Nella Bella Chocolate Almond Fizz

Nella Bella Chocolate Almond Fizz

The artwork on this bottle of Nella Bella Chocolate Almond Fizz is beautiful.  A grove of white trees standing starkly against a blue sky.  The words “Nella Bella” glowing as the sun peers over the first “E”.  Even the flavor intrigues me.  Chocolate Almond Fizz sounds like a delicious candy, yet this soda only has 10 grams of sugar because it’s also sweetened with Stevia.

Read More

Coca-Cola Life

Those of you who read this site like a blog instead of a review site (thank you, btw) know that I don’t really dabble in the mainstream unless asked.  The three of you who fit the former descriptor also know I’m not really fond of stevia as a sweetener.  So why then did I purchase a bottle of Coca-Cola Life which is sweetened with stevia?  Sorry, let me rephrase that to get more clicks…

YOU’LL NEVER BELIEVE WHY AARON DRANK COKE WITH STEVIA!  REASON NUMBER 4 WILL SHATTER ALL OF REALITY!!!

So I bought it because when I’m on the soda aisle I’ve seen numerous folks stop and stare at it.  Then they have a conversation with their significant other about it, then they walk off without trying it.  I’ve tried to help people understand what it was, but I honestly couldn’t tell them if it was good or not which is what you’re looking for in that situation.

People love Coke and even though this version of Coke is sweetened with stevia it’s also sweetened with cane sugar.  Previous reviews of mine have shown that a Cane Sugar/Stevia mix is usually a pretty good way to reduce calories and keep a nice flavor.  My 8oz bottle has 60 calories and 16 grams of sugar… less than the yogurt I just ate, but that’s not saying much.

"Life" Why Life?

Smell wise it’s a little weaker than regular Coca-Cola, but the scent is still unmistakable.  If this does indeed taste like regular Coke I’ll fully get behind this product.  Other than the fact that it’s called Coca-Cola “Life”.  That’s a bit pretentious to me.  Your soda is called “Life”, take it down a few notches.

So it tastes like a reduced calorie cola.  Granted, it tastes like a Coke brand reduced calorie cola, so they nailed that aspect of it.  Initially you get the quick bite of Coca-Cola Classic, but mouthfeel is really where the two sodas are most similar.   

There is limited flavor on the front end and the sweetness also kind of drops off on the back side, which makes the included stevia a bit more noticeable.  The “after sip” mouthfeel is a little sticky and hugs my teeth and tongue in an unpleasant, but tolerable way.  It’s not great, it’s not bad, it’s just kind something I’m drinking.  

Personally I’d choose Coca-Cola Zero over this every time as I think it gets closer to the Coke taste than “Life” does.  That kind of makes me feel that this may be a wasted product.  Does Coca-Cola Life fill the “wants to drink healthier soda without aspartame” crowd?  If anyone has the money to create something in that market it’s certainly Coca-Cola.

Verdict - Buy a Bottle

~A

This was purchased at my neighborhood Wal-Mart.

Oogave Loca Ginger Ale

Been a long time since I’ve reviewed an Oogave product.  If I had to guess I’d say it’s been over a year.  If I had to look it up and give you an exact date I’d say June 5th, 2013.  Loca is the diet brand of Oogave and today I’ll be reviewing their ginger ale.  It’s an all natural 10 calorie drink sweetened with both stevia (boo) and agave nectar (yay).  I don’t think I’ve ever had a diet ginger ale so this should be an interesting experience.

Twist wanted to use the same Cypress Hill Gang joke as last time, but I wouldn't allow it.

Even though my sniffer isn’t at full functionality I can still discern the scent of ginger ale when I put my nose up to the can.  It’s a lighter aroma than Canada Dry, but perhaps the fact that it’s diet subdues the scent.

Upon first swig the ginger taste is very apparent, which is quite pleasing to my taste buds.  It’s not as sweet as most ginger ales, but if you’d read the first paragraph or even glanced at the picture of the can you could probably figure out why on your own.  The taste is light and easy to return to, leaving no syrupy feel in my mouth afterwards.

On the negative side of things it feels a little over carbonated.  It’s a rush of foamy bubbles with each sip.  Something I think would work better with a root beer instead of a ginger ale.  You can tell it’s a low calorie beverage without looking at the can.  The flavor, while pleasant, feels weakened and you get that diet vibe on the back end of each sip.  At no point does it taste chemical, but it may not be as rich as you would like a ginger ale to be.

All in all (a phrase I use entirely too much), Loca Ginger Ale is a great addition to the country of diet sodas, perhaps even the governor of a state.  In the world of sodas however it’s more along the lines of a nice next door neighbor.  Did that analogy even make sense?  Probably not, but I’m done anyway.

Verdict -  Buy a Bottle

~A

Begley's and Bill's Bananas Foster

The final beverage in my possession from Begley’s and Bill’s is Bananas Foster.  I’m fully expecting a taste of bananas and fire and will be disappointed if this is not achieved.  Ok, so I should probably lower my fire tasting expectations and just be on the lookout for vanilla, cinnamon, and perhaps a touch of rum flavoring.  

I’m going to limit my discussion of their sweetening agent to two sentences and then not mention it again as I’ve talked about it in the past three reviews.  B&B use SweetenFX which is their proprietary blend of stevia and erythritol to sweeten and it works quite well.  In other news, this will be my second or third banana flavored soda and my first bananas foster.  I’m quite excited to see what they can do.

Twist was the cause of the great banana famine of 1823

Twist was the cause of the great banana famine of 1823

This has the strongest scent of the four B&B sodas I’ve tried to date.  The aroma is not unlike banana Runts which give me pause.  I dislike banana Runts as should you.  I’m pretty sure they just use them as filler so the bags aren’t loaded up with strawberry and cherry.  This isn’t a candy blog though…yet…so let’s move on to the actual tasting.

Alright, this could be better.  It certainly has a banana taste to it, but it reminds me of a medicine that’s been given banana flavoring after the fact.  After my sip was finished the some of the other expected tastes came in on the back end.  Vanilla was the strongest, but still easily shoved aside by banana.  I hardly taste any cinnamon or rum and maybe I’m not tasting it at all.  Perhaps I’m just wishing the two flavors into existence.  That’s how faint they are.  

Each sip I take hurts my opinion of B&B Bananas Foster more and more.  The artificial banana taste builds upon itself like lincoln logs stacking higher and higher.  I’m pretty sure I’m about to reach a point where I don’t want to finish the bottle.  This is a different outcome than the previous three B&B sodas where each bottle was emptied.  Nah, I’m stopping here.  This review is poorly written, but the soda is poorly executed so we’re even.

Begley’s and Bill’s Bananas Foster is a good idea, but seems kinda halfway done.  There are so many parts to bananas foster and while they still might be under the hood the less than stellar banana flavoring is the engine.  Give it a shot if you want to, but I’d buy quite a bit before this.

Verdict - Buyer Beware

~A

This soda was supplied to us by Begley’s and Bill’s

 

Begley's and Bill's Root Beer

Sugar.  Free.  Root.  Beer.  I’ve never ever had a good one, but something tells me that Begley’s and Bill’s Root Beer is going to finally give me what I’ve not really been searching for.  You see Begley’s and Bill’s uses something they like to call SweetenFX which is their proprietary blend of stevia and erythritol.  All of their sodas are sweetened with it and their cola and cream sodas taste pretty dang good.  Today is uncharted territory though.  I attribute diet/sugar free root beer to poison.  Something important always seems to be missing.  Let’s see if SweetenFX can fill in for that missing puzzle piece.

If it looks like a diet root beer and quacks like a diet root beer... it much be a duck!

If it looks like a diet root beer and quacks like a diet root beer... it much be a duck!

Ok, so the aroma is a little odd.  Like all the B&B sodas I’ve tried the scent is faint, but can be discovered with a little rooting around.  I can’t tell if it’s a burst of vanilla I’m getting or if this sweetening process is finally catching up to B&B.

It’s not poison, that’s for sure, but this entry into the soda market isn’t as strong as their previous two had been.  Let me preface all of this by saying it’s the best diet root beer I’ve had and that includes Virgil’s Zero.  With that out of the way I’ll tell you that the first third of each sip is very promising and enjoyable.  It’s sweet, it’s rooty, it’s good.

That quickly fades into the next leg of the experience where that initial flavor goes away and you can taste the “diet”.  It’s drier than a root beer should be at this point and even though it’s all natural a chemical taste becomes known.  It’s not something I’m sticking my tongue out over, but it’s noticeable enough to give me pause.

After this fades you’re left with an aftertaste that’s neither pleasant nor terrible.  In fact it taste a little like diet maple syrup.  Throughout this process the carbonation is slowly walking around in the background not really caring if he’s noticed or not.  Now it’s my opinion that root beer can benefit from strong or weak carbonation, but B&B Root Beer needs to add a bit more.

So there you have it.  While Begley’s and Bill’s Root Beer is still the best sugar free root beer I’ve tasted it still has it’s flaws.  It tastes alright and isn’t poison, so it’s got that going for it.

Verdict - Buy a Bottle

~A

This soda supplied to us by Begley’s and Bill’s