By David G. Firestone
I don’t want to comment on the big news story today. I don’t want to discuss it, or even think about it. I’m tired of thinking about it. I’m tired of hearing about it. The only thing I care about it is that by this time tomorrow, it will be over! I’m sick of all the bullshit surrounding it, and I want it to end.
This ends a really good week. First off, THE CHICAGO CUBS WON THE WORLD SERIES! Wow! That felt great! Let me do it again! THE CHICAGO CUBS WON THE WORLD SERIES! That was on Thursday, and I’m still not sure this isn’t a dream of some kind. I’m not the biggest baseball fan in the world, but I do love Chicago! I love when Chicago wins any kind of sports championship, and the Cubs was extra special because many fans felt like it would never happen.
On Sunday, the rain delay allowed me to get a lot of work done for 2017. I finished my schedules, uploaded all of my videos and linked them to the blog, got some of my Wheel Reviews and NASCAR Book Club articles done, and I finished all of my Throwback Thursday articles. Then, my family and I went to Dave’s New Kitchen. In April, I mourned the loss of Dave’s Italian Kitchen, which had been an Evanston institution, and the first restaurant I had ever been to. Well, Dave’s New Kitchen opened in June, and we went there on Sunday, and the food is great.
So instead of doing an article on the big news story, I’m going to post some ginger ale reviews I did on Facebook in 2011.
Grown Up Soda-Extra Dry Ginger Ale-A Review
By David G. Firestone
As a ginger ale lover, I saw this product and I thought it looked good. It is billed as “lightly sweetened, with a mild ginger flavor.” It is also all natural, which is a plus when it comes to ginger ale. The all-natural ginger ales, are far superior to “name brand” ginger ale. The company, Grown Up Sodas, makes a series of sodas with “grown up” flavors, like Meyer lemon, dry cranberry lime, and dry cola. In addition to being stand-alone sodas, they are billed as being useful in mixers.
Upon first looking at the product, it does look light, and it does look good. The label is very well designed, and has a very nice picture of ginger on the label. There is also some information about ginger on the label as well. The appearance of the ginger ale itself is almost like a cross between tonic water and ginger ale, it has a very light appearance. It looks like a variation of 7up more than it looks like ginger ale.
Each 12 ounce bottle has 90 calories, 22 grams of carbs, 22 mg of sugars, and is very low sodium, with 10mg of sodium per serving. Canada Dry has 90 calories, 25 grams of carbs, 24 grams of sugars, and 35mg of sodium per serving, and Schweppes has 80 calories, 23 grams of carbs, 22 grams of sugars, and 40 mg of sodium per serving…and that is for an 8 oz as opposed to a 12 oz serving. Just for the sake of completeness, my preferred ginger ale Reed’s Extra Ginger Brew has 145 calories, 37.4 grams of carbs, 37.5 grams of sugars, and 5mg per 12 oz serving. The Grown Up Soda ginger ale has the advantage of health, and a light appearance on its side as opposed to the very well-known brands.
What disadvantage does Grown Up Soda-Extra Dry Ginger Ale has against the big boys? Quite simply…the taste. This is, without a doubt the worst ginger ale I have ever tasted in my life. Even diet ginger ale, which I never ever drink is better. At least with Canada Dry, Schweppes and Seagram’s, the sodas taste…well like ginger ale. There is no ginger flavor in this soda whatsoever. In fact, I would call it more of a lightly sweetened tonic water, as opposed to ginger ale. I’m not asking for a lot, but when I drink something that is advertised as “ginger ale” and it has a picture of ginger on the side of the bottle, I would like it to taste like ginger. As the label suggests this is dry…extra dry…and flavorless. The word “bland” does not go far enough to describe this product. It is a step above tonic water. The only good things I can say about the taste is that it is lightly carbonated and has no bitter aftertaste, but that can’t help the total lack of ginger flavor.
This product might be good as a mixer, but I just don’t think so. If I make a mixer with ginger ale, because the ginger ale enhances the flavor of the drink…if there is no ginger flavor, why would I bother. If you want a good ginger ale for a mixer, use Goose Island Craft Spicy Ginger. Goose Island works very well in this respect. It has some potential for use when you are not feeling well, and you need something to calm your stomach…but other than that I see no useful use for this product as a soda.
While there maybe other good sodas in the Grown Up Soda line of drinks, the Extra Dry Ginger Ale is not a great introduction to the soda line. If this is how little flavor that the ginger ale has, how little flavor do the other sodas they make have? Does Meyer Lemon taste like lemons? Does Cranberry Lime taste like cranberry and lime? Or are they the same disappointment as the ginger ale they make. I’m going to, at some point try another one of the flavors, but my verdict on the ginger ale is clear, and the grade is in: F. Too many flaws and too little flavor to make this product worthwhile.
Goose Island Spicy Ginger Soda-A Review
By David G. Firestone
On a whim, I tried this product as a ginger ale lover. Being billed as “spicy ginger flavor” and made with cane sugar perked my interest. Prior to this, I didn’t know that Goose Island, a local brewery in Chicago made craft sodas. I’m not really a craft soda person, but I am a ginger ale person, so I bought a 4 pack and gave it a shot.
The appearance of the soda is very attractive. It looks like a darker version of ginger ale, almost a ginger beer. It is partially opaque, and the color is a light-caramel. The box the 4-pack came in has a number of pictures of ginger on the front, and is very attention getting.
Each 12 ounce bottle has 180 calories, 46 grams of carbs, 43 grams of sugars, and has 30mg of sodium per serving. Canada Dry has 90 calories, 25 grams of carbs, 24 grams of sugars, and 35mg of sodium per serving, and Schweppes has 80 calories, 23 grams of carbs, 22 grams of sugars, and 40 mg of sodium per serving…and that is for an 8 oz as opposed to a 12 oz serving. Just for the sake of completeness, my preferred ginger ale Reed’s Extra Ginger Brew has 145 calories, 37.4 grams of carbs, 37.5 grams of sugars, and 5mg per 12 oz serving. While not as healthy as the big name brands, it does look appetizing from the package.
The flavor is pretty good, not great. The main problem with this soda is that the cane sugar flavor has too much of a presence in the overall taste. The ginger flavor is present and really good, and has a nice spicy kick to it, though it could be a tad stronger. I don’t typically like sodas where the sweetener has a noticeable presence in the overall taste. The aftertaste is really good, and the light carbonation has a pleasant affect on the soda.
What it lacks as a soda, it more than makes up for in a mixer. Any drink that can be made with say Canada Dry ginger ale, or Seagram’s ginger ale, can be improved using Goose Island Spicy Ginger. The soda’s texture and light carbonation work very well with alcoholic drinks, or with non-alcoholic drinks. This soda works very well with a whiskey drink, or a vodka drink when used as a mixer. If you want to make a fruit punch for non-alcoholics or children, I would avoid this product, as it is a tad more expensive, and has more sugars than Canada Dry.
This is a great introduction to the Goose Island soda line, and while the cane sugar has some detrimental effects on the overall flavor, it is still good and I have tried some of the other sodas in the Goose Island Craft Soda line. If the cane sugar flavor was reduced, I would buy it all the time, as it is a really good product. The verdict is in, and the final grade: B+. It is good, but needs some work.
Reeds Extra Ginger Brew-A Review
By David G. Firestone
After seeing this product on an episode of Modern Marvels, I was intrigued to say the least. This is not cooperate made soda made from a chemical syrup like the big boys, this is brewed the old-fashioned way, with real ginger in equipment that is typically used to brew beer. This product is all-natural and is made using fruit and honey as sweeteners, and it has a very-light carbonation, so I bought a 4-pack.
The appearance of Reed’s is very good. It is clear, but has a yellowish tint, more like beer than ginger ale as made by the big boys. It is very lightly carbonated. The label is very attention getting, with a picture of a tropical island, with the ingredients listed just below the main logo, on a red-yellow-red gradient. The red bottle cap is attractive as well. It is a very attractive product in a very well-designed package.
Each 12 ounce bottle has Reed’s Extra Ginger Brew has 145 calories, 37.4 grams of carbs, 37.5 grams of sugars, and 5mg of sodium per 12 oz serving. Canada Dry has 90 calories, 25 grams of carbs, 24 grams of sugars, and 35mg of sodium per serving, and Schweppes has 80 calories, 23 grams of carbs, 22 grams of sugars, and 40 mg of sodium per serving…and that is for an 8 oz as opposed to a 12 oz serving. Reed’s Extra Ginger Brew has 145 calories, 37.4 grams of carbs, 37.5 grams of sugars, and 5mg per 12 oz serving. While not as healthy as the big name brands, it does look appetizing from the package. The very low sodium is also an added bonus.
How does it taste? Perfect! Reed’s Extra Ginger Brew is made with, in addition to 26 grams of ginger root per bottle, lime, lemon, honey, pineapple, herbs and spices, and some fructose. These come together to produce a flavor that is second to none. This product has the taste of the lemon, lime, and pineapple, but these flavors are subtle compared to the kick of the ginger which is amazing. The Extra Ginger Brew has 26 grams of ginger root per bottle, as opposed to Reed’s Original Ginger Brew, and Premium Ginger Brew (both of which are amazing but pale in comparison to Extra Ginger Brew) which have 17 grams of ginger per bottle. This soda is what ginger ale should be!
This product makes a great mixer as well. If you mix 2 ounces of dark rum, with 4 ounces of Reed’s Extra Ginger Brew, you will get a cocktail called a Dark ‘N’ Stormy which is very popular in many colonies past and present of the British Commonwealth. This has to be tasted to believed, and any recipe that required ginger ale will be greatly improved with Reed’s Extra Ginger Brew.
Reed’s also, in addition to ginger ginger brew, also makes apple cider, ginger candy, ginger ice cream, Virgil’s Root Beer, China Cola, Reeds Energy Elixir-an all natural energy drink, and Reed’s Natural Ginger Nausea Relief-used for seasickness. While I haven’t tried the energy drink, ice cream, or candy, the sodas are above and beyond good. Awesome does not go far enough to describe this product. It is perfection in a green bottle, with an awesome label. The verdict is in and the final grade:A Don’t ever change this product!