Let me preface this by saying "Mountain Zevia" is not the worst soda I have ever had. But it is definitely not the best soda I have ever had either. Perhaps that is because Mountain Zevia, made by the people over at Zevia contains neither sugar nor high fructose corn syrup. Well what’s the big deal, neither does coke zero or pepsi max, or even diet mountain dew right? Well this doesn’t have aspartame or sucralose either. This has a new "artificial sweetener" I suppose would be the term, called Stevia. The ingredients list is very short: Carbonated Water, Erythritol, Natural Flavors, Citric Acid, Reb A (Stevia Extract), Caffeine, and Beta Carotene.
Two things about that list stand out. First, what the hell are Erythritol and Reb A? I mean do I need to worry about priapism or growing a third armor hearing RebA songs in my head? The answer to this (thank you Wikipedia) is no. Erythritol apparently is a sugar alcohol discovered in 1848 by a chemist. Apparently it occurs naturally in fruits and fermented foods. I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV, so I am not going to say that it is 100 percent safe or natural, but from the little bit I have read, I have no fears about it. So that’s good. Now Reb A appears to be the same thing as Stevia, which is a in the sunflower family. So again, I am not going to worry too much about it. Now on to my second question. Why the hell is there Beta Carotene in my soda? Well I have no idea, so lets go with a random government conspiracy to subsidize the carrot industry.... because let’s face it, corn was so early 2000's.
Now that all of the thinking is out of the way, let’s talk flavor. I would have to surmise from the name that Mountain Zevia is going to be in the citrus soda family a la Mountain Dew and Mello Yello. I grew up drinking both of those (thank you Days of Thunder, and damn you Tom Cruise) and they are, to this day, some of my favorites. I haven’t had a very good run with "diet" sodas, but Zevia isnt a diet soda, its an "All Natural" soda.
The color is a yellow/green which further validates my theory that it is going to be an "All Natural" version of Mountain Yello. The smell, well the smell makes me think that this is going to taste like a combination of baking soda, and fail bucket. Time for the first sip. Okay, it tastes absolutely nothing like Mountain Dew, or Mello Yello. HOWEVER, the initial taste is actually really good. It’s very crisp, very refreshing. The carbonation level is absolutely outstanding. It provides a great bite that compliments the initial flavor very well. Now if you were wondering what that initial flavor was, the best way to explain it is a lemon/lime combination, but without the orange juice that makes Mountain Dew what it is. Sounds like a pretty good deal right? A crisp, refreshing lemon lime soda that is all natural yet contains no sugar or HFCS. Well hold on. I haven’t finished. There is an after taste. The after taste is the absolute deal breaker for me. It lingers for a very long time, and the sweet citrus taste slowly dissolves into a very powerful bitter after taste that reminds me of eating baking powder/baking soda. In fact the after taste is worse than most diet sodas.
When it is all said and done, Mountain Zevia is nowhere near as good as Mountain Dew or Mellow Yellow. However, it is all natural, so for those of you concerned with the calories of soda, there are none, and personally, I enjoy it more than most diet sodas, plus. I love the fact that it is all natural, and for the millions of diabetics that can’t have regular sodas due to the sugar spikes, this APPEARS to my non trained, uneducated eye to be a safe alternative. In the end, all that matters is Mountain Zevia as it stands.
Final verdict: Buy a can
P.S. If you pour Zevia over ice, it seems to cut the after taste a good bit, unfortunately the outstanding initial flavor is also reduced.
To the people at Zevia, Keep trying. I think you are on to something, you just need to find a way to counterbalance the after taste.