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.

Sangria Senorial Sangria

Sangria Senorial Sangria

I have never tasted a drop of alcohol in my life, so I'm not sure if this actually tastes like sangria. I must say, Sangria Senorial smells just like alcoholic sangria. Since it smells so familiar and I have a negative outlook on alcoholic drinks, I think that might be part of the reason why I don't like the taste of this. It has a bitter grape taste with light carbonation. The only positive thing I can say is that it has real sugar in it.

Website
http://www.novamex.com/sangria_senorial.sstg
Country
Mexico
Sweetener
Sugar
Categories
Soda Pop
Rating
1/5
Reviewed By
Derek Neuland on September 6th, 2010
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Señorial Sangria Soft Drink, 1.5 liter

Sidral Mundet Green Apple

Sidral Mundet Green Apple

I really need to invest in a bottle opener because I keep finding that imported soda companies aren't fond of twist off caps. Oh well, I managed to get this cap off with my handy staple remover again. It's not everyday you see green apple flavored soda, so i had to try this bottle of Sidral Mundet I found at the international grocery store. It's made in Mexico and is made with real sugar, which is nice. It tastes EXACTLY like a green apple Jolly Rancher. It's really strange how exact the taste is. But it's super delicious, and actually has some apple juice concentrate in it!

Website
http://www.novamex.com/sidral_mundet
Country
Mexico
Sweetener
Sugar
Categories
Soda Pop
Rating
3/5
Reviewed By
Derek Neuland on September 6th, 2010
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Sidral Mundet Soft Drink, 10.5 oz.

Sarsi Sarsaparilla

Sarsi Sarsaparilla

I found this bottle of Sarsi at a large international supermarket near my house. Judging by the color, ingredients, and uncanny similarity to the Pepsi logo, I thought this was going to be a cola. I also didn't see the "I" at first and was really excited that there was a drink called Sars. After i pried off the non-twist bottle cap (all I had was a staple remover to help with this), it didn't smell nor taste like cola. It's more of a light sarsaparilla, but with a bitter aftertaste due to the use of aspartame instead of sugar or high fructose corn syrup. It's not bad, but it's not amazing. If you're a fan of sarsaparilla and don't mind artificial sweeteners, it's worth a try.

Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarsi_%28drink%29
Country
Philippines
Sweetener
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Categories
Root Beer, Soda Pop
Rating
1/5
Reviewed By
Derek Neuland on September 6th, 2010
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Hotlips Boysenberry

Hotlips Boysenberry

Boysenberry soda? Really? I was pretty shocked when I saw this, but also excited to try it. It's a local Portland soda made by the people who run the Hotlips Pizza chain. It has a strong berry smell, but luckily the taste isn't as strong. I was afraid this was going to taste like carbonated juice, but it definitely was not the case. The boysenberry is represented perfectly: not too sweet, not too watery.
The only major complaint I have is the price. At $2.50 a bottle, it's one of the most expensive specialty sodas I've seen in a while. I could see myself picking this up once in a while as a treat, but my wallet would never forgive me if it became a regular drink of mine. I am excited to try the other flavors Hotlips sells, especially the blackberry and pear flavors.

Edit: I wrote this review when i was half way through the bottle. I just finished it and was surprised by little chunks of boysenberry near the bottom. This might make some people happy, but when you're not expecting it, it's a little off-putting.

Website
http://hotlipspizza.com/soda/
Country
United States
Sweetener
Pure Cane Sugar
Categories
Chunky, Juice, Soda Pop, Sparkling
Rating
3/5
Reviewed By
Derek Neuland on September 6th, 2010
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Allen's Tropical Grove Mango

Allen's Tropical Grove Mango

The first thing I noticed about this was the kind of odd packaging, it being in a small carton, with a screw top lid, kind of like a medium sized orange juice container. Upon opening, I was pleased that this wasn't like mango nectar (which tends to be heavy, and overly sugary), it passed the smell test, and it was a nice orange color. All seemed well, and at first it was, the initial taste was awesome, until I swallowed it. Then came a strange mild body odor taste (which you can get with a unripe mango). As I continued to drink it, the taste got more and more powerful. I really wanted to like this, but I just couldn't get over the after taste. It has hints of grape and peach, which doesn't help the taste at all. Its only plus is that it's cheap (about a dollar), but I still have half of it left and its been a week and a half. I would pass on this if I were you.

Country
Canada
Categories
Juice
Rating
2/5
Reviewed By
Derek Neuland on September 6th, 2010
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Allen's 25% Real Mango Juice Case Pack 12

Columbia Gorge Lemonade

Columbia Gorge Lemonade

Warning: do not take a big sip of this the first time you try it. You will be in for a big surprise as the strong taste of lemon juice stings your tongue and singes your insides all the way down until it settles into your stomach. If you have ever drunk pure lemon juice, you know the feeling I'm talking about.
That being said, Columbia Gorge knows how to make good lemonade. If you like yours extra tart, then this one is for you. It's sweetened with agave syrup, which I've never seen before but I welcome the change. It really lets the lemon in the lemonade shine through when it's not loaded with sugar.

Website
http://www.columbiagorgeorganic.com/
Country
United States
Sweetener
Agave Syrup
Categories
Lemonade
Rating
2/5
Reviewed By
Derek Neuland on September 6th, 2010
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Natural Brew Vanilla Creme Soda

Natural Brew Vanilla Creme Soda

I have yet to meet a cream soda I have not liked. Luckily, Natural Brew's Vanilla Creme Soda does not break my streak. As the name states, it has a strong vanilla flavor that sits on the tongue very nicely. One really nice thing about Natural Brew is they use evaporated cane juice as a sweetener. Cane juice is processed much less than sugar, therefore it retains a lot more of the naturally occurring nutrients in the sugar cane.
Natural Brew is manufactured and distributed by Smucker's Quality Beverages (yes, the same Smucker's that makes jam). I'm holding out for a peanut butter and jelly soda.

Website
http://www.natural-brew.com/
Country
United States
Sweetener
Evaporated Cane Juice
Categories
Soda Pop
Rating
3/5
Reviewed By
Derek Neuland on September 6th, 2010
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Blue Sky Natural Soda Cola

Blue Sky Natural Soda Cola

On first sip, Blue Sky Cola is a lot lighter than most cola. It also lacks the sharp bitter taste that Coke and Pepsi have, which might please people who don't normally like cola for that reason. This may be due to the fact that Blue Sky uses real sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup, or possibly the lack of caffeine (which is uncommon among colas).
Blue Sky is owned by Hansen Natural Corporation (who also make Hansen Natural sodas). These two brands seem to be the most prominent canned natural sodas so it's interesting to see that the same company owns both.
Overall, this is one of the best colas I've had recently. The smooth taste and lack of high fructose corn syrup really puts it ahead of the rest. Though the lack of caffeine throws me off as I usually associated coffee and colas with caffeine.

Website
http://www.blueskysoda.com/
Country
United States
Sweetener
Real Sugar
Categories
Soda Pop
Rating
4/5
Reviewed By
Derek Neuland on September 6th, 2010
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Blue Sky Cola, 12-Ounce Cans (Pack of 24)

Pepsi Throwback

Pepsi Throwback

I am a big fan of colas and I grew up drinking Pepsi. One thing I never liked about it though is the sharp aftertaste it had due to the high fructose corn syrup. With Pepsi Throwback, that biting aftertaste isn't there so it just goes down smooth and the cola flavor really stands out. After drinking soda sweetened with sugar, it's almost painful to drink a bottle with HFCS. I don't understand why Throwback is only available for a limited time because I think it is better than original Pepsi, and I'm sure a lot more people think so as well.

Website
http://www.pepsi.com/
Country
United States
Sweetener
Real Sugar
Categories
Soda Pop
Rating
3/5
Reviewed By
Derek Neuland on September 11th, 2010
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Pepsi Cola Throwback (12 Pack) Yes In Stock Aug 9,2010

Mt. Angel Root Beer

Mt. Angel Root Beer

I saw this bottle at New Seasons yesterday and was drawn in by the plain label in a sea of colorful bottles. I had high hopes for this micro-brewed root beer, and I wasn't let down. I wish all root beer was this smooth. Even though I've only had one bottle so far, I think this is easily in my top 5 root beers.

Website
http://mtangelbrewingcompany.com/
Country
United States
Sweetener
Sugar
Categories
Root Beer, Soda Pop
Rating
5/5
Reviewed By
Derek Neuland on September 14th, 2010
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