Thus, it would behoove me to investigate the less energetically-enhanced varieties of Weird soda. In fact, one might even say that producing sweetness without sugar is inherently a Weirdness-enhancing endeavor. Doing so with an herb such as stevia (which we grow in the Lab backyard) is an odd thing, but we must not flinch from such a thing.
Stevia produces a very sweet taste, with an odd set of accompanying flavors. It always feels to me to have a certain amount of bitter undertone. Not enough to be unpleasant, but it can alter tastes. We've reviewed another offering from Zevia (one of the leading stevia soda canners), their Black Cherry flavor, which did well with the unique flavors of stevia. However, tonight we will put Zevia to the test. They have dared the highest peaks of sodadom, and released a cream soda.
|The Zevia cream soda, next to some fancy bread. Cause we're fancy folks.|
Readers of this blog will probably be aware of my love of cream sodas. "Passionate" would not be an excessively strong description. Can this stand up to the giants of cream? Let the tasting begin.
Where and when: Purchased at Whole Foods, Encinitas, CA, in July 2011.
Color: A moderately dark amber. Just a bit darker than a lager, and a tiny bit more orange than most urine.
Scent: Pretty clear vanilla cream, no hint of herbal or bitter. A typical sharper/sweet vanilla--the french vanilla, rather than bourbon vanilla, style.
Taste: The vanilla is quite strong, almost too much so. This is not a subtle cream soda; this vanilla steps up in a ten-gallon Stetson, says "Howdy", and sells you a used Ford. The stevia herbal flavor is all but buried. It does poke through a bit, like tall grass through rusted floorboards, but it's actually kind of nice with the vanilla. Lends a bit of interest to the low side of the taste. Could almost taste metallic, but doesn't.
As a strong french-vanilla style cream soda, this is actually pretty good. Not the best I've ever had, but not bad at all. I prefer it to most other stevia sodas I've had.
I pronounce this a worthy cream soda, of the slightly Weird variety.
Quaff rating: 3.5. I'm giving it a bonus for the interesting interaction between the vanilla and stevia.
Cough rating: 0.5; almost overpoweringly sweet.
*I'm sure that the occasional** visits to Jack-In-The-Box have NOTHING to do with it.
**The word "occasional" is not, in this case, meant to be taken as a statement of fact.