Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Zevia Root Beer

The new Zevia came yesterday (thanks Ian!). After chilling a can of the Natural Root Beer flavor (because who on earth likes warm soda?), I have a totally new stance on Zevia soda: It rocks!

Remember my review of Hansen’s Diet Root Beer soda? I gave it a thumbs up, even though it took me drinking an entire 6-pack (not all in one day, LOL) before I got used to the different taste. Not knocking Hansen's (because it's still a decent soda brand), but Zevia Natural Root Beer is delicious. From the very first sip, I was digging the flavor. Which I wasn’t really expecting, since (even though I hate to admit this) my taste buds prefer Splenda over Stevia for certain food products, so I assumed Hansen’s Splenda soda would fare better than Zevia’s Stevia soda in the taste department.

Unlike that older flavor I had first (unwittingly) tried, the newer Zevia Natural Root Beer flavor is smooth—like the big league brands, but without the poisonous chemicals. And it has just enough bite from the natural anise seed and ginger root extracts to give that ooh-la-la tingle, but not so much that you’re left with a bitter aftertaste.

I need to go tell that store owner who sold me the older Zevia soda to stock up on the newer flavors. Or, better yet, I need to ask Trader Joe’s (my favorite grocery store) to start carrying Zevia. Why shop at two stores if I don’t have to?

A downside of Zevia is its cost. A 6-pack is currently priced at $5.99. Compare this with Hansen’s price of $2.69 and it can cause some sticker shock. Those of you who drink the conventional soda brands (Pepsi, Coke, Dr. Pepper, etc.) are probably scoffing at both prices, am I right? I did, too, until I bought my first natural soda and realized how much less I drink the stuff.

I swear, there is something mighty addictive in those conventional sodas. Downing a 2-liter of Diet Wild Cherry Pepsi a day is easy as pie for me. I just keep craving more and more of the stuff. But switching to a more natural soda, I find myself enjoying a few sips and then storing the rest of the can in the fridge for later (or for even the next day). What an amazing difference! Instead of feeling like my usual diet soda addict self, I feel in control. And so, while the natural soda may cost more per ounce, I’m actually saving money each week.

As you can see from the photo, the Zevia company was nice enough to give me a case of all six flavors, plus a thermos lunch tote and a t-shirt. (The t-shirt was made in the USA. Cool!) I’ll be testing out all 6 flavors, so stay tuned for more Zevia soda reviews.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Zevia Natural Ginger Root Beer Stevia Soda

Note: This is a review on the older flavor of Zevia root beer. To read about the newer flavor, go to this Zevia review post.

This zero-calorie diet Ginger Root Beer from Zevia did not dazzle my taste buds. (And Food Meister really, really wanted it to go down smoothly!) Since first hearing about Zevia, the diet soda sweetened with stevia, I was ecstatic with hope. Liquid stevia is my favorite natural sweetener to use in tea, coffee, and baked goods. So it makes sense that stevia would fare just as well in soda, right?

Apparently, good sense has gone fishing on this one. Where did Zevia Natural Ginger Root Beer stevia soda go wrong? Although it passed the sniff test, the diet soda sorely bombed during the taste test. There is a spicy, sharp undertone that doesn’t sit well with me.

The best way to describe this flavor … Have you ever eaten one of those jelly gumdrops, the kind with the granular sugar coating? This diet soda tastes like the red gumdrop flavor. But (and this is a mighty big but) this drink has the same dentist-inspired aftertaste as Hansen’s Pomegranate diet soda. I will say, though, that it's a step above the carbonated pomegranate in the taste department.

And speaking of carbonation, I use that term loosely here. While the flavor has a sharp bite to it, most certainly from the ginger, I couldn’t say the same for its fizzy attributes. The Zevia soda went near-flat within a few hours of opening, even though I took my initial sips and then promptly covered the top with a plastic baggie sealed by a rubber band. I do this all the time with Hansen’s diet sodas and those opened cans last a good day or two before starting to fizz out on me.

Sadly, Zevia’s Ginger Root Beer Diet Soda will not be replacing my usual Hansen’s Diet Root Beer Soda anytime soon. Perhaps I’ll try a different Zevia soda flavor in the future, but at $5.99 for a six-pack, it’s not quite on my short-list of things-to-do. Ole’ Food Meister’s quest for a suitable Splenda soda replacement will just have to wait.