Haven’t done one of these in a while. I wasn’t even familiar with this soda, but I saw it for sale in a coffeeshop, and was intrigued enough to give it a go. After letting it chill for a few days, I decided it was time to enjoy it on top of a nice dinner and an underwhelming screening of Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Leviathan (pro tip: just see A Touch of Sin instead). So, from the hitherto unknown Proper Soda Co. out of Grand Rapids, Michigan, it’s Hop Soda!
Has a crisp, sweet smell, not unlike a pale ale. Promising enough. First soda I’ve had out of a can in some time. Let’s see how it tastes.
It has a very mild flavor. There are four ingredients: soda water, cane sugar (fuck off, HFCS), citric acid, and “natural hops extracts”. I can definitely taste a bit of citric acid–it gives the soda a little bit of a bite. And there’s a mild hoppiness there, though not too much–which is good, because I’m not a fan of overly hoppy beers.
It tastes…I want to say like a very light Sprite or 7-Up. There’s not a strong lemon-limeness but the citricity (it’s a word) is undeniable. It’s not too sweet and not too sour. Well, it might be a little sour if you really don’t like beer, but it’s not a detriment at all.
As for the color, it’s perfectly clear. Might as well be seltzer.
Nice as it is, I have to say that it’s not something I’d drink often, at least not on its own. It’s a reasonable choice for sale at a coffeeshop; it’d make a good palate cleanser after an espresso or mocha. And I bet it’d make a good mixer; the fact that it’s sold in smaller cans suggests it’s generally not sold to be the star of the show, so to speak. Maybe use it to make an alternative to the standard Scotch-and-soda.
For a three-year-old company that makes two flavors of soda (their other flavor is a hibiscus soda, which I’m curious about), Proper Soda has a bit of an ego. I’m not opposed to confidence in a brand, but it seems to me they’re putting the cart in front of the horse a little; their website is likewise on the hubristic side. Still, I’m intrigued to see where they go from here, and if I can get my hands on their hibiscus flavor, I’ll most certainly review it.
(It just occurred to me: setting aside the whole weird regional “pop/soda/Coke” thing (I call it soda, but whatever), they really should’ve called this “Hops Pop”.)