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!
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.