History: Throw on your cloaks, grab your magic wands, and gather around the cauldron because we’ve got a soda so magical that even the greatest of spells could not stop its forthcoming. Flying Cauldron Butterscotch Beer is the creation of Chris Reed of Reed’s natural sodas. You’re probably most familiar with their Ginger Brews. Despite the name “Butterscotch Beer,” Flying Cauldron is nonalcoholic, and it mimics a certain drink from a certain series of books based on a certain young wizard. In fact, upon its introduction in 2012, the soda actually used to be called “Butterbeer” because Warner Bros hadn’t trademarked the name. So Reed trademarked it. Guess how that went over? Quickly the wizards (lawyers) at Warner threatened to use their excessive magic (money) in an act of the dark arts (court) against Reed’s, so they promptly changed the soda’s name to “Butterscotch Beer.” You’ll notice Butterbeer is now ™ by Warner. So why make Butterbeer™? Reed tells us he was as captivated by the drink as we all were. It “sounded amazing,” he explains. So he began to research. He sent a sales manager to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, Florida to try the Butterbeer™ they serve at the theme park. The sales manager sent some back to give Reed a basis for creating his own version. He told us he could taste the chemicals in it. He wanted his version to be a natural soda, like all of the others in the Reed’s/Virgil’s line. Flying Cauldron started with a base of Virgil’s Cream Soda and then had butterscotch flavor added in. Reed was inspired by a German butterscotch candy with a silky smooth flavor. He tried diligently to replicate that specific flavor and says triumphantly, “I think the butterscotch we ended up with is just phenomenal.” Flying Cauldron contains no artificial ingredients, no GMO’s, and no caffeine. It’s also made with a blend of pure cane sugar and Stevia; this reduces the number of calories in every bottle down to 120. Like the books and movies, Reed concedes the “product has had a life of its own and continues to show up in stores around the country.” He adds that Flying Cauldron is consistently in the company’s top seven sellers. You can find the soda year-round, but it’s most popular in October and November. We’re right on time. Let’s see what kind of sorcery is inside the bottle.
Where to get: Flying Cauldron is distributed nationally. Call your local health food or grocery store to see if they carry it. You can also find it at Cracker Barrel restaurants. It’s also available online from Summit City Soda, as well as the Reed’s online store. You can also get it on Amazon, but it’s a worse deal. And if you’re a retailer looking to sell soda in your shop, or maybe just a deprived wizard, Homer Soda Company is who you should call for those types of inquiries.
Nose: Buttery; bold butterscotch; vanilla cream.
Taste: Sweet butterscotch; mild creaminess; soft vanilla; sugar. There’s big, big butterscotch flavor in this. The initial taste is a mixture of vanilla cream soda with sweet butterscotch, so it really lives up to the butterscotch cream soda label in terms of flavor. Spot on. Definitely sweet. Sugary, even. As it settles into your mouth, the creaminess of the vanilla comes out more, while the butterscotch dominates the flavor profile. Those two elements: creamy vanilla and sweet butterscotch candies combine to create a bold butterscotch cream taste.
Finish: Creamy vanilla and butterscotch swirl together and linger on the back of the tongue. Certainly the creamiest part of the soda.
Rating: Flying Cauldron Butterscotch Beer is one of those sodas that excites drinkers on so many levels. The inspiration, the flavor, the color, the label – it’s all there. It resonates. It’s fun. It’s got an air of mystery around it that you want to literally drink in. Butterbeer™, Butterscotch Beer – whatever you want to call it is fine. The bottom line is you want it in your mouth. Now, this won’t be for everyone simply because butterscotch tends to be a love-it-or-hate-it flavor. And this has enough butterscotch flavor to hold you over for a month. It’s a sweet, buttery candied flavor. There’s a nice infusion of creamy vanilla slightly at the beginning of each sip that becomes much stronger on the finish. I’d like to see that creaminess come out even more. I think it’s the soda’s best element. When I think Butterbeer™, I think of something that’s very creamy with lots of butterscotch tasting notes. This is maybe a 6/10 on the creaminess scale. The vanilla in Flying Cauldron works really well with the butterscotch. It adds that extra something that all good sodas possess. It’s also the biggest reason Flying Cauldron smells so wonderful. I enjoy my women just like I like a fine soda – smelling like vanilla kisses. This is big on butterscotch flavor and sweetness, and even bigger on eye-catching flashiness. The marketing team for Flying Cauldron deserves as much of the praise as the creators of its flavors. This is too much fun and way too interesting not to try at least once in your life. Also makes a tremendous mixer for your favorite fall cocktail. In the mean time, let us know if you develop any powers or the ability to summon dragons.