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9 Articles

Pepsi True

When new sodas come to market, especially brand extensions for Pepsi and Coke’s colas, I’ll do just about anything to get my hands on it. I more or less live off colas, diet colas in particular. It’s a 2-liter a day habit that I’m not proud of, but it is what it is. Don’t judge me.

Pepsi True sneaked up on me. The last I had heard about it Read More →

Surge Is Back!

Surge was unquestionably my favorite soft drink as a teenager in the 90s. I lived for it. It was a 2-liter-a-day-plus-a-can-at-lunch kind of addiction. You can imagine my shock and horror when Coca-Cola pulled it from the shelves in 2001. I was diagnosed with depression in 2002, and I’m not sure Coke wasn’t to blame.

I kid of course. But not by much. For me Surge represents Read More →

Caffeine Free Coke Zero

On my weekly trip to CVS, I found liquid manna from Heaven. Caffeine Free Coke Zero was displayed in pyramid fashion upon a shelf in the middle of the store and I knew God was real. I suffer from what you may call a sugar/caffeine sensitivity than can only be described as an off-the-wall, borderline psychotic, extreme hyperness that could potentially warrant a YouTube video that would quickly attract the attention of doctors everywhere. Are you getting my point?

I was obviously very excited when I found a soda without sugar or caffeine because who doesn’t enjoy a nice cold soda on a hot summer afternoon? The flavors are great. I can’t tell that the sugar is MIA.  If you’re looking for a pick-me-up, I wouldn’t count on Coke this time around. But if you’re looking for a crisp beverage to nurse down while you are watching the game, you can’t go wrong. And hey, if you’ve caught Coke’s latest Taylor Swift commercial you can sing about dressing up like hipsters and making fun of your exes while you’re at it.

The flavor is full and the bubbles are plentiful.  Drink on my friends. “Yea!”

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-Kat Graham

Coke Life

Not a review, but a rather exciting preview this evening. Coca-Cola is doing a market test of a new extension of their line of colas dubbed Coke ‘Life’ in Argentina. Coke Life is going to be a mid-calorie beverage (much like Pepsi Next), but it’s signature feature is that it will be sweetened with a combination of sugar (or corn syrup in the USA), and stevia.

Stevia has been referred to as ‘unusable’ in colas by the folks at Pepsi, so I’m absolutely dying to know what Coke’s chemists have come up with. It appears that Coke Life will be marketed as an ‘all natural’ product, and will be very desirable to women, yuppies, and hipsters all the same while retaining the known and loved Coca-Cola flavor.

As an added bonus for the latter two categories of consumers, the bottle will be one hundred percent recyclable, and at least thirty percent biodegradable. This is accomplished by some convoluted process of turning veggies in to plastic; a process I’m not nearly smart enough to try to explain. But hey, if it saves a whale or two, more power to them.

I’ll have a real review out to you as soon as possible. I’m a bit worried as I’ve read stevia can cause ‘anal leakage,’ but I’ve always been willing to throw myself under the proverbial bus for my faithful readers. Coke Life will be no different. Stay tuned!!!

-Jeremy Hobbs

A&W Ten

A&W Ten is the last Ten series soda review, at least until the Dr. Pepper-Snapple group decides to Ten-ify some of the other flavors in their portfolio. Personally I would love to try a Sun Drop Ten. But that is neither here nor there, you came here to read about low calorie root beer.

It is rather yummy. A&W Ten is right there with Dr. Pepper Ten in terms of quality, and may be the most true to the original flavor of the whole line. I really was not able to taste anything chemical-y in the after taste, and the flavor was plenty sweet. A&W Ten puts its ten calories to wonderful use.

A&W Ten will definitely be the root beer of choice in our household. It is greatly superior to other diet versions on the market, and with no real drop in flavor from the full calorie version, we will be glad to sacrifice all of those extra calories. Very much a win-win situation.  If you click the link below and browse the other Ten articles, you’ll find hits and misses. A&W Ten is a home run. So, as you have probably have guessed, this is going in to the ‘Yea!’ column.

Official Site

-Jeremy Hobbs

Read About Other ‘Ten’ Sodas

Sunkist Ten

Orange sodas are by far the easiest soda to replicate in diet form, at least in my opinion. The citrus-y bite masks the after taste of artificial sweeteners really well. When I have friends which are about to embark on a dieting adventure ask me which diet beverages are easiest to stomach, I without fail point them to something fruity. Now I can point them to Sunkist Ten, the best tasting diet orange soda I can remember sampling in a long time. Maybe ever.

The initial taste is very crisp, and completely masks the fact that this is a reduced calorie beverage. It tastes almost exactly like its full-calorie big brother. Of course, you’re going to get a bit of an aftertaste after swallowing, but it is much less pronounced than Diet Sunkist, and its other contemporaries.

So far the Ten series of sodas have been hit or miss, and the Sunkist variety is a home-run. It’s a great summer time beverage, perfect for packing in the cooler and heading out to the lake with. Or just relax with one over ice by the pool. Also, as with most fruity sodas, Sunkist Ten can make for a yummy low-carb adult beverage when combined with a decent vodka or white rum. I give it a ‘Yea!’ all the way around.

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-Jeremy Hobbs

Read About Other ‘Ten’ Sodas

Mountain Dew Throwback

Yesterday we had some Pepsi Throwback, and as promised, today we’re going to kick it old school with Mountain Dew Throwback. Refresher, for those that do not know, the two ‘Throwback’ sodas are supposed to represent the original formulations of Pepsi Cola and Mountain Dew. In a time when milk was delivered to your door, when there was an evening paper, and you had more fingers than television stations, soft drinks were sweetened with REAL sugar, not high fructose corn syrup.

Today, corn syrup is much cheaper, and very few people can tell the difference. Coke ‘Classic’ really isn’t ‘classic’ at all; the original formula was based on sugar (and still is in other parts of the world). Pepsi’s story is the same. As well as Mountain Dew. I’ve tried the colas, and they’re okay, but the Dew is the one that really benefits from natural sugar.

Pepsi Throwback was smoother…. Mountain Dew Throwback is smoooooth. The stuff just glides down your throat, with none of the sticky residue that I’m used to from ‘regular’ Mountain Dew. The carbonation has been toned down a bit too, and while it takes a bit away from it’s ‘extreme’ image, it significantly adds to it’s drink-ability. You have to love the old school label as well; that’s just slick!

Mountain Dew Throwback is a must try for any soda connoisseur. Feel free to check around for more consumer reviews, you don’t have to take my word for it. But I feel that it’s a definite must try. ‘Yea!’

Official Site

–Jeremy Hobbs

Pepsi Throwback

Not only do I write consumer reviews, I read them as well. Especially soda & soft drink news and reviews; it’s just an industry I’ve enjoyed following for a long time. There are lots of little cliques of people too; small mom & pop companies vs. the Big Two, Pepsi vs. Coke, and sugar vs. high fructose corn syrup. That natural sugar debate has always intrigued me, as I’ve rarely been able to obtain access to a steady supply of beverages that have been sweetened that way. An occasional Latin beverage, but nothing made by Coke or Pepsi.

Pepsi apparently took notice of this clique of consumers, and released a couple of new beverages just for them. Mountain Dew Throwback, which I’ll review later, and what I have now, Pepsi Throwback.

Pepsi Throwback generally tastes like regular Pepsi, the only things that I noticed was that it was a bit less sweet, and slightly less carbonated. ‘Mouth feel’ is somewhat cleaner and less sticky. Naturally, all those combined make it significantly smoother.

To be perfectly honest, the only reason that I would consider picking this up over corn syrup Pepsi is that I think sugar is healthier for you. Rather, both are bad, but I’m of the belief that pure sugar is the lesser of two evils.

Pepsi is saying this is no longer a limited time product, and has been added to their cola portfolio permanently, but I’m not sure I believe them. My gut tells me that there are not enough people that truly care about the differences, and certainly not enough to keep a spinoff brand profitable. If you like it (it certainly isn’t bad) I’d stock up. Meh.

Official Site

–Jeremy Hobbs

Sodastream Soda Maker

It is no state secret that I am hopelessly addicted to soda. I swear I’d go into withdrawal within hours if I was left without a source of that sweet nectar. The feel of the bubbles tickling my nose, the beautiful sound that the bottle makes when being opened, the slight jolt from the caffeine; all wonderful traits of soda that I refuse to live without.

Now you can create these bubbly concoctions in your own home. For a few years now, I’ve had the fantasy of owning my very own soda fountain. That idea is completely impractical; the initial cost would be enormous, and it would take years to recoup your investment. Not to mention space constraints, upkeep costs, and the operational learning curve involved with working on a piece of machinery like that. Sodastream drink maker eliminates all of those problems, and offers a line of ‘mini fountains’ at affordable prices.

No larger than a large coffee maker, the Sodastream will make sparkling beverages for you one liter at a time. The kit arrives with the ‘chassis’ that holds everything together, two one-liter extra-strength reusable PET plastic bottles, a gas canister, and some syrup (amount/type depends on what you order). Set up was fairly straight forward, but I do recommend browsing the instructions before trying to put things together. After everything is assembled, the Sodastream operates at the push of a button; just screw on the bottle of (cold!) water, and you’re good to go. The instructions say to give the button 3 presses for ‘average’ fizziness, but I wasn’t satisfied with anything less than 4 ‘shots.’ Then you add the syrup slowly, cap it, give the bottle a very gentle shake, and then you can start sipping.

The syrup I’ve sampled thus far I’ve enjoyed. Calorie wise, even the ‘regular’ versions have around half the sugar as the major brands, and the flavor doesn’t suffer for it  all that much. The ‘cola’ had a bit of a ‘store brand’ thing going on, but it was still more than drinkable. There are a large variety of flavors, sweetened and diet, as well as an energy drink blend, and a line of extracts that help you create flavored sparkling-water.

One idea that the folks at Sodastream seem to be pushing is Earth friendliness. The idea is sound; by using this machine along with the reusable bottles, you’re going to help eliminate excess waste, thus helping the environment. Very noble ideal.

Packages start at $79.99, and I think it’s useful enough that you’ll at least get your money back out of it. The Sodastream is a bit of a novelty, and I’m certainly not going to give up the name brands for good, but I love having it around. Recommended if you’re a soda enthusiast such as myself. ‘Yea!’

Official Site

–Jeremy Hobbs