Lorina French Berry Soda

My Experience:

While on a family trip to Hawaii (I know, I'm very lucky. :) we went to the grocery store to buy food for the week. I ran across several things at the local Safeway that I didn't expect to find. One of them is this French Berry Soda.

The first thing I noticed was the bottle. It had the same type of as the Effervé, with a rubber stopper permanently latched onto the top, which you can use to reseal the bottle. Genius, I love it! I actually kept the bottle of the Effervé so I can use it again in the future!

This not-quite-pink not-really-red drink smells like other Strawberry sodas I've had. It's finely carbonated, and the first thing that hit my tongue besides the (mostly straw) berry-ness was lemon, which gave it a good touch of acidity. There is the very very faintest woodenness to the taste. It's a very light drink for a soda.

It cut through some sweet foods we had quite well. Pairs well with strong foods, or anyting you'd normally eat with any kind of berry, like salads for example. It is very sweet like a soda, but more nuanced than most. It's crisp, clean, and I can see myself sipping this to cool off. The carbonation, though fine and producing small bubbles, is still strong.

6.5 out of 10

Works as a Wine Alternative: I'd say it works as a culinary beverage, but it's not wine-like at all.

Did I Like it: Yes! Definitely another "Table Drink"

Would I Recommend it: Only as a fancy soda, but as such, yes.

Who Might Like it: Soda lovers unite!

Safeway Select Sparkling Apple Pomegranate

My Experience:

We were on a family vacation in Hawaii and stopped by Safeway to get some food for the week. I found this drink, along with a bottle of Lorina French Berry Soda to try.

This would be a direct competitor to Kristian Regále's Sparkling Pomegranate Apple beverage. Let's see how it fares.

It has a dark red, plum color, and not a very strong smell. It doesn't have the steadily streaming bubbles I'm used to from Kristian Regále, and it does have a bit of a head. A very fine carbonation, and is very drinkable on its own. I can't taste anything other than Pomegranate and Apple, though that's not a bad thing. It was a good pairing with your average pizza, (though it didn't pair well with the peanut Thai pizza we tried) and it has just a touch of acid from some citrus extract.

Works as a wine Alternative: This one is very approachable, and still very much a juice, though one I wouldn't mind having often in the house.

Did I like it: I thought it was good, though not spectacular. 6 out of 10.

Would I Recommend it: In terms of trying to find wine alternatives, no I wouldn't really recommend this as a must try, but I like it enough to get more should I ever swing by Safeway again.

R.W. Knudsen's Sparkling Organic Apple

My Experience:

You know, whenever I see a set of something I'm interested in, I get excited. I love sets. So, every time I see R.W. Knudsen's sparkling juices I want to buy them all. This one changed that, at least a little...

It has very little carbonation, as with most of R.W. Knudsen's stuff, and in the glass it looks exactly like normal apple juice. Smells like apple juice, though it's not a very strong scent. It tastes just a little tart, pretty much exactly like you'd expect if you took apple juice and carbonated it. Much much milder than Martinelli's Sparkling Cider.

Works as a wine Alternative: Not really.

Did I like it: It's ok. A 5 or 6 out of 10. It's just very plain jane, expected, and done.

Would I Recommend it: If you love apple juice or drink it semi-regularly, give this a shot to change it up a little.

Who Might Like it: Maybe anyone who likes apple juice...

R.W. Knudsen's Sparkling Strawberry

My Experience:

Strawberry! Who doesn't love strawberry drinks? Like strawberry lemonade. Or strawberry rhubarb lemonade? Or... R.W. Knudsen's Sparkling Strawberry!

It's pretty transparent for a red juice, more a rouge color, and it has medium sized bubbles continuously moving to the top. The carbonation is relatively light. Smells of strawberries, and a hint of something else, maybe grape or apple. It's not that sweet, for a juice. It is not tart, like strawberry stuff often is. The taste definitely hints at the pineapple that is also in this, like in the cherry. It's mellow and easy going, and would probably drink well with lots of light or medium foods. My wife, who is also a strawberry lover in general, loves this. We had it with plain ol' spaghetti, which was a bit heavy for this drink, but otherwise an ok pairing. Canned spaghetti sauce tends to be very sweet, which helped this Strawberry drink because its sweetness didn't overwhelm some of the other flavors, like it might have, if we had this with something more savory like a roast or anything with gravy.

Works as a wine Alternative: Not really. You can drink it with anything, and it'd be ok, but I don't think it would pair particularly well, in terms of giving contrast or complementing a food, with anything.

Did I like it: I think it makes a wonderful cooler, I'd love to sip it with a straw out on the patio, but it doesn't really make for a great pairing with lots of foods. My wife disagrees. We will have to try it again soon for a second take. 7 out of 10.

Would I Recomend it: Not as an alternative, yes as a drink.

Who Might Like it: Juice lovers.

R.W. Knudsen's Sparkling Cherry

My Experience:

First off, its scent is very dark, very much like black (as opposed to normal) cherries. It's not as sparkling as Martinelli's (I'm learning that nothing is) and the carbonation was quite coarse. The acidity is higher than most sparkling juices I've tried, and the flavor is very strong. Of cherry, that is, though the plum juice that's also in the drink shows through a little. The acidity probably comes from the pineapple juice that's also in this blend. It's very sweet, though not as sweet as Martinelli's, similar to R.W.'s offering in pear but somewhat more tart, due to the cherries I'm assuming.

It's got a nip of sour in the finish. It could make a good every-day drink, (which I'm calling a Table Drink, as in a Table Wine.)

It reminds me a lot of the cherry kirsebærsauce sauce that goes with Ris a la mande.

This would be great for a cherry float with vanilla ice cream!

Works as a wine Alternative: Sure.

Did I like it: Yes, though nothing spectacular, 6 out of 10.

Would I Recommend it: Just like the Kristian Regále stuff, I've enjoyed trying all of these and comparing them. (Though these haven't been as good as the Kristian Regále stuff.)

Who Might Like it: You know, with all of these sparkling juices it's pretty straight forward. I'd recommend them to anyone who likes the fruit they are based on, or thinks they could find a good pairing.

Kristian Regále Sparkling Apple Juice

My Experience:

Here is the next in a series of Kristian Regále, look to the sidebar on the right to find the others.

Almost clear, it just has the tiniest yellow tint to it, lots of tiny bubbles adhere to the sides of the glass, and there is no foam on top. Pretty strong carbonation. It's definitely got a green apple taste to it, and is ever so slightly bitter due to the carbonation. I think it's sweeter than the peach, but it has a tangy, sour taste also. It's good, a little more acidic than most juices, just like all the other Kirstian Regále's we've tried. We had it with tilapia & pesto. It's actually a lot like a Green Apple Jolly Rancher, but not as sweet.

Works as a wine Alternative: It paired very well with the food, which is always a good sign, and I think it pairs well with lots of lighter meals.

Did I like it: Yes, 7 out of 10.

Would I Recommend it: Yes, and try it with a variety foods.

Who Might Like it: If you like sparkling ciders, this is a refreshing change.

Ikea & an Old Favorite

A while back we tried out something by Kristian Regále, Sparkling Pomegranate-Apple and I loved it. We actually found it at Walmart, and we recently went back to get more, but when we went down the juice aisle, there was a huge empty section where the Pomegranate had been, with only the plain ol' apple, as well as peach. While those were good, the Pomegranate had a particularly unique flavor. I hoped they were just out of stock, but now it's been a couple of months since I've seen it there. I gave up hope of finding a local source for the stuff.

Skip ahead a few weeks. We were buying one of our little ones a new mattress at Ikea, and after we checked out we found three huge stacks of bottles. Low and behold, they were all Kristian Regále! They had Pomegranate, Peach, Pear and, of course, Lingonberry. I bought one of each, expect new posts soon!

P.S. I think we'll be going back again soon, I'll make sure to snap a picture next time.