More and more breweries these days are making sodas and honestly, they are usually awesome! This trend is likely stemming from a combination of providing a beverage for younger family members brought into the brewery, an alternative beverage for folks who want to go out but don’t drink alcohol or just as another outlet for their brewing creativity. Since I have an affinity for them, I’ve decided to start reviewing craft sodas made by craft breweries (or those brewed in a more traditional sense) as a part of this blog. The very first one is a craft cola by Phillips Soda Works called Speed King.
Speed King and other Phillips Sodas are fairly widely available, often easy to find in specialty grocery stores like Choices, but also can be found in many bigger chains as well. Phillips starting brewing sodas in 2012, or at least starting releasing them in packaged product. They are committed to using more natural products, spices, cane sugar and avoiding the use of artificial colours and flavours in their products. Just like their craft beer, they’ve transferred those principals into their soda making. With four soda’s and four tonics (as well as Gin) on the market, I’ll be sure to review them all more thoroughly as I sample my latest purchases.
Aroma and Appearance: It pours a very dark brown colour with a fizzy, dissipating tan head and some fast rising bubbles that make an audible popping noise when they reach the top of the glass. The aroma is very kola nut focused, with nuances of molasses, black licorice and cloves that help round it out into a very pleasant smelling product.
Flavour: Up front there’s a good sense of ginger and clove spice in the syrupy start of the soda with hints of black pepper that are accentuated by the fizzy texture. Mid palate, the thick body is quite apparent and the kola nut presence is well fully established before it fades into a sharp fizzy finish that’s reminiscent of malty bonbons on the aftertaste.
Overall Impression: It’s a sweet beverage, but isn’t cloying and thankfully lacks any chemical flavours that show up in many large commercial soda’s. This is easily worth the $2.50 price tag and is way more satisfying than large commercial colas or the many faux specialty colas priced in a similar fashion.
Rating: I gave it an excellent rating of 8/10.
Food Pairing: Cola’s are great for cutting into fatty meals, serve this with a teriyaki chicken pizza or peppered bacon.
Be in the know by following them on Instagram for release information. They are also running a United Way giving campaign on the Vancouver Island and donating 25 cents per bottle sold. Time to stock up!