Wednesday, November 08, 2006

POP OF THE DAY: A.J. Stephans Wild Strawberry

Category: Ye Olde Soda
Ratings (out of 5)
Taste: 4
Fizziness Factor: 5
Bottle/Can Design: 4
Availability: 2

Tasting Notes: Based in Cape Porpoise, Maine, the A.J. Stephans Co. uses "Pure Carbonated New England Water" to make a line of what it calls "tonics," thereby suggesting that yesterday's pop vs. soda vs. Coke debate should have at least one more entrant. This is pretty much all I can tell you about ol' A.J., since the company appears so devoted to its old-timey image that it has no website. As for Wild Strawberry, it's quite tasty. In my experience, strawberry soda can fall into two traps: flatness and sweetness. A.J. Stephans deftly avoids the first—the French might call it a fizzy fraise—but gets a few toes caught in the second. I would've preferred a little less cane sugar and a little more bite in the finish. Still, drinking this cheerfully red tonic with its simple, text-based label made me think of a sun-dappled autumn afternoon spent strolling though a country store that sells maple candy, apple cider, and bricks of cedar to keep the moths away. (Total Score 15/20)

Suggested Food Pairings: Salt and pepper potato chips, shepherd's pie


Anonymous said...

In my poor, plebian taste, I cannot think of a single softdrink that would not go with Shepherd's pie. And yet, I can immediately picture having a sip of strawberry tonic wshing down a mouthful of gravy infused shepherd's pie. An excellent suggestion, unless one has diabetes. But of course, a diabetic wouldn't drink a normal soda/pop/coke/tonic.

Perhaps you should do an item about the best diet beverages? Just a suggestion.

Chris said...

I am working on it, although since I have a strict policy of not drinking diet, I am trying to find the perfect guest sodaphile to file a report for me. Any suggestions?

Tor said...

I believe I know the perfect diabetic with an amazing diabetic palate. Unfortunately, he lives in New Jersey, and hence, we cannot completely trust that his palate has not been corrupted by Hoboken water pipes.

However, there may be another diabetic dude in Southern California whom you could probably trust. He comes from a long line of diet beverage testers. I shall foward you his name and email address forthwith in private.