Over the weekend I had the opportunity to try out a few new sodas, one domestic and one imported. Both are complex flavors, but vastly different in taste. First up is the A&W Float one of a new product line from Dr. Pepper with the help of Sunkist and A&W, a company best known for their Root Beer. The A&W Float aims to be a root beer float in a bottle. It promises to deliver all the creamy flavor of root beer and vanilla ice cream. I’ll admit I like a good root beer float, I’ve had more then a few floats in my day. So I was definitely qualified to see how this compares to a true root beer float. When I opened the bottle, the “float” smelled great. I mean it smelled like a root beer float. So I was optimistic. My first sip was surprising. It was much sweeter then I’d expected. With the overpowering sweetness it was really tough to dissect the flavor in my mind. It tasted kind of like a float… but it was off. The texture was off, the ice cream flavoring was too artificial, and oddly enough the taste was too consistant all the way through. When you drink a float you don’t expect to get a marriage of ice cream and root beer with every sip. Floats are uneven by nature, sometimes you get a pocket of root beer, sometimes a mix of ice cream and soda, and sometime you get a plug of half melted ice cream up the straw. After a few more sips I had to dump this soda down the sink. It was too much, too artificial and just way too sweet for me. I really have trouble recommending this soda, the taste and sweetness kept compounding itself and became awful in my mouth with every sip. It wasn’t a good experience and disappointingly it wasn’t anything like having a root beer float in a bottle. That is just an impossible goal to achieve. 1 out of 5 bottles. When a soda becomes undrinkable that doesn’t help it out for ratings.
Next on my list was Fentimans Curiousity Cola, I’m not sure how long it has been for sale but it is referred to as the newest of the flavors from this company based in Northumberland, UK. Unlike the major beverage companies here in the USA, Fentimans prides itself on what it calls a botanical brewing process that brings soft drinks back to their roots. It was refreshing to look at the ingredients on the cola bottle and not see any odd chemicals or mention of corn syrup. This Curiousity Cola includes Catuaba & Guarana extracts that are believed to provide invigorating properties. Including these ingredients to the drink bring the cola back to its origins as a drink made by apothecaries and pharmacists. The first taste of this cola was eye opening, it was instantly identifiable as a cola. But the complexity of the flavor was so enjoyable, you aren’t knocked over with the syrupy sweetness so you could really enjoy and savor the “cola” flavor. I’m sad that this is an import which makes the price of a bottle over twice what I pay for a domestic soda. There was no unfavorable after taste and a really a refreshing soft drink. Makes curious how this will taste mixed in drinks or marinades that I use cola in. 4 out of 5 bottles. Natural ingredients make for a pleasant and complex cola taste. A major bummer that this is an import which makes it tough on the budget.