The Lab has visitors tonight. We are very lucky, in that we have made a bunch of really interesting friends (As it turns out, being a scientist/musician/historian/weird-soda-quaffing family tends to put you in contact with a variety of interesting people). One of our guests happens to be fond of a certain Weird soda which we have not yet reviewed--the Reed's family of ginger-based beverages. This friend (who shall be known as Gointotrance) was generous enough to bring some tonight, so we'll be reviewing the core of the family, the Reed's Original Ginger Brew.
Reed's has a reputation for being a strong ginger soda. Afficionados of Reeds typically view other ginger ales (e.g. Canada Dry, Schweppes) with amused contempt. Ginger is fine with me, and I'm fond of regular ginger ales, so I'm looking forward to the experience.
Where and when: Purchased December 2010 at Frazier Farms, Vista, CA
Color: Light brown, close--very close--to yellow. In fact, I'd call it yellow, but that's just me.
Gointotrance: "Probably from the honey? Pineapple juice and honey, that's certainly going to add to the yellow color. There's also lemon and lime juices."
Gointotrance: "Unlike my sodas, it's got very fine bubbles which have decided to cling to the bottom and sides. Look, the bubbles have congregated there like little see-through caviar eggs."
Scent: Fairly strong ginger, kind of lemony. Not all that sweet. The sour is strong, a touch of bitter.
Gointotrance: "You can smell the stickiness. Can something smell sticky? There's a kinesthetic-olfactory synaesthesia there."
This blog has just become quite a bit more credible by having that terminology appear, I think.
Taste: Hmm. Pretty tart, the lemon juice is prominent. The ginger has a strong but not overwhelming bite. It's sweet. There's complexity here, but I'm a little surprised that the ginger isn't stronger.
Gointotrance: "Put some on your tongue and let it sit there."
Ah. *pause* Yep. There's some sting.
Gointotrance: "Mind you, this is not the extra-strength one."
The sweetness doesn't come across in the smell, so it's a bit surprising. It's actually quite sweet, but not the corn-syrup sort--it's a more mellow sweetness. Not surprising, given the honey-pineapple sweetener.
The ginger is hitting me more now. Let's try the Kibbitzer on this.
K-i-C: "It's nice. It's probably the pineapple juice, but it's kind of like cider."
The cider is an interesting comment. I think I see what she's saying.
This is much more complex and interesting than I would have guessed.
Gointotrance, having his own carbonation setup, is looking into custom soda. He has an idea for a tomato-garlic-ginger-Worcestershire sauce carbonated beverage. The mind boggles. The stomach clenches. I can't wait. This is very exciting to me--what could be Weirder than that which emerges from the depths of personal Weirdness? What Weirdness lurks in the hearts of men?
The Quaffmaster will soon know!
Quaff rating: 3.5. Very nice to drink, and surprisingly complex. Quite a nice surprise.
Cough rating: 1.0. The ginger, while pleasant, produces some strong sensations.
Aftertaste update: the ginger lingers.
Gointotrance: "After you drink it, you know you've drunk it. The experience doesn't end as soon as you're done. For the next 40 minutes, you'll know you had this beverage."
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