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Soda Selector: January 2022

Welcome back, soda sippers. Since I last wrote you, I broke my promise of an immediate follow-up issue, and I apologize for that. But what are you gonna do? Life happens. Soda helps, though. I have a small handful of new soda tries that I’ll share with you below.

My last trip to KC Soda Co. in the River Market was quite fruitful. One of my first picks was a can of 1919 root beer. I had remembered seeing it posted on the shop’s social media pages a couple different times when they received shipments, so I knew it was a hot commodity. I am here to confirm to you that it is indeed worth the hype. From the first sip, I knew it was near the top of my list of favorite root beers (a category you all know I don’t consider myself an expert or completely passionate connoisseur of). This root beer was perfectly frothy, made with real sugar and real vanilla. And yet another fine export from the state of Minnesota. Due to my fandom of the Northern Soda Company, I asked the shop owner why Minnesota is so good at soda and he enlightened me: beer country is most often soda country as well, seeing that both refreshments require similar equipment to manufacture. Quite the revelation for an idiot like me. I’ve seen that 1919 offers miniature kegs of its root beer and I would love to own one at some point. (Unrelated note: my birthday is January 5.)

Another Soda Co. grab was a Faygo Rock & Rye in a glass bottle. Rock & Rye rocks. It’s a vanilla cherry cream soda according to one web page I checked since there wasn’t much copy on the bottle itself and I was a bit unsure just from the taste. This would be a regular purchase for me if it were widely available, containing the perfect amount of sweet, syrupy-ness without going overboard. That same web page also likened it to a cocktail, so perhaps this would make a fun mixer if you need one.

In a rogue move, I ended up buying two root beers on my Soda Co. trip. This selection from Peace Tree Brewing Co. came at the recommendation of the shop owner. I’ll have to ask him next time what he enjoys about it. It’s not an awful root beer by any means, but it only barely surpasses America’s big three root beer brands. There is a slightly distinctive aftertaste that may come thanks to the beet sugar that is noted on the label, but this still doesn’t add much to the equation. No hate to this Knoxville, Iowa brand, but I should’ve known I may not be down for this one considering the hippie-style packaging.

One final soft drink for this month was found sitting in my fridge the other day. My roommate Jana had purchased a Pumpkin Spice Tonic (made by Orca Beverages) from the Halloween shelf at World Market a month ago and abandoned it before allowing me to crack it open myself. I worried the spice would be too overwhelming, but the drink’s creaminess gave it a solid amount of balance and made it surprisingly drinkable. Though it’s not simply a mixer beverage as I had predicted, this is still a seasonal drink for a reason. Fall was nice. We’ll all probably be freezing our asses off again by the time you’re reading this.

‘Til next time, cheers.


[This article first appeared in Issue 5 of Shuttlecock's free monthly print edition. Click here to order a copy online, or pick one up for free at locations around KC/Lawrence/JoCo.]  

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