Cream soda is good.
Cherries are good.
Cherry cream sodas...well, it goes without saying.
Stewart's is not an extremely Weird soda brand, nor is it particularly rare. You can find varieties of Stewart's at a number of grocery stores; they have nice cream sodas, as well as grape, orange and cream and strawberries and cream varieties. However, the king--the creme de la creme, as it were--of Stewart's flavors must be the Cherries 'n Cream. I've had trouble finding that one; just as out of hundreds of thousands of pebbles, the one made of pure bacon is rare and precious, so also is the four-pack of Cherries 'n Cream a precious gem amongst lesser sodas.
The Kibbitzer-in-Chief informs me that she has, in fact, never found a bacon pebble. I think my point is made.
In any case, I was delighted to come across a pack of Stewart's Cherries 'n Cream at Frazier Farms. I'm coming to regard Frazier Farms as the grocery equivalent of the Norse god Loki. In a book of myths I read recently, Loki is described as the "doer of good and the doer of evil". Frazier Farms has provided Natural Brew Vanilla Cream Soda and Stewart's Cherries 'n Cream. It has also provided Biotta Digestive Drink.
Let's see if this Stewart's lives up to my fond, fond memories...and test its cherry goodness against the others we have recently quaffed.
Where and when: purchased June 2009 at Frazier Farms, Vista, CA
Color: red, but a deeper red than some. Ruby rather than scarlet.
Scent: A neutral cream, somewhere between the bitter of Natural Brew and the acid of A&W, but richer than Weinhardts or Faygo. As to the cherry, I'm intrigued. It's subtle.
Taste: Mmmmm, yep. That's good stuff.
There's a very interesting balance between the moderately deep, smooth vanilla cream and a tart, fruity cherry. The cherry flavor is quite sweet, with plenty of fruit in the initial taste. That is immediately followed by a surprising tartness, quite sour, similar to what you get in things which claim to be "black cherry" flavored. This cherry flavor is closer to the medicinal variety than the popsicle variety, but the usual medicinal bitterness is absent.
It's really nice.
It's probably worth noting that this is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup; I suspect cane sugar would improve it. The aftertaste is sour, which may come from that.
Quaff rating: 4.5 Quite yummy.
Cough rating: 0.5, just for the HFCS sourness.
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