Jigger (quite a mouthful) is another one of of Fentimans’ botanically brewed sodas. The soda is a bright orange-yellow color and a quick look at the ingredients reveals why–it is made with real mandarin juice concentrate as well as seville orange extracts. Unlike most sodas, you actually need to shake this one a little bit before drinking because the natural fruit bits tend to settle on the bottom of the bottle. My first taste of the jigger (I’m not sure why it’s called jigger since a jigger is a unit of measurement) revealed that the taste stays very true to the look: this is essentially an orange juice soda. Like Fentimans Curiosity Cola, this drink contains ginger and other herbal extracts. Unlike the cola, however, those ingredients are barely noticeable here. What is noticeable, though, are the satisfying mandarin and orange flavors. The carbonation is pretty mellow but still adds a nice zing to the soda which finishes with a very slight bitterness that one would expect when eating a real orange. Fentimans has done it again and created a very distinctive soda that is different but still manages to taste good. rating:

Posted in 4 stars, Fentimans, Fruit | 3 Comments

Mason’s Root Beer Soda Review

Brand: Mason’s
Flavor: Root Beer
Sweetener: Sugar
Size: 12 oz Bottle
Cost: $1.99
Purchased At: Rocket Fizz
Flavor Notes: Uncomplicated, sweet, smooth

I absolutely love Mason’s Root Beer. It’s such an easy-to-drink-and-enjoy root beer. Mason’s Root Beer should probably be a solid 3-star rated soda but because I love it so much I’m giving it 4-stars. The only thing keeping this root beer from being a 5-star soda is that it doesn’t do anything adventurous. You see, as much as I love this soda, Mason’s plays it safe with a predictable yet altogether good root beer and it’s always a pleasure to drink. I think that it takes a bit of risk for sodas to get that “best of category” 5-star rating. Mason’s takes a solid stand with a sweet, finely carbonated and smooth root beer. The root beer taste is not overbearing and never gets too natural. In one word I would describe Mason’s Root Beer as “uncomplicated”. It’s very straightforward, sweet and smooth which is what makes this soda so easy to drink. You’ll find that there’s something just a little different in Mason’s Root Beer than what you get with a comparable A&W or Dad’s Root Beer, maybe it’s the “Keg Brewed Flavor” that the label describes. Mason’s Root Beer dates back to 1947 and today is owned by Monarch Beverage Company in Atlanta, Georgia. If you’re a fan of simple, smooth and sweet root beers then Mason’s is one that you’ll want to try. Just be warned that you’re likely to come back to it time and time again if it’s available to you. Rating:

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Jones Strawberry Lime Soda Review

Brand: Jones
Flavor: Strawberry Lime
Sweetener: Inverted cane sugar
Size: 12 ounce bottle
Purchased At: Smith’s
Similar To: None

Fruit soda is always pretty hit-or-miss for me. On one hand, you can get a delicious fruit soda that’s flavored with real fruit and that tastes very refreshing. On the other hand, you can get a fruit soda that tastes so artificial that you wonder if someone slipped a weird concoction of chemicals into the soda bottle when you weren’t looking. Thankfully, Jones sodas have always had pretty authentic flavors and the Jones Strawberry Lime is no different. Strawberry and lime may not seem like a very complementary pairing for a soda, but they definitely work well together here. The strawberry provides a sweet, tart flavor and the lime finishes the soda up nicely, but could be stronger and tangier. It’s difficult to describe the flavor, since I can think of no other sodas that are similar to Jones Strawberry Lime. So if you haven’t tried it yet, you’re missing out on a unique and very tasty soda. Lucky for you, Jones is widely available in most areas so you shouldn’t have too much trouble hunting down a bottle or two. rating:

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Ski Soda Review

Brand: Ski
Flavor: Citrus
Sweetener: Pure cane sugar
Size: 12 ounce bottle
Purchased at: Old 52
Similar to: Mountain Dew Throwback

Ski from the Double Cola Company is a naturally flavored citrus soda. Taking a peak at Ski soda’s list of ingredients, you’ll notice that it is sweetened with pure cane sugar and also contains lemon and orange juice concentrates. These concentrates help give the soda a very authentic and satisfying citrus flavor. When I was looking at the bottle before opening it, I noticed that the lemon/orange concentrate was actually visible floating within the soda; definitely a sign that this would have a very natural, citrus taste. According to the company’s website, Ski soda has more body than the typical carbonated beverage. In my taste test, this was definitely true, as Ski had a nice full flavor. The soda pop finishes very smoothly. In fact, I was hoping for a little more bite or sourness. Overall, Ski was incredibly refreshing and very drinkable. The bottle was gone before I knew it and I was immediately wishing I had another one. I would definitely recommend this as an alternative to anyone that enjoys Mountain Dew or Mountain Dew Throwback. rating:

Posted in 4 stars, Fruit, Review | 9 Comments