Thursday, January 29, 2015

Review - Goya Jamaican Style Ginger Beer

Bottler: Goya

Calories per Ounce: 15.8

Caffeine: No

Aaron's Comments: Goya Jamaican Style Ginger Beer has a pleasant, almost innocuous initial flavor very much like a standard ginger ale. Then the bite inherent to ginger beer sets in, and one realizes that this is one of the spicier ginger beers on the market. Ice makes the up-front ginger flavor smoother, but does almost nothing to cut down the spicy aftertaste, and in fact may even enhance it. Adding ice cream causes the soda to foam up, as usual for carbonated drinks, but the foam is exceptionally spicy, and will definitely burn if you inhale it. The combination of ice cream and biting ginger creates a fairly interesting combination of contrasts, resulting in a creamy mixture that is definitely sharp and spicy at the same time. I don't think it is a combination I would want on a regular basis, but it is good enough that it is definitely worth having once in a while.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Review - YooHoo Chocolate Drink

Bottler: Dr. Pepper Snapple Group

Calories per Ounce: 15

Caffeine: No

Aaron's Comments: YooHoo Chocolate Drink isn't a soda, as it has no carbonation. It also is not chocolate milk, as there is no actual milk in it either. It also bills itself as ninety-nine percent fat and caffeine free. It is, however, loaded with sugar, with a relatively robust 15 calories per ounce. It definitely has a chocolate taste, but it is a heavily processed chocolate taste. If one is expecting something akin to chocolate milk, YooHoo will be somewhat disappointing, as it has a much thinner consistency than chocolate milk. With ice, the flavor of the drink is entirely unchanged. The fact that it is not a soda means that it doesn't really make an ice cream float when you add ice cream to it, but it does create a quite delicious chocolate-vanilla combination. The concoction is something like a chocolate sundae, but instead of having syrup on top of ice cream, you immerse the ice cream in a vat of chocolate. The combination is good enough, in fact, that I am not surprised that it is not a commonly done thing.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Review - Cock 'n Bull Ginger Beer

Bottler: Pipeline Brands

Calories per Ounce: 11.7

Caffeine: No

Aaron's Comments: Bottled in North Carolina and billing itself as "the extra ginger soft drink", Cock n' Bull Ginger Beer offers a powerful ginger punch and a burning spicy aftertaste. As with most ginger beers, this soda is very strong, although it manages to do so while remaining relatively light on calories. Drinking it over ice does little to change the flavor, but it is slightly hazardous as inhaling the spicy aroma that rises off of the soda in a glass can irritate your throat. Adding ice cream makes the soda foam up, like most other sodas, but because of the heavy ginger of the soda, drinking that foam becomes a rather spicy experience. I may have odd tastes, but I find that ginger beer in general combines well with ice cream, and Cock n' Bull is no exception. The ice cream mellows out the ginger sting just a little bit, resulting in a vanilla-ginger combination that is really quite tasty.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Review - Ale 8 One

Bottler: Ale 8 One Bottling Company

Calories per Ounce: 10

Caffeine: Yes

Aaron's Comments: Ale 8 One is a regional soft drink that only appears to be generally available in Kentucky. It has a mild ginger taste with a hint of fruit flavor, perhaps apple, although it is so elusive that it is difficult to identify. The soda is only moderately sweet, which seems fitting given its relatively low calorie content. With ice, the ginger flavor remains, as does the fruit flavor, but it is not easier to identify. The flavor of the soda is so mild that it does not make for a particularly interesting ice cream float. The flavor of the soda retreats behind the flavor of the ice cream, providing little to complement the vanilla. Although Ale 8 One is a fairly decent soda on its own, it simply isn't very good when coupled with ice cream.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Review - Cool Mountain Black Cherry Soda

Bottler: Cool Mountain Beverages

Calories per Ounce: 11.7

Caffeine: No

Aaron's Comments: Cool Mountain Black Cherry, unlike many of the other flavors in the Cool Mountain line, has a strong flavor, with the black cherry almost hitting you int he face right off the bat. Unfortunately, like many cherry-based sodas, this means that there is something of a medicinal taste to the drink. adding ice mutes this aspect to the soda, making it taste a little less like sweetened cough syrup, but also dulls the cherry flavor itself. The soda mixes extremely well with ice cream, as the strong cherry flavor is still quite prominent even when mixed into an ice cream float, although tempered by the ice cream enough to eliminate the medicinal taste and producing a very nice cherry-vanilla combination.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Review - Barq's Red Creme Soda

Bottler: Barq's, Inc., a Coca-Cola Company.

Calories per Ounce: 14

Caffeinated? No.

Aaron's Comments: Unlike most other red cream sodas, Barq's Red Creme emphasizes the vanilla flavor of the soda to such an extent that the bubble-gum-like flavor found in most other sodas of this type fades to the background. As I am not really that enthusiastic about drinking a soda that tastes like bubble-gum, this makes Barq's rendition of the soda a superior one in my estimation. This is not to say that there isn't a bubble-gum flavor lurking in the soda, just that this element is less prominent than it is in, for example, Big Red. Ice seems to bring out the bubble-gum flavor in the soda, which I consider to be a step backwards. Like most red cream sodas, Barq's Red Creme makes for an adequate, although not particularly notable ice cream float, with the vanilla of the ice cream reinforcing the vanilla of the soda resulting in a decent experience with only a modest bubble-gum after taste.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Review - Sunkist Orange Soda

Bottler: Dr. Pepper Snapple Group

Calories per Ounce: 13.5

Caffeine: Yes

Aaron's Comments: The first thing to note about Sunkist Orange soda is that it contains caffeine. This makes it different than most other orange sodas, and is notable because many parents seem to think that orange sodas are, as a rule , a "safe" soda to serve to their children without the risk of hopping them up on caffeine. Sunkist Orange soda is the exception, and should be regarded as an unsuitable option if one wants to avoid caffeine. I like caffeine, and so Sunkist Orange soda is a perfectly acceptable alternative for me. The soda's flavor is definitely orange, but more in the vein of mandarin orange slices in light syrup orange. As with other Sunkist flavors, Sunkist Orange is also very highly carbonated, giving the soda something of a fizzy bite. Ice doesn't appreciably change the flavor, but it does tone down the carbonation, making the entire experience slightly mellower. As with most orange sodas, using it in an ice cream float creates a Dreamsicle-like experience, so if you like Dreamsicles, then you will probably like a Sunkist soda float.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Review - Sunkist Strawberry Soda

Bottler: Dr. Pepper Snapple Group

Calories per Ounce: 14.5

Caffeine: No

Aaron's Comments: I am generally a fan of strawberry sodas, and Sunkist Strawberry Soda is an excellent example of this kind of drink. The soda has a nice fresh strawberry flavor that is tasty without being overpowering, although it is a little bit too heavily carbonated for my taste. Adding ice doesn't diminish the flavor, but does ratchet down the power of the carbonation by just a little bit. Using Sunkist Strawberry Soda in an ice cream float creates a delicious strawberry-vanilla flavored concoction that is a nice balance of creaminess and carbonation. Overall, this is a very good soda that will be sure to please anyone who is a fan of strawberry flavor.

Angela's Comments: The first taste is sweet, and then you get the strawberry. The strawberry flavor isn't as strong as some other strawberry sodas.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Review - Big Blue

Bottler: Big Red, Inc.

Calories per Ounce: 16.25

Caffeine: Yes

Aaron's Comments: Big Blue is bottled by the same manufacturer that makes Big Red, and this fact is apparent when one drinks one and realizes that it has almost the same flavor as its red colored counterpart. The vanilla flavor is a little more prominent, but the bubble gum flavor is still present. In fact, the two sodas taste so similar that other than the color I'm not really sure what is supposed to be different. I suppose Big Blue is for people who want to get the mixture of vanilla and bubble gum flavor in their soda, but don't want to drink something red. It seems to have a slightly fuller taste than Big Red, with none of the tinny feel of the other soda. When put over ice, the bubble gum flavor fades into the background, and Big Blue tastes very much like a poor quality cream soda. Adding ice cream has the odd effect of highlighting the bubble gum flavor, although not unpleasantly so. If the idea of having a bubble gum-like ice cream float sounds enticing to you, then this would be a good option. I was only mildly impressed with Big Blue - it is marginally better than Big Red, but not so much so that I would ever bother to try it again.