Virgil's Zero Sugar Root Beer

Virgil's Zero Sugar Root Beer

I don’t really want to write this review because I’m afraid I won’t like the soda. There have been several sodas over the last 10 years that I didn’t think I’d like, but that never really bothered me until now. The soda in front of me is Virgil’s Zero Sugar Root Beer.

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Onli Hibiscus Pomegranate Strawberry

Sigh… I’m worried about this review.  The last two sodas from Onli that I tasted did not agree at all with my buds.  To make matters worse today’s flavor includes hibiscus, something I’ve never really enjoyed.  The name it’s parents call it when it’s in trouble is Onli Hibiscus Pomegranate Strawberry.  It’s unsweetened and a beautiful rose color.  I know it’s unsweetened because it says so in bold print at least three times on the bottle.  So… here we go with the lowest expectations possible.

He's trying to see what the iguana is looking at.

The aroma is a nice, light strawberry scent that tries to seduce my mind.  It’s not going to work though.  Even though this smells of something I should sip on a hot summer day I know better… or at least I think I do.  

Onli makes the world's most confusing beverages.  I’m 100% ok with this.  It’s not delicious and amazing, but I understand what their doing and approve.  The two sodas I had prior to this one didn’t compute in my mind or mouth.  In my opinion, and that of the people around me while reviewing, they were awful.  

Onli Hibiscus Pomegranate Strawberry starts off with a bitter burst, but it transitions easily into a pomegranate/strawberry mineral water.  It’s definitely a sipping beverage and not a chugging one.  The fragile flavors fight with the bitters of the hibiscus and carbonation, but ultimately the sides call truce and live in harmony.

A powerful array of bubbles is ever present and adds some texture to the mouthfeel of the soda.  There is not a strong aftertaste and your mouth gets no syrupy buildup sip after sip.  I feel alright drinking this, no guilt at all.  Then again there are maybe 3 beverages I’d have any guilt about consuming.  

So that’s it then.  Onli makes sodas that flit and flicker all across my taste spectrum.  Thankfully my most recent memory of them will be positive.  Want an unsweetened soda that you might actually enjoy, give this one a try.

Verdict - Buy a Bottle


This soda was purchased at an HEB Grocer

Xyience Xenergy Grape

Another beverage from the folks at Xyience and it’s supposed to help with both energy levels and hydration.  What I’ve got in front of me is a can of Xyience Xenergy Grape.  From my previous Xenergy reviews I know that this is going to be more of a Gatorade/Powerade type beverage in terms of taste.  Hopefully it stands out enough from the pack that I can reward it with a good review.  Personally I think it’ll taste alright, but not be anything to write about...even though I’m about to.  Here’s to me being wrong.

Twist was a Xyience major in college...the first time.

A stronger than suspected grape aroma jumps out of the mouth of the can.  Immediately my doubts are turned into cautious optimism.  Will a truly delightful grape taste be awaiting me instead of the somewhat watered down version I was expecting?

Ok, we’re working with a couple of positives and a couple of negatives here.  Positive number one is the strength of the grape.  It is stronger than your G’s and P’s, but not quite as strong as a grape soda.  Even though it’s not carbonated there’s even a little bit of a punch to the finish.  It’s a very smooth drink and I would even classify it as refreshing.

The negatives, or negative in this case, stops this from being an above average drink experience.  With each sip I get a burst of Pedialyte taste.  Now while I’ve learned that many folks like the taste of Pedialyte I am not one of them.  This just opens up memories of when I was sick as a child.  You may have noticed that I use the Pedialyte comparison quite a bit when it comes to lifestyle beverages.  I think this is because their makeup is similar and their goal of hydration is the same.  Unfortunately I have negative thoughts regarding this taste so the review score usuall suffers.

In the case of Xyience Xenergy though I will give them credit for having a decent grape taste.  They do a really good job with their flavor even though they are sugar and calorie free.  So I at least recommend you pick up a can the next time you see it.

Verdict - Buy a Bottle


This beverage was supplied to us by Xyience.

Xyience Xenergy Pineapple

Twist felt flat today, but his thighs looked GREAT!

Today’s Xyience experiment is pineapple flavored.  Technically this can of Xenergy is +Lemonade, whatever that means, in addition to being pineapple flavored.  I’m honestly not sure what to expect here, but I’m rolling with it.  Like all the other Xyience products that we’ve reviewed it’s sugar free and has zero calories.  They’ve been hit or miss so far in the flavor department so it will be interesting to see what side of the fence pineapple lemonade falls.

As the can cracks open the faint aroma that arrives is more lemonade than pineapple.  In fact I’d be amazed if I could identify this as pineapple flavored based on the scent alone.  Hopefully the taste doesn’t leave that much to mystery.

The initial taste I get is the tart bite of a lemon.  Slowly it washes away and transforms into the pineapple lemonade we were promised.  Truthfully it’s lemonade pineapple as the real star of the show cannot be mistaken.  Throughout the entire gulp the lemon teases the tip of my tongue with a tingle of sour.  This leaves the rest of my mouth awash with an average tasting lemonade.  It’s on par with Minute Maid lemonade, which to me is on the weaker side of the big name brands.  

Xyience Xenergy Pineapple is a very refreshing beverage.  Something I would happily reach for on a sweltering day.  It goes down smoothly which makes it easy to return for another sip.  The lack of sugar isn’t overly noticeable and the flavor while pleasant isn’t memorable.  All in all it’s a good energy drink, but an average tasting beverage.

Verdict - Buy a Bottle


This beverage supplied to us by Xyience

Xyience Xenergy Tropical Punch

So the last time I tried a Xyience Xenergy beverage I was quite impressed.  It was refreshing, the taste was pretty good, it was all I needed it to be.  Well today’s review is of Xyience Xenergy Tropical Punch where the key idea is Hydration.  Tropical Punch flavor is caffeine free, sugar free, and loaded up with B vitamins.  It’s also enhanced with electrolytes, but whatever.  I just want this to be a tasty fruit punch.

Upon cracking open the can I get a familiar aroma.  This smells a lot like Hawaiian Punch, but not quite as fierce.  So they have the proto-typical fruit punch aroma happening.  Will it translate into the flavor?

Meh, kinda.  This tastes like watered down tropical punch which makes sense because it’s a “Hydration” product.  I guess I should really be comparing the taste of this to Gatorade or Powerade, but I have my own standards of delicious tropical punch taste.  In this case the “punch” is limited and the “tropical” is boring.  As powerful as the flavors were in the last beverage I reviewed, typically much more subtle flavors at that, I expected topical punch to blow me away.

Twist was the muse behind 1999: A Space Oddity

Aside from being “watered down” there’s something in the aftertaste that just seems out of place.  It’s a combination of burn and bitter that lasts for just long enough to sour my opinion on this beverage.  The more that I chug it the more medicinal the aftertaste becomes.  Wandering away from tropical punch and moving toward Pedialyte.  I’ll be able to finish it this one time, but it’s not really something I’d be reaching for again.

So you’re saying to your monitor right now “Monitor, why be angry that a drink made for hydration is watered down?”  You monitor will respond with this next sentence.

“Dave, The Soda Jerks rank beverages based on taste and little else”

So after you unplug your computer to kill it remember what it said.  It Xyience Xenergy an alright hydrator?  Sure.  Do you want to have more than one in your fridge at any given time just to drink?  Unless you want a weak tropical punch flavored beverage with the aftertaste of medicine, no...probably not.

Verdict - Buyer Beware


This beverage supplied to us by Xyience