Derek Neuland (496 reviews)

After 4 years, 6 cavities, and 2 pulled teeth, Derek has decided to hang up the bottle opener. You can keep up with his (mostly) sugar-free writing and photography at derekneuland.com.

Ramune Orange Flavor

Ramune Orange Flavor

The weird things I think about when reviewing a drink at 5:30am:

-There's probably somebody in the world who is afraid of Ramune. Whether it's the sound of the marble popping or the marble inside the bottle or the weird shaped bottle, I'm sure this is true for someone.

-I wonder if there are multiple people. I wonder if they have a support group on some rarely visited Yahoo group message board.

- I wonder if they would be more terrified of this "orange" flavor because it doesn't taste much like orange. It's probably the weakest orange flavored soda I've ever had.

- I wonder if there's someone writing a thesis on "nonsensical ramblings written on the internet with no logical reason behind them". If so, I think this website would be a goldmine for them.

Country
Japan
Sweetener
Sugar
Categories
Soda Pop
Rating
3/5
Reviewed By
Derek Neuland on October 24th, 2013
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Turkey Hill Diet Iced Tea

Turkey Hill Diet Iced Tea

There is a place called Turkey Hill. This is a magical place where iced tea flows like water. I'm not making that up, it literally does. On the hill are spouts hidden in the woods with different flavors of iced tea. They are natural springs of iced tea, the only place in the world where this exists.

The only known side affect from Turkey Hill's iced tea springs is cavities. In fact, 93% of the population has dentures due to this. This figure was from 1962, and luckily that number has dropped to 91%. Why the 2% drop over 52 years? In 1972 some kids were wandering behind the train tracks that border the hill. Not many people have gone back there over the years due to the train yard workers being jerks. Anyways, these kids were in the woods and stumbled upon an iced tea spout that wasn't on the official city map. They tasted and it wasn't as sweet as the iced tea they grew up with.

The reason was this had aspartame in it instead of sugar. It didn't taste as good to them, but they had heard about how aspartame doesn't cause as many cavities so they told the whole town about it. Of course, as you can see by the statistics, only 2% of the population decided to start drinking the "diet iced tea" as they called it. Studies have shown that people who can't consume sugar like it, but otherwise it leaves a lot to be desired.

Website
http://turkeyhill.com/
Country
United States
Sweetener
Aspartame
Categories
Diet, Iced Tea
Rating
2/5
Reviewed By
Derek Neuland on October 21st, 2013
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Central Coast Brewing Old Fashioned Root Beer

Central Coast Brewing Old Fashioned Root Beer

I'm on tour right now and the band I'm with just played at Slo Brew in San Luis Obispo, CA with Titus Andronicus. People got us excited about this venue because it's also a restaurant and they feed all bands that play here. All the band members were asked what they wanted but they didn't think to ask me, the merch guy.

Then my good friend Max Gregor came to the rescue and bought me a slice of pizza and this huge bottle of root beer. I was totally surprised and it made my night. The pizza was as good as I was going to get in California, but the root beer was pretty decent. It's a local brewing company and you can tell this isn't their first batch of root beer. It has a nice sweetness, but not too sweet. It's a very "safe" root beer and would be a good introductory to someone new to root beer outside of Barqs and Dad's.

Website
http://www.centralcoastbrewing.com/
Country
United States
Sweetener
Not Listed
Categories
Root Beer, Soda Pop
Rating
3/5
Reviewed By
Derek Neuland on September 11th, 2013
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Toronja Sol Grapefruit Soda

Toronja Sol Grapefruit Soda

I am currently on tour in California and found this at a cafe in Goleta. I love grapefruit soda so I jump at the opportunity to try new kinds anytime I can. The more sour the better. If a soda can make my mouth pucker, it's an almost guaranteed 4-bottle rating.

Is this a mouth puckering soda? Sadly no. It's moderately sour, but nothing too special. It's a decent grapefruit soda, definitely better than most.

Country
United States
Sweetener
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Categories
Soda Pop
Rating
3/5
Reviewed By
Derek Neuland on August 26th, 2013
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Arizona AZ Energy Half and Half

Arizona  AZ Energy Half and Half

Grab any kid who went to basement shows in Buffalo from 1999-2003 and ask them what their favorite drink from Frank's Mobil was at that time. You will probably here one of two things: Fikes Iced Tea or Arizona Arnold Palmer tall boy. The latter is what we'll be focusing on today. Granted I don't drink them as often now, but I would easily drink 1-2 a day back then. The lemonade and iced tea just mixed perfectly together for those sweaty basement show nights.

Given my love for Arnold Palmer's and my willingness to try any energy drink, you can imagine my excitement when I found this at a grocery store near Cincinnati. Good news for energy drink haters, it doesn't taste like an energy drink. In fact, I can only taste the lemonade and iced tea. And just like the original, it is delicious! While it's not the greatest half and half I’ve had, this is one of the best energy drinks I’ve had so far.

Keep up the good work Arizona! I'd love to see more flavors of this.

Website
http://drinkarizona.com
Country
United States
Sweetener
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Categories
Energy Drink, Iced Tea, Lemonade
Rating
4/5
Reviewed By
Derek Neuland on August 7th, 2013
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Ale-8-One Diet Ginger Ale

Ale-8-One Diet Ginger Ale

I recently spent a week in Kentucky. I know that sentence sounds weird, but it's true. A good friend lives there and I have never spent much time in Kentucky so I decided to go. Little did I know that Ale 8 One is a staple of Kentucky and it was everywhere. By everywhere I mean you could purchase it at more places than you can in Buffalo. We had already reviewed the original so I took my hand at the diet. I should have known by my friend's reaction when I picked up the bottle at the grocery store that this wasn't going to be good.

She was right. It was pretty gross. Even for a diet soda it was bad. So bad that I got 3 sips in and had to dump the rest. Sorry Kentucky, I don't like your diet soda.

Website
http://www.ale8one.com
Country
United States
Sweetener
Sucralose
Categories
Diet, Ginger, Soda Pop
Rating
1/5
Reviewed By
Derek Neuland on August 7th, 2013
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Starbucks Refreshers Valencia Orange

Starbucks Refreshers Valencia Orange

I've come to really love the fresh made refreshers at Starbucks. It's still one step below a juice bar, but so far they have been consistently good. Take this Valencia Orange one I recently had. I was expecting it to be just a simple orange drink, but it blew my mind. It was more tart that lemonade usually is. It almost had a kumquat taste to it. The orange flavor really popped as well, and wasn't masked by the tartness.

Straight from the Starbucks website, this is what they have to say about its ingredients: "Three varietals of orange combined with floral and fruity notes from orange peel, cardamom, jasmine and apricot lightly caffeinated with Green Coffee Extract, served over ice." I love the green coffee extract, it gives it a little kick without be overbearing. I know they sell packets of these at Starbuck locations but I fear they won't be as good as the fresh made drinks.

Website
http://www.starbucks.com
Country
United States
Sweetener
Not Listed
Categories
Coffee, Juice
Rating
4/5
Reviewed By
Derek Neuland on July 23rd, 2013
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Buy Now
Starbucks VIA Valencia Orange Refreshers

Silk Iced Latte Mocha

Silk Iced Latte Mocha

For the longest time, it was hard to find vegan coffee drinks. Besides smaller coffee shops and Starbucks, it's near impossible if you want anything besides a black coffee. For as large as Dunkin Donuts and Tim Hortons have become, you'd think they'd start offering drinks with soymilk by now. I have probably gone on this rant before but I don't care.

Lately I’ve been enjoying the new non-dairy coffee drinks that have been hitting the shelves like this one. It makes sense from a marketing stand point, they already have the key ingredient, might as well throw a little coffee in there. This particular one is decent, but not amazing. It has that chocolate milkshake feel that I was hoping for, but sadly the chalky taste of the soymilk really spoils the drink. I can't complain too much because this half gallon cost the same as a 12 oz iced soy mocha at any coffee shop so it gets a pass for it's cost and convenience factor.

Website
http://www.silksoymilk.com
Country
United States
Sweetener
Cane Sugar
Categories
Coffee, Milk
Rating
3/5
Reviewed By
Derek Neuland on July 21st, 2013
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Pepsi Diet Lime

Pepsi Diet Lime

A part of me really wanted to like this. I love cola, and I occasionally like lime flavored drinks. Ok, more than occasionally. I think if this weren’t diet I’d love it. And normally I can ignore the gross diet flavor of soda, but this one is impossible. I think the diet and the lime have teamed up and just cut through the cola and into the back of your throat like a ninja in battle with other ninjas. There's a marketing campaign, rename this Diet Pepsi Ninja Battle Lime and then people will know what to expect.

Website
http://www.pepsi.com/
Country
United States
Sweetener
Aspartame
Categories
Diet, Soda Pop
Rating
2/5
Reviewed By
Derek Neuland on July 18th, 2013
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Turkey Hill Sun Brew Iced Tea Half and Half

Turkey Hill Sun Brew Iced Tea Half and Half

Summer time drinks are as follows: water, iced coffee (or cold brew), lemonade, and iced tea. Any other drink is not recommended to drink during this time. Naturally, if you can combine any of these they will make a super drink. I've never tried iced lemonade coffee, but I’m sure it's amazing.

Today we will be talking about half and half, a beverage near and dear to our hearts. Half and half (also known as an Arnold Palmer) is half lemonade, half iced tea. This particular jug is Turkey Hill's new "sun brew" line. Can I taste the difference in the brewing? Not really but I appreciate there is real sugar in this instead of HFCS. Personal taste I would prefer a stronger lemonade, but this is good for your average half and half fan.

Website
http://turkeyhill.com/
Country
United States
Sweetener
Sugar
Categories
Iced Tea, Lemonade
Rating
3/5
Reviewed By
Derek Neuland on July 13th, 2013
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