Review: Fizzio Lemon Ale (Starbucks)

Jun 24

A tall Lemon Ale.

A tall Lemon Ale.

The third soda in the new Fizzio lineup is the Lemon Ale. While not as well-known a flavor as root beer or ginger ale, and not alcoholic as its name might imply (it’s an ale like ginger ale, not like actual ale), the Lemon Ale still makes a good third member to the trio. When I ordered it, the barista identified it as her favorite of the three offerings, and I can see why.

Like its soda siblings, this drink is not too calorie-laden (80 calories in a tall) and is made from concentrate and then freshly carbonated with the new and mysterious Fizzio carbonation machine. The result is a soda that is quite sweet, and not at all tart like one might expect from a lemony drink.

I expected this drink to basically taste like a carbonated lemonade, but there’s more to it than that. It seems to have more citrus flavors in it than just lemon — in fact, it reminded me a little bit of the Peach Green Tea Lemonade. It’s fruity and very tasty, while not hitting you over the head with lemon flavor. If you like the various tea lemonades at Starbucks, you’ll like this soda.

Bullet-pointed summary:

  • What: Fizzio Lemon Ale
  • Where: Starbucks
  • Options: Just the size
  • Verdict: A fruity, lemony soda that is much more on the sweet side than the tart side.

Check out all three Fizzio sodas:

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Review: Fizzio Golden Ginger Ale (Starbucks)

Jun 24

A tall Golden Ginger Ale.

A tall Golden Ginger Ale.

Along with the highly anticipated Spiced Root Beer, Starbucks’s new lineup of “handcrafted sodas” includes the Golden Ginger Ale.

I was pretty excited by this, because ginger ale is one of my favorite drinks. Not only does it help calm upset stomachs, it’s a nice flavorful drink option that’s reliably caffeine-free and pretty widely available. So I got one the first day the sodas became available to check it out.

I was not disappointed. The Golden Ginger Ale is very gingery, and while it’s sweet it’s not overwhelmingly sweet for a soda. I’d put it a little lower on the sweetness level than the root beer. It has a clean, crisp taste with no extra nonsense and a good level of carbonation. To be honest, it’s one of the better ginger ales I’ve had. Definitely worth getting if you want a nice refreshing soda (or pop, depending on your dialect).

Like the other sodas, the Ginger Ale is pretty reasonable calorie-wise (80 calories in a tall, 100 in a grande) and made without high fructose corn syrup. It’s made from concentrate and freshly carbonated while you wait. Or while you fidget impatiently, if you’re me.

Bullet-pointed summary:

  • What: Fizzio Golden Ginger Ale
  • Where: Starbucks
  • Options: Just the size
  • Verdict: An excellent, refreshing ginger ale.

Check out all three Fizzio sodas:

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Review: Fizzio Spiced Root Beer (Starbucks)

Jun 24

After all the speculation, the day is finally here — the summer drinks have arrived at Starbucks, and that means the fancy new carbonation machines have been fired up and the “handcrafted sodas” are available. I hit up my local Starbucks to taste all three of them. What can I say, I’m a giver.

A tall Spiced Root Beer.

A tall Spiced Root Beer.

The soda that caused the most anticipation among my friends is the Spiced Root Beer. So naturally, that’s the soda I tackled first. Made from concentrate and carbonated in the new machine, this drink is served nice and cold, and as bubbly as a regular fountain soda.

This is no regular fountain soda, though. It’s one of the sweetest root beers I’ve tasted in my long years of beverage addiction, and the “spiced” part definitely adds to the flavor. Aside from the usual spices in root beer, this one has what tastes like cloves and maybe some cinnamon or cardamom. It’s not as heavily spiced as the chai or Vanilla Spice Latte, but it’s definitely different from a regular root beer.

These sodas are made without high fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors, and calorie-wise they’re not too bad. You can get them from a tall (80 calories) to a trenta (210 calories) and since they’re being heavily promoted right now you can probably find coupons or “happy hours” to get them pretty cheaply. Depending on your taste in root beer, this one might be a little overly sweet for you, but it’s a great addition to the menu for people who’re not in the mood for coffee or tea.

Bullet-pointed summary:

  • What: Fizzio Spiced Root Beer
  • Where: Starbucks
  • Options: Just the size
  • Verdict: A sweet, moderately spiced root beer that really hits the spot.

Check out all three Fizzio sodas:

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Review: Natural Brew Chai Cola

May 25

As someone who’s addicted to tea drinks and loves a good soda, when I spotted a bottle of Chai Cola at my local zPizza I knew I had to try it.

Chai Cola

Natural Brew Chai Cola

This particular specimen is by Natural Brew, one of the many soda microwbreweries that’s popped up in the US in the last couple of decades. The ingredients list for the Chai Cola, as you can see here, includes mostly normal, pronounceable ingredients, along with the vague and mysterious “Natural Flavors”. I’m assuming that includes the chai spice flavor. No high fructose corn syrup, no caffeine other than the decaffeinated black tea — no decaffeination process is perfect.

The flavor is more chai than cola. If you handed to someone without telling them what it was, they would immediately identify it as some kind of chai soda. The cola flavor is much more subtle, but gives a little extra depth to the chai. The flavor would probably be more complex if the cola were caffeinated (caffeine is naturally bitter).

Overall, I really liked it. It’s tasty, not overwhelmingly sweet, and paired nicely with a pepperoni pizza. If you’re looking to try it for yourself, the Natural Brew website has a Store Locator, but it doesn’t seem to work so well. It didn’t find anywhere near my zip code selling it, even though I got mine just by walking down the street to a pizza joint. But keep your eyes open at any store or restaurant that has a cooler of “natural” or “alternative” sodas, and you might just find a bottle.

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