History: “I wanted to dose the world with ginger.” That was the mission of Chris Reed when he founded Reed’s, Inc. Surely you’ve heard of Reed’s for their famous ginger beer in green glass bottles, or as they call it “ginger brew,” due to several juices and spices not often found in traditional ginger beers. Reed himself is all about ginger. He’s also all about promoting wellness through food and beverage. That’s actually the real reason Reed’s beverages exist. He notes he spent hours upon hours researching the healing properties of ginger deep within the UCLA library. In doing so, he “came across old-world recipes for brewing tonics and soft drinks.” With so much ginger knowledge bottled up inside him, in 1989, Reed decided putting that knowledge in a different bottle, one he could sell to the public. Today Reed’s Inc. sells a variety of ginger brews, including the Spiced Apple Brew we’re reviewing today. They also have since purchased the top-selling natural root beer and cola lines in Virgil’s and China Cola. According to Reed, his company owns the top four best-selling natural sodas. Every single soda the company brews is free of preservatives, caffeine, gluten and GMOs. You can likely pick one up in your local health food store. I once dated a girl who worked in a health food store. There was definitely nothing natural about her. Today we sample one of Reed’s more atypical offerings in Spiced Apple Brew. The company’s fifth creation, the Spiced Apple Brew is a mulled cider with 8 grams of ginger and 50% (!!!) juice. Cinnamon, honey and apple pie spices are also major player ingredients as well. “In the Caribbean, ginger beers are a Christmas celebration drink,” Reed adds. I’m ready to celebrate this in my mouth.
Where to get: Reed’s sodas are nationally distributed throughout the U.S. To find the nearest location where you can buy a bottle, check out their store locator. If you prefer sitting in your underwear at home, Amazon has you covered.
Nose: Apple cider. It’s unmistakable. The kind you drink at the old time fairs in late November right as it becomes jacket season. God, am I getting sentimental? Am I going to cry?
Taste: Apple pie; cinnamon; spices; ginger. There’s a lot going on for the taste buds to process here, but once you do, it’s really nice. The carbonation in this is tart due to all the spices. You get that briefly before anything else. It quickly fades into this soda’s trademark blend of spices. We taste nutmeg, cloves, maybe a little allspice, and definitely cinnamon. This tastes like apple pie. Some of those spices you also find in pumpkin pie, and your taste buds may trick you into thinking this is a little pumpkin-y too. But it’s just the spices. The ginger in this soda gives it a nice tinge of tartness near the backend, but the main flavors that come through are those spices. There’s also a nice balance of lemon and apple juices that play really well together, and with the cinnamon. Finally, the sweetness from the honey in this is really great for a spiced beverage. Not too sweet, but enough to keep the bold spice flavors in check.
Finish: Apple pie crust with a smooth, but lightly tart honey-apple juice taste. Excellent replay value.
Rating: This is the quintessential fall beverage you drink with your friends out around the fire pit with some blankets. Then when you get really cozy, have another with spiced rum. Repeat until night night time. It’s absolutely killer. But on it’s own, Reed’s Spiced Apple Brew is just as spectacular. Some of the best use of spices I’ve ever tasted in a soda. The honey in this really gives it a natural taste. It’s the most underrated ingredient in the bottle and it provides a really smooth drink and finish. The spices are bold, but mesh well with the juices and sweetening agents. I’d recommend enjoying this with a nice meal. Its big flavors would pair well with sustenance. Its rich spices might also cause you to spontaneously grow a bushy mustache. This is the bottled apple pie grandma never gave you. Reed’s is one of the biggest players in the craft soda game today. Their Spiced Apple Brew provides a glimpse at the company’s commitment to flavor and why they’ll likely continue to be a craft soda power for decades to come.