Sometimes I don’t specifically search for food items, there are times when they’ll come across to me through a completely unrelated search. Other times, I want something specific. I enjoy looking for local and regional products, and when I had heard about the Oregon City Soda Company, I wanted to know if there were others in the Portland area. Just as Portland is vast in its love of wine and beer, there were many soda makers, including some that I was not aware were based in Portland. That lead to the discovery of other soda makers throughout the Pacific Northwest, including Crater Lake and Mt. Angel. One name that caught my eye was Seattle’s Dry Soda, which lead me to think “oh, an alcohol soda?” At least that’s where my mind goes when one equates “dry” with a drink. No, Dry Soda is non-alcoholic. Even better.

The soda is for those who want something that’s not as sugary sweet, heavy, or weighty on them, but still has the refreshing feel of a soda, or as their website indicates, “soda re-imagined”. I had discovered that it was available at my local Fred Meyer, so I went there and bought their Blood Orange variety. It comes in a 12-ounch 4-pack, and I decided to have my first taste. It was nice, but my mind went into the whole “do I play soda fan or do I become critical?” As a fan, I would probably say “this tastes like when you’re at the end of a cup of soda you get at a fast food place, and all you have is ice and remnants of flavor. More water than anything.” But I thought okay, I have to be smart and play critical. As for its flavor, it was light, but my soda intake for years had always been the sugary stuff. I would later move to diet sodas, and this to me initially lacked the punch of even a diet soda. Dry is meant to be an alternative of sorts to even a regular diet soda. In fact, a 12-ounce bottle of Dry’s Blood Orange has only 50 calories, so sugar level wise, it’s not bad at all. A few days later, I’d have another bottle and I realized that this may be good perhaps with an alcoholic drink or spirit. I’m not a heavy drinker, but Dry’s website did features a few recipe suggestions so I wasn’t too far off on that. At the end of the week, by the time I was at my final bottle, I found it quite nice and refreshing. I wanted to try more.

I had posted a comment on Facebook, and that lead to the Dry Soda company itself, which then lead to them wanting me to try another variety, on the house. I immediately wanted to try their Vanilla Bean soda, as I’m a longtime fan of cream sodas. I knew what to expect, but flavor-wise, I had to wait to see if it would give me the kind of boost I like, but Dry style. It was 60 calories a bottle for this one, but upon first sip, I became an immediate fan. Carbonation is nice and strong, and the vanilla flavor is present and lasting. It’s not “deep” like a normal cream soda but it’s not meant to be. It’s subtle but you know that you’re tasting vanilla. Or as their website puts it, “delicate”. With this, I immediately thought of using this to make an ice cream float. Thumbs up for me on this one.

The Dry Soda website also features suggested foods that you could have this with. It comes off like a soft drink sommelier because Dry wants to be a company that is different from the others.

It is a natural soda but I will say as someone who has tried my share of natural sodas over the years, Dry makes one that has most beat. This is not a soda that compensates by using who-knows-what to make their drinks, and as far as being a “diet soda” without being called one, it actually tastes like it’s light. It may be perception, but you can be happy with drinking this without thinking it will add a huge amount of calories into your system.

Dry Soda comes off like a distant cousin of other sugary-sweet sodas: likes to go to and from work on a bike, and simply sees life a bit more differently, with its own style of marketing and promotion. The company are expanding their horizons to where they may be more than just a Pacific Northwest thing, and they should be. Perhaps there may be a cooking show where they decide to use Dry as an essential ingredient.

Dry has a total of seven different flavor varieties. You may be able to find it at some of your favorite stores, or you can order from them direct.

(Mahalo nui to Garth Purkett at Dry Soda and Gene Dexter for the hook-up.)

(If you would like to submit your product for review, send me an e-mail at BooksMusica [at] gmail [dot] com.)

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