Some­thing to fizz about

Craft brewed soda is made like beer but with­out the al­co­hol con­tent and con­tains half the sugar of a stan­dard soft drink. Say hello to Soda Brew­ery!

Good - - DRINKS - Words Carolyn Ent­ing

S oda Brew­ery’s newly launched range of craft brewed so­das brings new mean­ing to the term mind­ful drink­ing.

When pour­ing one of these so­das into a glass for the first time you re­alise these are grown-up drinks that will see you through par­ties or thirst-quench­ing mo­ments in a de­li­cious as well as clear-headed man­ner and they won’t leave you bloated or buzzing out from a sugar over­load.

A foam­ing head forms at the top of glass (like beer but not as frothy) which nods to the word “brew­ery” in Soda Brew­ery’s name.

By us­ing brew­ing tech­niques to cre­ate the so­das, co-founders and soda en­thu­si­asts James Hur­man and Chris Paykel have man­aged to cre­ate soft drinks with a more com­plex flavour, greater depth and di­men­sion, and a fuller and richer mouth­feel. And these made-in-New Zealand drinks are also 100 per cent nat­u­ral – water, bar­ley, cane sugar, fruit juice plus New Zealand hops and brewer’s yeast.

Be­ing big beer fans, Hur­man and Paykel learned how the brew­ing process con­verts sugar into com­plex and de­li­cious flavours and had the epiphany of us­ing that same magic of brew­ing to cre­ate a soda that had just as much flavour, with far less sugar. “It starts with hops and yeast and malt and water. We brew that to­gether us­ing a cold fer­men­ta­tion process which al­lows us to cre­ate a non-al­co­holic brew base and then you mix that base with the fruit juices to cre­ate the soda,” says Hur­man.

“How that dif­fers from a tra­di­tional soft drink is that you usu­ally start with your car­bon­ated water base and then add your fruit juices and heaps of sugar to make them taste good.”

The other thing about this brew­ing style, and tak­ing a leaf out of the beer book, is that you end up with a much more com­plex flavour, says Paykel. “It cre­ates a mouth-feel which is much more multi-di­men­sional, and that’s why you get the head like a beer be­cause of the com­bi­na­tion – it foams and blends to­gether which makes it a richer, deeper and more in­ter­est­ing drink.”

As for the flavours, they de­cided to stick with the ba­sics, iden­ti­fy­ing there was a gap for things peo­ple want to reach for, such as le­mon­ade and gin­ger beer. Launched just be­fore Christ­mas, Soda Brew­ery’s four flavours in­clude Grape­fruit, Lemons, Limes and Gin­ger. And un­like a high sugar soda, these are so­das you can sit around drink­ing with friends and “set­tle into” in­stead of stop­ping at one be­cause you feel bloated.

Paykel and Hur­man don’t claim to be the in­ven­tors of craft brewed soda – it’s a global trend – but the fact their prod­uct has a low-sugar fo­cus makes it dif­fer­ent and more “ses­sion­able”.

“It starts with hops and yeast and malt and water. We brew that to­gether us­ing a cold fer­men­ta­tion process.” James Hur­man

Top drop James Hur­man and Chris Paykel are turn­ing the soda game on its head.

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